Meet Tipsy, a 4 year old dearly loved furry family member of the Lutz household. Tipsy’s human mommy is our senior surgeon at Bakenkop Animal Clinic. Dr Lutz have always had a soft spot for dachshunds. The day Tipsy became a part of their household, was one of the happiest days of their lives.
For those who do not know the breed well; dachshunds are more prone to have back problems due to their elongated spines.
Tipsy gets treated like royalty. She gets plenty of play time, sleeps in the bed and even goes to doggy day care at a family friend, Antoinette, every day when Dr Kristina comes to work. Being in the veterinary industry, the Lutz household did everything .Tipsy received all the medical care she needed. From vaccinations and dental procedures to sterilization.
Shortly after her sterilisation Dr Kristina realised that Tipsy had picked up some weight. Something we warn all pet owners about due to the change in hormones slowing down the metabolism. Knowing that the extra weight will put unnecessary strain on her spine, Dr Kristina made an appointment with our Pet Slimmer Clinic nurse, Sister Cindy and enrolled Tipsy into the weight-loss program in August 2018. Tipsy lost 1kg of weight (18% of her bodyweight) in just under 5 months. She also lost 4cm around her chest and 8cm around her waist.
Tipsy’s weight was being maintained. Her new dachshund sister helped her to keep trim and slim because together they never had a dull moment. They played and chased each other around the house. Life was fun and the family was happy.
Until one night…
It was the 31st of March and typical of the Sunday night theory. Tipsy was fine over the weekend but all of a sudden jumped off the couch and was paralyzed in her hind limbs. One of her discs had moved and placed pressure on the spinal cord. Dr Kristina being a vet herself and knowing the signs of disc disease knew she had to keep calm but her whole world felt like it was falling apart. She immediately started communicating with Dr Camby, one of the best orthopaedic surgeons. He was available to see Tipsy the following day. It was one of the longest nights for the Lutz family. A night filled with stress and no sleep.
Early the Monday morning Tipsy was taken to Zambezi Animal Clinic where Dr Camby examined her and immediately placed her on his surgery list for the day. The operation was a big success but Dr Camby warned Dr Lutz, just like all his other clients about how important the aftercare was. They needed to be patient and realise that it will take time for Tipsy to walk on her legs again. She will also be in pain and almost the worst part is to keep her movement restricted by cage rest and leash walks only.
She came back to Bakenkop a day after her operation for a few days of strict cage rest and pain monitoring as we have a 24 hour night monitoring service available. Dr Lutz knew that Tipsy would feel comfortable staying with her Bakenkop family and she entrust her colleagues to look after her “baby”.
Her rehabilitation process started within 48 hours post-op with leg exercises done by the nurses. Within 5 days she tried to use her left hind leg to walk and with the help of a physiotherapist, using treadmills and swimming, within two weeks she was walking even though with a limp on the right leg .With ongoing physiotherapy she should be up and running in the next two to three months.
With sharing Tipsy and Dr Kristina’s story we want our clients to know that we understand. The veterinary profession is much more than just a profession. All of the employees at our Clinic have our own pets that we call family and we care for deeply. We also get stressed when they fall ill or get hurt. We also have to treat them medically and pray for their recovery.
Meet Bakkies, an energetic 2 year old male Staffie and loving member of the Hertzog family.
We all know that Decembers can be a very busy and sometimes even chaotic time of the year. It was the 22nd of December, just before Christmas and the Hertzog family had just left to go on holiday, leaving their beloved furry family in the capable hands of friends and staff who work for them.
The family had just arrived at their holiday destination when they received the heart wrenching phone call from a family member, Barry Hertzog : “Bakkies was in an accident and was hurt!”
It is still unknown how exactly Bakkies managed to get out of the yard but he was hit by a car and was lying on the N11, 1 km away from home, in a puddle of blood. As luck would have it, Barry by coincidence drove on that highway at that time and recognised Bakkies from something that looked like a dark puddle lying in the middle of the road. A passing by vehicle also stopped to help transfer Bakkies’ fragile body from the road into the car to transport him to Dr Fritz Steenkamp, a veterinarian in Marble Hall, where the family reside.
