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A lovable larrikin: Wigram Vets

Max is a lovable and excitable chocolate Labrador. Young and unruly, Max had no respect for vehicles and enthusiastically ran amok on the farm until one day he got a little too close and disaster struck as he went under the front wheel of the farm ute.



Max was initially treated by his local vet in Hokitika but he proved to be a tricky case. Max had some nasty scrapes and bruises, but his main problem was a dislocated hip. Despite attempts to replace it using a closed reduction technique, the hip kept popping out. A closed reduction technique involves manually replacing the hip while the animal is under sedation and massaging it into place. At this point, because of the ongoing luxation, the clinic chose to refer Max to Wigram Vets.

With surgical exposure it became apparent why the hip was so unstable. The joint capsule was completely shredded and acetabular ligament ruptured. The ball and socket joint were a mess. Max underwent a surgical reconstruction of the joint capsule and a replacement of the acetabular ligament with a synthetic ligature and anchoring toggle.


Max bounced back from the surgery quickly, weight-bearing the very next day, and was looking forward to getting back to his regular routine, but his other injuries held him back. Max had sustained a few scrapes in the accident. The largest one on his opposite leg began to break down. He had a minor surgery to investigate and clean the wound and a few small pieces of gravel were found deeply embedded in it, despite the rigorous flushing this wound had previously received at the initial incident.

As his wounds began to heal, Max went from strength to strength. He quickly became the clinic favourite, carrying his bone in his mouth with a big goofy grin. When the time came for his departure, he had a large farewell with lots of hugs and kisses.

Now he is back to his old self, still quite the larrikin but you really wouldn’t want him any other way.

Find Wigram Vet & The Good Dog Spa at 155 Corsair Drive, Wigram, phone 03 929 0987. For more information, email or visit



A too-curious kitty: Ourvets

When it comes to kittens, cute and adorable as they are, it’s good to keep in mind that old adage about curiosity killing the cat. Just like human babies, kittens are curious about the world around them and as they grow and gain in strength, it’s all too easy for them to get into trouble with eating things that, though satisfying their curiosity, might prove very harmful in the long run.



Such was the case with Shadow, a 12-week-old kitten who presented at Ourvets Parklands one morning having vomited up a pom-pom tassel the night before. She had since vomited several times and seemed lethargic, though she was still keen to eat.

An x-ray was taken, which showed that Shadow had something obstructing her gut. The situation necessitated surgery as soon as possible. Shadow’s stomach was opened and two hair-ties were removed, however there was another pom-pom tassel attached to them, extending down into her intestine. The intestines were trying so hard to pass the tassel that they had telescoped in on themselves. This piece of gut had to be removed, along with the tassel.

All up, this surgery took three hours, then she went into recovery. If the surgery had been delayed by even one day, Shadow could have died, but her mum was very diligent and brought her in at the first sign of trouble.

Veterinarian Alice Finch, who performed the operation, says that it pays to keep a vigilant eye on young animals. If they do present with sudden vomiting, even if they’re still keen to eat, the owner should get them checked out as soon as possible as it might be a very serious problem which could quickly escalate into a potentially life-threatening situation.

One month on and Alice says Shadow has made an excellent recovery. “It’s as if nothing happened; she was bright and playful, and was even attacking my knuckles!”

Find Ourvets Parklands at 438 Mairehau Road and phone 03 383 2233. For more information on Ourvets, visit or find them on Facebook: Ourvets@ourvets.christchurch.



Daredevil in disguise: Wigram Vet

Scout is a typically energetic four-month-old Jack Russell Terrier who loves being involved with everything that is going on. One morning recently, Scout was a little too close to the action when a wooden pallet fell on her. When the team at Wigram Vet examined Scout, it was not immediately obvious what injury had occurred, but she was lame on her left hind leg.



After sedation and x-rays, a distal femoral epiphyseal fracture with approximately 35 degrees of displacement was identified for poor Scout. This injury is essentially a fracture at the growing zone (epiphysis) of the femur, at the end of her femur close to the knee, Veterinarian Geoff Mehrtens says. “Although outwardly the limb looks relatively normal, such a fracture would have serious effects on her limb as she grows if it was allowed to heal in the abnormal position.”

Geoff says surgery was the best option and Scout’s physically active family wanted the best possible outcome for her; she is after all, an important member of the family ski team. “It is a tricky surgery where we essentially must balance the distal knob of bone that forms the knee back on to the shaft of the femur with two semi-parallel metal pins. The post-operative phase is particularly important with these injuries. We must balance the need for confinement because the fracture repair has substantial stresses, with the need for maintaining function, movement and muscle strength. Due to the fracture being so close to the stifle joint, discomfort and lack of use can lead to muscle wasting and decreased mobility of the joint.”

Wigram Vets started Scout on a programme of physical therapy soon after surgery, managed by their canine rehab guru Kate Donald. This involved massage, range-of-motion exercises and some sessions in the hydrotherapy treadmill. The implanted pins were removed at an early stage to enhance the recovery of the joint.

“Scout is a model patient and has made an amazing recovery from a potentially crippling injury, because of the holistic integrated repair strategy she has received,” Geoff says. “However, she has not modified her daredevil behaviour and will, I am sure, continue to support Wigram Vet in the future!”