Southfields to the Rescue!

December 2, 2022

A case of dog-sitting turned into high drama for a son-in-law trying to do a good deed after a sudden illness left one of the beloved pets needing emergency treatment at our new £16 million animal hospital.

Ryan Latimer had agreed to look after his mother-in-law’s treasured dogs while she went on holiday to Mexico.

However, Ryan soon found the relatively simple tasks of daily walks, food and cuddles had escalated when one of the pets became seriously ill.

Fortunately for Ryan, he and ailing Bichon Frisé, Cecil, were referred to Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Basildon, Essex, for expert care.

In a truly multidisciplinary approach, which involved a number of services at Southfields’ new state-of-the-art hospital, Head of Internal Medicine James Warland and Resident Raquel del Solar led the emergency treatment.

James revealed: “Cecil arrived at Southfields with concerning clinical signs including lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and weakness.

“We ran a series of diagnostic tests and procedures which showed he was suffering from Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMTP).

“This is a condition where the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, starts to damage and destroy platelets in the blood.

“Platelets are cells required to clot blood and prevent bleeding, so if enough platelets are destroyed then spontaneous bleeding can occur.

“Clearly, if a large quantity of blood is lost then anaemia (having a low red blood cell count), can also be present.

“In Cecil’s case, he had extremely low levels of platelets in his blood and was also suffering from mild anaemia.

“He was immediately hospitalised and started on corticosteroids and received a vincristine IV injection.”

Cecil was kept in hospital for four days as the Southfields team monitored his progress before allowing him home with ongoing medication to maintain his recovery.

Ryan was certainly quick to express his gratitude to Southfields saying: “It’s quite simple – they have saved the little boy’s life.

“When he was first admitted they said he had just 12 platelets, when he should have had 200-300. This meant his blood could not clot, so he was at real risk.

“The team reacted decisively. They ran bloods and a series of tests and within three hours all other diseases had been ruled out.

“IMTP was confirmed and they immediately concentrated on making Cecil stable and treating the condition.

“It really was incredible service. I would happily do a 40-mile round trip every day of the week to take my dog there. I would happily recommend Southfields to any friends and family in the future.”

Cecil’s owner, and Ryan’s mother-in-law Ann Smalley, from Shoeburyness, Southend, said: “I was on holiday in Mexico and Ryan didn’t tell me anything about it until I got back.

“I was left feeling sad and guilty that Ryan had dealt with everything by himself. Cecil had been unwell before I went away but I’d taken him to our local vets and he’d been put on antibiotics, so I left thinking he was on the mend.

“It must have been a nightmare for Ryan but he was amazing. He really loves the dogs and thanks to him Cecil was fine by the time I got home.

“I can’t thank him enough. Mind you, he hasn’t volunteered to look after them again next year!”

Southfields’ new Basildon referral centre, based at Cranes Point, just 10 minutes from its former Laindon practice, offers 24/7 facilities and will continue to boast 14 specialist-led services.

The referral centre offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology and interventional cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.

For more information on facilities at our new hospital, click here.