Dr Steenkamp treated Bakkies for shock and stabilized him before taking radiographs of his broken legs. Bakkies sustained multiple fractured bones. His femur was broken into 3 pieces and 3 metatarsal bones were off but luckily his pelvis was still intact. He needed specialist surgery to repair the fractures.
He was then referred to our Clinic where Dr Orsilla van der Veen took over the case. She continued with treatment to get Bakkies stable for the big surgery that he needed to undergo. Unfortunately with the shock, Bakkies’ kidneys had to work harder and was in danger. Dr Orsilla kept the Hertzog family up to date with his prognosis and it was decided to go ahead with the surgery as soon as possible to avoid greater complications. Dr Orsilla arranged with our part-time specialist surgeon, Dr Charlie Boucher to operate on Bakkies’ broken femur. It was decided to let the metatarsal bones in his front leg heal with splint bandages as those bones a very delicate.
Bakkies was in surgery for just under 3 hours, after which Dr Orsilla phoned the Hertzog family with the good news that Bakkie’s surgery and anaesthesia went very well. He was intensively monitored by one of our qualified veterinary nurses together with Dr Orsilla throughout the whole surgery.
Dr Orsilla explained to the Hertzog family that the after care of such a big operation is just as important as the operation itself. Bakkies needed strict cage rest with short leash-walks only, bandage changes and later some physiotherapy to help him recover his normal gait again. It was then decided to leave Bakkies with us to assist with the rehabilitation process.
During this time Bakkies became a part of the Bakenkop family. He was examined daily by our doctors and had plenty of TLC and confined play time with our nurses. He later started with hydrotherapy sessions to help strengthen his muscles and keep him fit. The Hertzog family came to visit when they could. They were also kept up to date with daily messages from us.
Today, over 2 months after his surgery, Bakkies is back home and can run on both his injured legs again. We are so proud of Bakkies for never losing his sparkle throughout this tough journey. Anyone that owns a Staffie will know that it goes against their busy nature to be kept confined. We also want to salute the Hertzog family for doing what is best for Bakkies even if it meant being without him for so long.
Bakkies will always have a special place in our hearts and we miss him so much!
Golden oldie getting a second chance in life
The awful part of working in the veterinary industry is seeing pets suffer. Whether they are sick, hurt or even lost. It breaks our hearts to the same extent.
One day, early in January, Mrs Cassandra van Zyl found a very old, mostly blind cross breed dog at the Sasol garage in Rooihuiskraal. It was obvious that he was scared and had nowhere to go. She could not keep him and asked us to help as she did not want him to go to the SPCA.
Being in the veterinary industry, we all have a very soft spot for pets and thus we treat the stray animals with the same love and respect as we do our patients. If we have space in our very busy hospital, we always try to assist the community by taking in lost pets, buying the owners some time to find their missing pet.
We understand that accidents do happen and that some pets are escape artists. The first thing we did was to scan him for a chip. Sadly he was not chipped which changed the ball game completely. If pets are not chipped, it makes it so difficult for us to find the owner. Not everyone is on social media and many owners have no idea where to start looking for their missing pet.
We took this very hungry, tired and scared dog into our care. We prepared a cage with blankets for him and opened some soft tin food, which he gulped up – indicating he had not eaten in days. Mrs van Zyl was adamant to help us find his owners. She also posted his photo and information on various Facebook pages, community WhatsApp groups and alerted the Vets in the area. Sadly after 3 days, no owner had been found. As each day passed, we got more worried and sad. We knew that if the owners were not found quickly, this old dog would not stand a chance to be rehomed….
One of our darling clients, Mrs Morkel saw a post made by Sister Cindy urgently asking for a foster home. She made contact with us and offered to foster this old dog. She was like an angel sent from above!! Mrs Morkel sadly lost 3 of her senior pets recently. Grieving the loss of her beloved pets, she felt that this old dog needed her love and attention as much as she needed to hand it out.
We made contact with a rescue worker who helped us follow the correct steps. Mrs Morkel completed foster forms and passed the home check with flying colours. The Morkel family immediately fell in love with this sweet dog. She took him for a bath and a shave, he got lots of love, plenty of food and yummy snacks, slept in the house and was even allowed on the furniture. Quickly he fitted in and they knew that this dog crossed their path for a reason. They named him Ginger and are now in the process of adopting him.
