A Lancashire dog lover has made a bittersweet call to the expert vet who helped save his precious pet’s eyesight. 

Nicholas Carlton, from Rossendale, contacted Iona Mathieson, an advanced practitioner in veterinary ophthalmology, to tell her his beloved cocker spaniel Zoe had died from cancer in March. 

However, Nicholas repeated his thanks and gratitude to Iona, clinical director at Linnaeus-owned Eve Vet in Sutton Weaver, Cheshire, for ensuring Zoe was literally able to see out her final six years with her sight intact thanks to intricate surgery. 

Nicholas explained: “Zoe was 100 per cent our little princess but in 2016 she was attacked by another dog in the park and developed cataracts in both eyes as a result of the trauma. 

“It was a terrible shock and we were very concerned. Our local vets referred us to Iona, who explained there could be numerous complications carrying out surgery to try to save her sight. 

“She wasn’t making any promises and warned us that even a successful operation might only mean Zoe had another six months, maybe 12 months of sight. 

“We decided to take that calculated risk. Zoe was only eight years old and a lovely active dog, so we wanted to give her every chance to continue enjoying life for as long as possible. 

“We’re so pleased that we did. The operation was a success and Zoe kept her eyesight right up until the end. Not six months but six years! 

“Iona played a huge part in that. She honestly treated Zoe like her own pet and was so caring and supportive all the way through. 

“At first, there were check-ups and tests every week, then every month, then every three months, six months and eventually every 12 months. 

“We must have seen Iona 50 times over the years and we trusted her completely, as we knew she was doing her very best to maintain Zoe’s sight. 

“Iona even used Zoe as an example to other pet lovers on how successful surgery could be. 

“When I called Iona to tell her Zoe had passed away, we thought we should tell her story as a lasting legacy to a remarkable dog. 

“So that’s what I’m doing because she was a remarkable, wonderful dog.” 

Iona added: “I remember the first time I examined Zoe. She had bilateral cataracts and bilateral progressive retinal degeneration. 

“It wasn’t good news and I was reticent about performing surgery to remove the cataracts as the retinal disease would eventually result in blindness anyway. 

“I informed Nicholas of the situation and the risks and he decided to go ahead. I must admit I expected a poor visual outcome but Zoe had other ideas and retained vision for years afterwards. 

“I was so sorry to hear that she succumbed to cancer last month, but happy we were able to help her see again for those six years.” 

For more information on Eye Vet, which is a dedicated ophthalmic practice providing expert ocular care for pets, visit https://www.eye-vet.co.uk/ or search for Eye Vet, Cheshire, on social media. 

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