A DOG owner has breathed a huge sigh of relief after his beloved English bulldog underwent lifesaving surgery at one of the UK’s foremost animal hospitals.
Three-year-old Phoebe had two emergency operations in just three months at the renowned Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Solihull, after being badly affected by Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).
Phoebe’s struggles with BOAS left her owner Lee O’Reilly, from Wishaw, fearing the worst.
Lee said: “Phoebe had severe respiratory issues because of BOAS and there were times when I thought she was going to die.
“It really has been a traumatic time with Phoebe’s BOAS causing one crisis after another but thankfully the brilliant team at Willows have saved the day.”
Erika Villedieu, a European Specialist in small animal surgery at Linnaeus-owned Willows, helped lead Phoebe’s surgeries and subsequent recovery.
She said: “Although Phoebe initially recovered well from the first operation, she suffered another respiratory crisis three months later and another temporary tracheostomy tube had to be placed.
“Phoebe was suffering from reflux and regurgitation, too, which is relatively common in dogs with BOAS, and can aggravate the respiratory signs.
“Phoebe was treated with medication and a change of diet for her regurgitation, and she improved.
“However, her breathing remained more laboured than it should and she was making a wheezy noise, which prompted more investigations.”
An examination under general anaesthesia revealed a Grade 3 laryngeal collapse, a serious condition and advanced stage of BOAS where the voicebox cartilages become soft and collapsed into the airway.
Erika added: “I operated to remove a portion of the cartilages obstructing her voicebox (bilateral cuneiformectomy) and she also underwent correction of a hiatal hernia, an abnormally large opening in her diaphragm which could aggravate regurgitation signs.
“Phoebe then spent a few days in Willows’ specialist intensive care unit before going home with instructions to rest and continue her gastrointestinal medication.
“She has since recovered very well and her breathing has drastically improved, although she remains on limited exercise due to her underlying condition.”
Owner Lee added: “She is the loveliest little soul and a real sweetheart, and she’s so much better now. We’re very grateful to all the experts at Willows.