We would like to thank the Morkel family for giving this sweet old dog a second chance and Mrs van Zyl for rescuing him off the street. We also want to thank each and every client that donates towards our stray fund.
In general only 10% of people that drop off strays and ask for our help are willing to make a donation. To those that do, we really appreciate it. We use these funds for any treatments needed (medical, dietary etc) of injured stray pets. We cannot make a difference if we do not get support from the community.
Please keep in mind that although we love animals and we always try to help, we are not a Rescue Organization or the SPCA. We are a veterinary hospital and we can only help if we have space available. We have 3 day policy where we keep dogs for 72 hours to help give the owners time to locate their missing pet, after this time we have to send a stray dog to a Rescue (if they have space) or the SPCA. If you help us find a foster home we can send those details with to the rescue where they will make contact with you. Also note that we do not take in healthy adult cats without microchips as cats tend to roam the area and will find their way back home.
We want to end this lovely story by asking everyone who loves their pets, to PLEASE microchip and sterilize them as not all pets are as lucky as Ginger. Some sit in cages for months, even years before they get adopted or might even be put to sleep due to the high demand of stray pets requiring shelter.
Meet Patches, the 7 month old adorable Basset pup and very much loved member of the Wentworth family.
The Wentworth family did know that puppies (especially basset puppies) love to chew and swallow foreign objects. Keeping this in mind, they bought Patches many toys to keep him busy and entertained. Only toys that they pre-checked and approved as safe enough not to be swallowed.
One morning Patches did not want to eat his breakfast, which was very unlike him. He became a bit lethargic and later started to vomit. His owners were very concerned and took him to a nearby veterinary clinic in Centurion. The veterinarian took abdominal X-rays and found a foreign body obstruction in his intestines. It appeared to be a rock.
The Veterinary Clinic referred Patches to our Hospital for an emergency exploratory laparotomy (surgical incision into the abdominal cavity) to remove the foreign body that was blocking the intestines.
Dr Kristina Lutz together with two of our qualified veterinary nurses went into theatre with Patches straight away. Sister Akhira monitored Patches’ anaesthesia throughout the whole operation (making sure that his heart rate, blood pressure and breathing was normal) while Sister Jeani assisted Dr Lutz with the operation. As seen on the X-ray, a very big rock was found in the small intestine. It had bruised and started damaging the intestinal wall. If the rock was not removed surgically, it could have caused the intestines to rupture into the peritoneal cavity causing infection, sepsis and most probably resulting in Patches’ untimely death.
The rock was successfully removed and Patches spent two nights in our hospital where our doctors together with our day and night nurses closely monitored Patches 24 hours a day. We made sure that when he went home his pain was under control, he did not vomit and he ate on his own again.
Although the family took all the necessary precautions to avoid a foreign body, Patches still decided to find a rock and swallow it. We know that it is in his inquisitive nature to want to explore and we understand that an accident like this can happen so quickly. Unfortunately we can try protect our pets but we cannot always keep them safe from harm. With this being said we are very proud of Patches to have gone through such major surgery so early in his life.
We sincerely hope that Patches will be more careful of what he plays with and chews on. Thank you to the Wentworth family for allowing us to help Patches and for being such good pet owners.
We hope that this story will warn other pet owners of how easily a pet can have a foreign body (this includes bones, sosatie sticks, toothpicks, toys, blankets, towels, underwear etc.) We also strongly advise all pet owners to look at a Medical Insurance plan for example Medipet (https://medipetsa.co.za/). This will come in handy when something unexpected like this happens to your pet.
Meet Niquta, the 6 year old Jack Russel and loved member of the Bayford family.
In July this year she was suddenly very sick. She had a fever, stopped eating, was vomiting and had severe abdominal pain. Her owners were very worried. Our medicine specialist, Dr Joanne Mclean examined her and upon doing an ultrasound of her abdomen, Dr Mclean found that her gallbladder had ruptured and bile was leaking into her abdomen. She was referred to Bryanston Veterinary Hospital where a specialist surgeon performed an emergency laparotomy and found a mass on her gallbladder wall which had caused the gallbladder to rupture. He removed the gallbladder with the mass and sent it to the laboratory for analysis. She was in ICU after the surgery for a few days but made a miraculous and speedy recovery.
