A much-loved pet dog is breathing easy once again after specialist treatment at an Essex animal hospital to remove a rare fatty lump in his mouth. 

Twelve-year-old Ralphe’s plight came to a head when he almost choked while sleeping and his owner then noticed the lump in his mouth. 

Up until then, while he appeared fine during the day, Ralphe’s breathing at night had started getting noisier. 

Following the shock discovery, Ralphe, a cairn terrier poodle cross, was taken to Linnaeus-owned Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Basildon for treatment. 

The team at industry-leading Southfields carried out a CT scan to diagnose the extent of the swelling,  followed by a specialist-led operation to remove the lump from Ralphe’s mouth. 

Fortunately for Ralphe, a biopsy confirmed the swelling, a lipoma, was not cancerous. 

Henry L’Eplattenier, soft tissue surgery specialist at Southfields, said: “Ralphe was a very unusual case as it is rare to find a fatty lump in the mouth. 

“Usually, they are found under the skin on the trunk, which includes the thorax, abdomen and pelvis, or sometimes between muscle bellies in the thigh.

“The size of it was also surprising as it took over the whole soft palate and extended upwards into the area behind the left eye. It was causing significant health problems for Ralphe by obstructing his airway.

“It meant the surgery had to be completed in three phases to successfully remove all of the growth and I’m pleased to say that Ralphe has recovered well and we can all breathe a sigh of relief, not least Ralphe and his owners.”

Ralphe’s owner Heather Hall, from Ingatestone in Essex, said: “Ralph had a large fatty mass at the back of his throat and cheek restricting his airway. As time progressed, his breathing and general health deteriorated. 

“We were shocked and frightened for Ralphe. It was no wonder he struggled to breath properly. We worried every day that we would lose him.

“We knew we needed Henry’s help as could choke to death if we didn’t act quickly. 

“Now he’s had the operation, Ralphe is back to his old self, playful and happy and is able to run after a ball and enjoy his walks.” 

Southfields, which moved into its cutting-edge Basildon hospital last summer, offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery. 

For more information, go to www.southfields.co.uk or search Southfields Veterinary Specialists on social media.

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