Clinical signs of digestive tract disorders can include vomiting or regurgitation, diarrhoea, weight loss, food allergies and intolerances. Investigations include detailed history taking, clinical examination, blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound and endoscopy. Some conditions require minimal intervention, such as dietary change. Others require more complex investigation involving biopsies of the liver, stomach, pancreas or intestines, which can be obtained using minimally invasive endoscopes or may require more invasive surgery.
Our team has over 25 years of experience in small animal anaesthesia and critical care medicine. Our intensive care department offers advanced in-patient care facilities. Comprehensive patient care includes monitoring cardiorespiratory function, blood pressure, temperature and depth of anaesthesia from pain relief to pharmacologically induced coma where necessary. We have immediate access to resuscitation equipment, blood transfusion products, emergency drugs and procedures.
Pain management and patient welfare is a prime concern in veterinary patients. We have a variety of both modern and traditional drugs and methods of pain relief. In addition, in suitable cases, acupuncture and physiotherapy techniques may be adopted.
Cardiorespiratory disorders may lead to exercise intolerance and collapse, coughing, sneezing and can be potentially life-threathening when breathing or heart function is significantly impaired. Emergency treatment might be required to stabilise patients prior to investigations. This might include arterial blood gas analysis and other laboratory tests, ECG, x-rays, electrocardiography, endoscopy and CT or MRI scanning. Some patients might require additional oxygen support via masks, intranasal tubes, oxygen tent, tracheostomy or artificial ventilation.
Signs of intracranial disease may include seizures, sensory loss, abnormal mentation and cognitive function, behavioural changes and unsteadiness. Assessment generally includes detailed history taking, full clinical examination, cross-sectional imaging, spinal tap, laboratory tests. Examination of owner’s videos of abnormal behaviour may be of considerable assistance. Treatments may range from minor medical management through to brain surgery.
Where patients have signs of peripheral nerve disease, possibly manifested weakness, abnormal reflexes, breathing problems or urination abnormalities, the investigation often includes electrophysiology techniques.
The spinal service is headed by specialist James Pratt and covers all aspects of lesion localisation and surgery. This may include cross sectional imaging, gait analysis and electrophysiology to allow the appropriate decompressive or other interventional procedure.
Intracranial neurology is headed by Pip Boydell and includes routine assessment and imaging with a view to surgical intervention for trauma and tumour cases and seizure management.
Peripheral neurology cases may be seen by either of these consultants assisted by a full range of imaging and electrophysiology techniques.
The AMC neurology service has reported several new conditions in animals over the years:
Organs of the endocrine system such as thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands and pancreas are responsible for coordinating bodily functions and how it responds to internal and external changes. Detailed history taking is essential to create a diagnostic plan. Disorders can be diagnosed using highly specific blood tests, ultrasound, CT and MRI imaging and biopsies. Some of them can be treated medically while others require a surgical approach.
Routine dermatologic investigation generally involves a detailed clinical history, a thorough clinical and skin examination, interpretation of a variety of laboratory tests. Some conditions can be relatively easy to cure and some may require long term management to obtain satisfactory control.
Skin problems in all species may be seen, primarily by Claire McArdle. Many cases involve allergic components and are often seen in conjunction with the ophthalmologists. Similarly a number of skin patients have a hormonal abnormalities and may require a medicine input.
The ophthalmology service is headed by Pip Boydell who has over 25 years of experience in referral ophthalmology.
All ocular conditions in all species are seen with most medical and surgical options available.
We have dedicated ophthalmic facilities which include equipment to perform electrophysiology and detailed ocular imaging, laser, cataract and retinal surgery, electrolysis and cryosurgery.
The most common presentations are progressive corneal ulceration in dogs with protruding eyes and herpetic keratitis in cats. The department is particularly interested in diseases involving the pupil and abnormal eye movements.
With a suitable laboratory and a collection of appropriate blood donors the AMC can offer a variety of blood products to support patients.
Full work up for allergic conditions may lead to the use of specific vaccines as part of the management.
Immunosuppression may be used to control a number of immune-mediated disease while immunostimulation using, for example, interferons, may be incorporated in the treatment of some tumours and viral infections.
Most tumours are dealt with under the relevant clinical discipline if associated with specific tissues e.g. eyes, bones. Investigations may be those typical of the area involved, but may then require a more detailed tumour staging assessments. Available treatment options include surgery (curative, palliative),a range of chemotherapies, immunomodulatory drugs, photodynamic therapy, laser ablation.
Many patients, unfortunately, present with terminal disease, where palliative treatment and pain management to maintain a satisfactory quality of life are the main goals.
Acupuncture is used here primarily as a method of pain management, particularly with spinal diseases and palliative care. It may improve quality of life in patients where pharmacological analgesia is inadequate. Some patients require much lower doses of medications.