A remarkable veterinarian saved the life of a completely blind dog by drilling into his skull.Gus, a Golden Retriever, was purchased as a puppy by Sarah Millar, 40, and her daughter Mia, 16.However, he soon began crashing into things and required Mia to be his guide human on walks because he was losing his ability to observe his surroundings.After eye-disease specialists who examined him were perplexed and noted that his eyes appeared perfectly healthy, he was referred to Veterinary Specialists Scotland (VSS).
Alexandra Ferreira, a neurologist, looked after him at the veterinary clinic where Sarah brought him from Carlisle, Cumbria.According to scan results, Gus’ blindness was caused by pressure building up inside his brain.
“Gus had MRI and CT scans, and Alexandra was astounded,” she explained.He had the worst case of hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) she’d ever seen, she said, and it was swamping both sides of his brain.
“I was shocked and couldn’t imagine the pain he was in,” Alex said, “but there was a way to drain the fluid and relieve pressure on Gus’s eyes and brain.”
Gus was subjected to a three-month ordeal that included numerous procedures to drain the fluid from his brain.”Gus needed a shunt to drain the fluid from his brain into his stomach, but there were a number of setbacks along the way,” Sarah explained.”First, he had a bad reaction to the anesthetic, so he needed a second shunt with a controller to regulate the flow.” There were many tears shed along the way, and it was an emotional rollercoaster.”In June, after the most recent successful operation, the family was finally able to bring their beloved pet home.
“There were many times when we were afraid to answer the phone in case it was bad news, the worst news,” Sarah explained.
“Instead, we got a call one morning saying Gus had come out of his sedation and had even gone for a walk outside.””Not long after that, Alex said he could come home because she thought he’d thrive even more with his family around him.””It was a magical moment.”Gus is my daughter Mia’s dog, and he arrived just in time for her 16th birthday.
“She says it was the best birthday present she’s ever received.”It was truly a happy ending.Despite his blindness, he’s a fantastic dog, a one-of-a-kind, and we owe Alex and VSS everything.We are eternally grateful to her for putting her heart and soul into saving his life.”
“We don’t have an accurate way to measure intracranial pressure in dogs, so surgery had to be repeated using a high-pressure shunt to improve control,” said Alexandra, a veterinarian at the Linnaeus-owned facility in Livingston, Scotland.
“I didn’t want to prep and drill the other side of the skull because I was afraid of infections and further trauma, so I decided to go on the same side but reposition the shunt.””Gus is much more responsive and interactive at home, and I am thrilled for him, Sarah, and the family.”