The mass was diagnosed as a hemangiosarcoma which is a malignant cancer of the bloodvessels. This type of cancer is very aggressive and can spread easily from one organ to another especially to the liver, spleen, lungs and heart and can cause life-threatening haemorrhage. Once she had recovered from the surgery Dr McLean scanned her heart and took chest x-rays to make sure there was no signs of spread to the other organs.
Luckily all these tests were clear and Niquita was started on a course of chemotherapy to destroy any microscopic cancer cells that may have been present in the blood or organs.
She just recently had her post chemotherapy check-up and no traces of cancer could be found. Niquta is completely cancer free!Niquta came in for Chemotherapy treatment every three weeks for six treatments. Chemotherapy can have some horrible side -affects such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea but luckily Niquta responded well and had very few symptoms. Niquta was a star patient and still wagged her tail with each visit. She just had this sparkle in her eyes and this strong will to keep fighting.
We would like to thank the Bayford family for giving this sweet girl a second chance in life. We know that it wasn’t always an easy road and it warms our hearts seeing her healthy and happy again.
Meet Lunah, a 4 year old Labrador Retriever. She has been an honourable member of the Bakenkop Blood Donor Clinic since September 2016.
In this time she has donated 6 bags of blood to help save pets in need. Yes, dogs also receive blood transfusions. We use blood in the hospital to treat critically ill patients suffering from various diseases such as Babesia cases, trauma cases and rodenticide toxicity patients.
We do not only want to salute Lunah and all our other blood donors for the big difference they make but we want to especially thank Lunah’s owner, Mrs van der Linde, for always being willing to help when we need to perform an emergency blood transfusion. Mrs van der Linde has brought Lunah to us on a few Sundays and even as early as 4 am in the morning, always with a smile on her face. We just want to give the van der Linde family the credit that they deserve. Thank you for helping us save lives.
Did you know that a blood donor dog can save up to 8 other dogs’ lives a year? That is why we call all our blood donors HEROES.
If you have a friendly large breed dog at home that fits the following requirements, he/she can also become a blood donor:
For more information on our Blood Donation Clinic feel free to send an email to Sister Cindy at Cindy@bakenkop-vet.co.za
Meet Bruce, the boerboel cross that was rescued from the streets in Durban by the Jordaan family who lives in Centurion, Pretoria.
In September, Jacque Jordaan saw a very saddening post on Facebook about this dog wandering the streets of Durban. He was emaciated, had a terrible skin condition and he feared any human contact. Kind people in the Durban area put some food and water out for him close to a building where he seemed to feel safe and spend some of his nights.
The thought of this helpless dog living on the street really touched the hearts of the Jacques and his wife, Carina Jordaan. So 2 days later they decided to drive all the way to Durban, find the dog, get him in the car and bring him back home so they can love and take care of him. They did just that!
After a very long trip and special efforts to get this dog to trust them, they were on the way back home with this sweet but scared dog resting on the backseat of their car.
With the drive back home, they decided to name him Bruce. He was in a worse condition than they initially thought. While driving, they phoned our Clinic to tell us that they will be bringing Bruce for a check-up afterhours as it was obvious that he needed some medical care.
Dr Jeanine met Bruce later that evening. He was diagnosed with a skin condition (mange), a severe worm infestation, he was weak and had wasting of his body due to his poor condition. The Jordaan family was dedicated to help Bruce and they went home that evening with some medication and strict instructions to keep Bruce separated from their other dogs until he is healthy.
The family followed the instructions. They made sure Bruce knew that they were there to help him. Even though he was scared, he already started wagging his tail when he saw them on day 2. They checked up on him every 90 minutes and he was fed a high calorie diet 3 times a day.
Only a month later Bruce was brought to our Clinic again for his castration and vaccination. His hair had started growing back and he picked up 8kg and he is busy transforming into a different dog.
He got introduced to the two other Jordaan Rescue dogs. And in no time the Jordaan family grew with an extra member. It is so heart-warming to see people with a true love for animals, willing to go through so much trouble to give a dog a second chance.
Jordaan family, we salute you! We can’t wait to see Bruce for his next follow up and we know that he is already the happiest and healthiest version of himself.