Jake's story - suspected pain ends in tests and surgery

Meet Jake, a 12 year old very wise Burmese who is the king of his household. Jake's owners became very concerned about him one evening when he refused dinner & seemed to be in pain. He was very unlike his normal confident self. We saw Jake late that evening and indeed he was in pain, his tummy was very sore, especially the area just on top of the bladder, poor Jake was hunched and very unhappy.

We admitted Jake to hospital and gave him some pain relief by injection and took an x-ray of his abdomen. The x-ray clearly showed a swelling on top of his bladder and under his bowel. Blood tests the next morning showed a few minor changes suggesting infection but to investigate further Jake needed an ultrasound. This showed that there were in fact 2 large swellings in his abdomen and that they appeared to be swollen lymph nodes. This is not an area where we normally see swollen lymph nodes and possible causes include inflammation, infection and cancer. Jake's owners were very worried.

The next step was to take an aspirate from the swellings to find out what they contained. To our surprise we obtained pus. This strongly suggested that Jake had an abscess in his tummy but we could not yet absolutely rule out cancer.

The only course of action now was to operate and try to drain the abscess at surgery. This meant a major operation to open the tummy and gain access to the abscess (which can be seen attached to his large bowel in the photograph). The abscess was drained completely and samples of the tissue and pus were sent to the lab for testing.

Jake was treated with high levels of antibiotics. He made a quick recovery from the operation and returned home the next day. On arrival back home he did a thorough investigation of his kingdom and finding all to his satisfaction immediately devoured a large dinner.

The tests identified a common bacteria as the cause and confirmed that the process was just infection & that there were no cancer cells present. This was welcome news indeed.

The mystery remains as to how this infection became lodged in this lymph node next to his bowel. Jake's owner then remembered that he had recently been eating a very spiky plant. It is likely that one of these spikes, which cannot be digested, had penetrated his large bowel during passage through his tummy and introduced the infection into the bowel wall. The infection had then become lodged in his lymph node where it proceeded to become well established and build up to cause an abscess.

Jake has since made a full recovery and spiky plants have been fully removed from his menu!



Pet type(s): 
Life stage(s): 

Share this page