Clinical News

This is a selection of the latest articles and case reports that have been written by our staff and in some cases published in notable journals.

Case report: Disseminated Discospondylitis in a two-year-old Crossbred Dog


A two-year-old, female, neutered crossbred (body weight 14kg) was referred for assessment of diffuse spinal pain. The patient had been rescued six weeks previously from Romania. On arrival into the U.K., she was presented to the referring veterinarian with neck pain. There had been an initial response to NSAIDs and diazepam, but four days prior to presentation at the Downs signs progressed to lumbar spinal pain and spontaneous vocalisation at rest. The patient had also been bitten by another dog in the right axilla the night prior to presentation and had subsequently received a single parenteral dose of amoxiclav. Read More »

Case report: Fungal Encephalitis in a Domestic Shorthair Cat


A 10-year-old male, neutered, domestic short-haired cat had undergone investigations for a six month history of progressive weight loss and lethargy. The referring veterinarian’s blood tests had revealed basophilia; 0.45 (0.01-0.26) x109/L initially, which on repeat testing two weeks later, had resolved. However, at that time neutrophilia; 21.55 (1.48-10.29)x109/L and monocytosis; 0.85 (0.05-0.67)x109/L was noted. Survey, thoracic, abdominal radiology and abdominal ultrasound were unremarkable. Retrovirus testing was negative. Read More »

Review Article: Immune Mediated Polyarthritis

Pathophysiology and presentation

Immune mediated polyarthritis may be more common than recognised, as clinical signs can sometimes be subtle.

Generally, it is defined as neutrophilic inflammation affecting two or more joints and is an example of a type-III hypersensitivity reaction. Immune system stimulation leads to formation of immune complexes, which circulate and deposit in the basement membrane of synoviocytes, triggering immune-mediated inflammation within the joint. Read More »

Review Paper: Long Term Outcome of Cervical Dorsal Laminectomy to treat Wobbler Syndrome: 47 cases (2003-2017)


Wobbler syndrome is a progressive, heterogenous, neurological disease characterised by a variety of signs including paraparesis, tetra-paresis, ataxia, thoracic limb lameness and neck pain.

Read More »

Case Report: Hip Septic Arthritis in a German Shepherd Dog


fig 1 - extended ventrodorsal view of the right hip showing subluxation of the joint with degenerative changes to the proximal femoral metaphysis. There is remodelling of the femoral head and new bone formation at the insertion of the joint capsule consistent with osteoarthrosis secondary to hip dysplasia.

A nine–year-old, female, neutered German Shepherd Dog presented for assessment of right pelvic limb lameness.

The owner reported progressive lameness since the patient had fallen 10 days previously.  The referring veterinarian’s radiographs revealed marked degenerative changes to the right hip Read More »

Review Article: Management of the Spinal Patient


Following on from the last article in our Winter 2012 edition of Downs Diary – Assessment of the Spinal Patient – we thought it might be useful to outline the various treatment options for some of the more commonly encountered causes of spinal disease as even though you may not perform spinal surgery yourself, clients will often request such information at initial presentation. We also offer an update on current thinking for management of the more obscure spinal conditions. Read More »

Update on Small Breed Cranial Cruciate Surgery

Small Breed Modified Maquet Procedure now available at Downs Veterinary Referrals

lateral postoperative radiograph of the Small Breed MMP implants

Given the success of the Modified Maquet Procedure (MMP – tibial tuberosity advancement) in larger breeds (see Review Article: The Modified Maquet Procedure ), we have recently invested in the necessary instrumentation and range of implants specifically designed for smaller patients (<12kg).

This investment enables us to offer MMP for any size of dog (or cat).  However, it is particularly suited to lively patients where premature rupture of lateral retinacular sutures is of concern. Read More »

Case Report: Metatarsal Pad Necrosis secondary to Postoperative Dressing Complications in a Bassett Hound


fig.1 - Initial radiology showed a comminuted, over-ridden diaphyseal fracture of the tibia

fig.2 - caudocranial radiograph on initial presentation

A 12-month-old, entire, female Bassett Hound, body weight 23kg, presented for stabilisation of closed, left tibia and fibula fractures, sustained after jumping from the owner’s car.  Read More »

Review Article: Assessment of the Spinal Patient

Goals of Assessment

What questions should your assessment be able to answer?

An owner might be expected to inquire:

  • what is wrong with their pet?
  • what are the various treatment options?
  • what do these options entail, in terms of morbidity, risks, length and extent of rehabilitation, costs and (in the case of referral) travel involved?
  • is it going to recover sufficiently to ensure an adequate quality of life for a significant length of time?

Read More »

Case Report: Cervical Fracture in an eight-week-old Cocker Spaniel.

An eight-week-old, female Cocker Spaniel was referred with tetraparesis.  The owner reported that the dog had collided with a stair-gate three days prior.  She had initially appeared unaffected, although veterinary assessment at the time had revealed cervical spinal pain.  48 hours later she developed generalised ataxia with increased guarding of the neck.  Progressive tetraparesis became evidence over the following 24 hours.

Read More »

Review Article: The Use of Advanced Imaging in Veterinary Medicine.

Fig. 1a&b: Images of 8yo CKCS presenting with acute onset head tilt. Above,(a) dorsal and below (b), transverse T2W slices showing well-defined segmental oedema of the cerebellum. Diagnosis - infarction.

In recent years, there have been significant strides in the development of and access to advanced imaging in veterinary medicine.  Techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and fluoroscopy were once the preserve of human medical establishments or research facilities.  However, several factors, namely:

– a rising awareness amongst veterinarians and clients as to the results these modalities can deliver,

– a wider uptake of pet insurance to ultimately fund private investment in these technologies, and

– on-going development of both hardware and software, resulting in falling equipment and maintenance cost, have all contributed to increased availability, where the majority of referral practices and many large veterinary groups have on-site equipment, or at least regular access to one or more of these techniques.

Given the inherent limitations of each technique, it is useful to have a broad understanding of the indications and disadvantages of each, so as to offer timely advice to your clients as to how further assessments might proceed, whilst making best use of available funds in each case; in many instances, radiography and ultrasonography will suffice, but these techniques may fail to yield useful information in certain circumstances and might even delay timely referral or possibly exacerbate an unstable patient – it is not unheard of for animals to present with grade V spinal lesions following radiology under general anaesthesia as part of initial assessment for spinal pain or weakness. Read More »

Product Update: New form of Tissue Adhesive for Wound Closure in use at Downs Veterinary Referrals.

After extensive trials in both the human and veterinary referral fields a new method of wound closure is now available and in use here at Downs Veterinary Referrals.   Read More »

Case Report: n-butyl-2-cyanoacrylate Pleurodesis to manage Intractable, Spontaneous Pneumothorax in a Labrador Retriever


fig.2 - R lateral radiograph: note elevation of the cardiac silhouette

fig.1 – DV radiograph of chest showing bilateral pneumothorax

A three-year-old, entire, female Labrador Retriever presented to the referring veterinarian for assessment of progressive orthopnoea with associated vomiting over several months.  Read More »

Review Article: The Modified Maquet Procedure.



fig. 1.1 - postoperative radiograph of a standard TTA

fig. 1 - postoperative radiograph of a standard TTA

Tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) is a well-established alternative to tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO) for neutralising cranial thrust in cruciate deficient canine stifles.  Read More »

Review Article: Update on Mast Cell Tumours

Mast cell tumours (MCT) are among the most common canine cutaneous neoplasms seen in practice. Read More »