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Case Study: An Interesting Case…

Toffee, an 11 year old, female neutered, Airedale Terrier came to us at Endell Veterinary Group for general lethargy and depression, as well as having episodes of panting and coughing/choking. At home Toffee had had a very noisy, gurgling tummy and been straining to pass any faeces. Toffee had always had the odd choking episode but she had been doing it even more recently.

When Toffee was examined she did have a painful tummy and diarrhoea, so she was sent home with treatment to target her diarrhoea. We also asked Toffees owners to record the coughing/choking/panting episodes as we could not get Toffee to do this in consult.

The following day Toffee came back to us with increased straining to go to the toilet and a lot of noises from her tummy, as well as not wanting to eat! Choking episodes were frequent throughout the night and the video footage of an episode looked like Toffee was choking on something.

Toffee’s tummy was less painful when she was examined, but a worrying sign during the exam was her tongue going blue without any choking episode.

We admitted Toffee for a general screening of her blood and to examine her throat under general anaesthetic (GA) and take some chest x-rays. All Toffee’s blood results were normal, so we put her under general anaesthetic.

Once Toffee was asleep we could see a lump in the back of her throat (see pictures). We removed the lump and then took some x-rays of Toffee’s chest which were all normal. So why was Toffee having these choking/coughing episodes? The lump was probably acting like a plug, closing across Toffee’s airways causing her to cough and choke before the lump repositioned allowing her to breathe again.

 
The lump once it had been removed   The lump in the back of Toffees throat. The orange/red tube is the endotracheal tube we put in place for general anaesthetics to provide oxygen and anaesthetic agents to our patients’ lungs

 

Toffee stayed in overnight on intravenous fluids and medication to help her diarrhoea. She returned home the following day.

Toffee’s diarrhoea improved with a course of antibiotics, following a faecal sample. Her choking episodes were much less severe and frequent, but to err on the side of caution Toffee was referred for further workup. The referral centre examined Toffee, but decided against any further workup for the time being as we had seen a marked improvement with her choking episodes. Since being discharged Toffee has been doing really well at home and getting up to mischief with her sister Flossie.

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