The Charming Charlie!
Update: It is with great sadness that we must update this blog to say Charlie was put to sleep in February 2020. A much-loved, beautiful boy who will be incredibly missed, but never forgotten. Our thoughts and warmth are with Charlie’s family through such a difficult time.
Charlie is a very charming 10-year-old Labradoodle who absolutely adores his carer Amanda. He visited us in March with a suspected oesophageal mass.
Charlie was seen by our Head of Internal Medicine, Magda Gerou-Ferriani, to find out what was causing the mass and develop a suitable treatment plan for him. Yet, when Magda looked closer there was more going on than was initially suspected.
We performed radiographs and a CT scan of Charlie’s neck along with endoscopy. When reviewing the images, Magda found the mass was not located on the inside of the oesophagus (the ‘food tube’ between the mouth and the stomach) as originally suspected; it was instead on the outside and pushing down on the oesophagus causing some obstruction. During the endoscopy, Magda also identified a number of inflamed areas in the oesophagus, some areas of erosion in the pylorus (the opening of the stomach to the small intestine), and a lot of ulcers in Charlie’s stomach. As a priority, to find what was causing the mass, cells were collected for further investigation.
Charlie with Sophia, one of our wonderful Patient Care Assistants!
Charlie made a good recovery from his procedures. As he much prefers being at home than staying overnight at the hospital, he was discharged with some medication and a liquid diet to help soothe his symptoms whilst the test results were analysed in the laboratory.
The lab results provided a diagnosis of a reactive/hyperplastic lymph node (enlargement of a gland which can be caused by an infection, inflammation or cancer). It was this gland which was pushing down on Charlie’s oesophagus causing the obstruction. As this was an unusual presentation a sophisticated test called PARR was performed to exclude cancer; this came back negative. Further investigation of the oesophagus under the same endoscopy showed severe signs of reflux oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus) and severe ulcerations of the stomach.
Charlie returned for further investigations of his stomach problems which included a second endoscopy and biopsies. He had since been suffering from some vomiting so it was a key time to find out what was going on. The results showed a common disease in humans and dogs called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are several different causes of IBD including allergic reactions to food components. Immunosuppressive medications were used to treat both the big lymph node that was pushing on the oesophagus and the IBD. The ulcers were treated with a drug called omeprazole. Charlie was also advised to follow a special diet to help get him back to full health.
When we last saw Charlie and his carer, Amanda, he was doing exceptionally well having gained some weight and appeared to be back to his usual, happy self. Here he is with Amanda during his last visit to us.
Thank you for taking the time to read about Charlie’s story. If you would like to find out more about our Internal Medicine Service, please click on the link.
Stay tuned for more tales from Team Ralph!