A five-month-old puppy has made a remarkable recovery from an extremely rare disease thanks to expert care at one of the UK’s top animal hospitals.
Enzo, a flat coated retriever, arrived at Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield as an emergency case as he was dribbling profusely.
Owners Matt Shaw and Lydia Edwards, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, were distraught after a traumatic two days which had seen their beloved pet deteriorate alarmingly.
Matt confessed: “We were in tears. We’d taken Enzo to an emergency vets and we were advised to take him for specialist care at Paragon – but, by this time, Enzo was so weak and unresponsive we actually asked if he’d survive the journey.
“It was heart-breaking to see him like that and I spoke to Lydia and we agreed that if we lost Enzo at just five months old, we could never have another pet ever again.”
Enzo did survive the journey to Wakefield and the young patient was immediately admitted as Ben Safrany, from Paragon’s specialist-led internal medicine team, took charge of the investigations into the mysterious condition.
Ben explained: “At first, we felt it could be a toxin as hypersalivation is often seen after contact with toads and eating certain plants, including daffodils.
“So, Enzo was hospitalised for observation and was given intravenous fluids to stop him becoming dehydrated from salivating so much.”
Ben began to be concerned about a far more serious problem when there had still been no improvement in Enzo the following day.
He added: “A toxin now seemed unlikely as he hadn’t been in his own environment for more than three days yet his symptoms remained the same.
“That’s when we suspected it could be an extremely rare condition called phenobarbital-responsive sialadenosis (PRS).
“It is an unusual idiopathic condition. No-one knows what causes it and there isn’t a specific test to diagnose it so it’s very much a mystery ailment.
“It’s thought to be a rare form of limbic epilepsy and can lead to vomiting, anorexia, dramatic weight loss and, in some cases, euthanasia if it is not diagnosed.
“The only way to confirm the disease is to rule out any other possible causes and then begin treatment with phenobarbital, which is normally used to treat seizures. If there is a rapid improvement then you know it is a case of PRS.
“We immediately started Enzo on phenobarbital and after just two doses his salivating reduced and he seemed much brighter.
“After two days the drooling and dribbling had stopped altogether and he’s now fully recovered, although he continues to take medication.
“Fortunately, the outlook for Enzo is very good as most dogs remain well controlled with treatment and in some cases, medication can be stopped completely after a few months.”
Matt and Lydia confessed they were close to tears when they were reunited with Enzo – this time, though, it was tears of happiness.
Matt added: “Seeing Enzo coming out of Paragon all bouncy and with his tail wagging was like winning the lottery.
“We were so happy. We were like a couple of giddy schoolchildren with smiles from ear to ear. The incredible feeling of relief was something I’d never experienced before.
“We can’t thank Ben and everyone at Paragon enough. Their care and treatment of Enzo was top class. Ben put us at ease from the start and he is so talented and impressive. We were incredibly lucky to have been referred to him and will always be so grateful for his expert care.”
Paragon’s multi-disciplinary care includes anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery.
For more information on Paragon Veterinary Referrals, which is part of Linnaeus, visit www.paragonreferrals.co.uk.