A 12-year-old whippet has spent the last three years battling to fight off her own immune system which is attacking her joints, causing considerable pain. 

The family pet was first diagnosed with immune mediated polyarthritis (IMPA) in July 2020 and has been treated at one of the UK’s leading veterinary hospitals ever since. 

Katherine Clarke, a small animal specialist at Linnaeus-owned Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire, has led Margaux’s care and succeeded in keeping the condition at bay. 

Katherine says it’s an ongoing challenge, explaining: “IMPA is a disease where the immune system attacks the synovial joints in the body causing inflammation and pain. 

“It is treated by suppressing the immune system which is initially achieved by using high doses of steroid. 

“Margaux responded very well and we actually achieved disease remission, allowing us to gradually taper down the dosage over multiple months. 

“She did excellently without any medications for seven months but Margaux was unlucky.  

“Some dogs with IMPA remain in remission and never experience a return of their disease but she experienced a relapse in June 2021. 

“Since then, we have managed her disease with low doses of prednisolone and other, second line, immunosuppressant medications. 

“Overall, her disease has remained well controlled, although it is likely Margaux will need to remain on medication for the rest of her life to prevent another relapse. 

“Margaux has experienced some muscle wastage due to the long-term steroid usage. She was assessed by Diane Messum, one of our physiotherapists at Davies, who provided her with some exercises to help re-build her muscle. 

“She has taken to these exercises very well and her owner is already seeing a fantastic improvement. Margaux’s a lovely patient and we’re all very pleased.” 

Margaux’s owner, Sam Levy from Hertford in Hertfordshire, is full of praise for specialist Katherine and the expert team at Davies.

She said it had been a traumatic time but Margaux was doing well to hold the disease at bay. 

Sam said: “Margaux was very poorly initially and I was extremely concerned as she was in considerable pain in all her joints and her spine and struggled to move at all. 

“I was very relieved when she was diagnosed although I was worried as to whether the IPMA could be effectively treated.”

Three years on and Sam’s witnessed a dramatic difference in Margaux and is very grateful.

“She is well in herself. There is some muscle wastage and baldness from long term steroid use but her strength is really improving now she’s receiving her physiotherapy. 

“She still has occasional flare ups but she is seen quickly by Katherine Clarke at Davies and her medication is adjusted accordingly. 

“Everyone at Davies, but especially Katherine Clarke, have been exceptional throughout and the care for Margaux has been outstanding. I would recommend Davies without hesitation.” 

For more information about Davies and the wide range of specialist-led services it offers, visit https://vetspecialists.co.uk/ or search for them on Facebook or LinkedIn

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