Truffle Tree Blog
Worries about Polka
26th January 2008
For some days now my concern about Polly has been growing.

Her health problems began in September 2006 with a lump on her stomach. Our local vet removed it, was amazed at its size and puzzled as to exactly what it was. Fortunately it was not malignant. She recovered well but just weeks later another appeared on her flank and was again removed. Again she recovered, then a third appeared and was removed. When the fourth arrived our local vet decided that a specialist opinion was required and Polly went off to the Vet School in Toulouse. They suggested a scan and an appointment was made for early January 2007. While waiting, Polly's condition started to go downhill very rapidly and both I, and most of her friends, feared the worst. The scan was done and the result was pretty frightening. It seemed that some foreign object, a grass seed, thorn or splinter, had entered her body and then coursed round it spreading infection. The worst-affected area by far was her spine. The inside of four of her seven lumbar vertebrae had been eaten away by the infection and one was near to collapse. A long, strong course of antibiotics was prescribed and her condition improved dramatically. Ten weeks later she was in great shape, almost reverting to puppyhood, playful and energetic. A second scan showed that the problem had been halted but any improvement in the condition of her spine was thought unlikely. She was still though suffering from fistulae, open sores which though not infected wept continuously with a pinky fluid. The Vet School gave her a fistulograph to enable them to see the scale of the problem. On analysing the result they were pretty confident they could put an end to them with surgery. So Polly went in for a week. One Tuesday in early July they tackled her left flank and two days later the right. They removed every bit of tissue that looked even vaguely suspect, their hope being that the foreign object that had caused all her problems would be somewhere there buried in the excised material. For almost a month she was totally free of fistulae and then in early August one returned. Her health and vitality were fine so it just seemed to be something she would have to live with. A second fistula developed on her other flank in late October, then both healed and she was whole for the first time in months. But in December the left one returned to be joined by a second just a couple of centimetres away. About a week ago they began to smell and Polly seemed a little less active although her appetite remained healthy. I have rung the Vet School several times only to be greeted by an answering machine that doesn't take messages. Then this morning a large new fistula appeared on her other flank. Something is not right and we will have to visit Toulouse next week to investigate.