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Blind kitten's sight restored through liver operation
Purdy recovered well and after two months she was off her medication and all of her clinical signs had resolved.

Veterinary team successful treats a portosystemic shunt

A blind kitten has had it's sight restored after an intricate operation was carried out on it's liver at an animal hospital in Yorkshire.

The kitten, called Purdy, was diagnosed with a congenital portosystemic shunt after blood tests and a CT scan at Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Mickey Tivers, an RCVS specialist in small animal surgery and head of surgery at Paragon, said:“[A congenital portosystemic shunt] is a defect which causes the blood to bypass the liver making it unable to absorb essential nutrients or remove dangerous toxins.

“This causes a number of problems. Affected animals are often small, and underdeveloped and suffering from problems in the nervous system because of the toxins.

In severely affected cases this defect can cause tremors, seizures and, as in Purdy’s case, blindness.

In an effort to reduce the toxins in her system, Purdy was given lactulose and antibiotics and put on a special diet. However, surgery was required to stop the blood from bypassing the liver.

“First we injected dye into a blood vessel in Purdy’s intestine,” explains Dr Tivers, “and tracked its flow using fluoroscopy in a bid to properly identify the shunting vessel and assess the development of her liver.

“It confirmed the presence of a portosystemic shunt, as expected, but also revealed that Purdy’s liver was not very well developed, meaning she could not have the shunt fully closed straight away.

“We placed an ameroid constrictor around the shunt, a special device that slowly closes the shunt over a period of weeks, allowing the liver to gradually grow and develop so it can cope with the blood flow.”

Purdy recovered well and after two months she was off her medication and all of her clinical signs had resolved. Follow-up blood tests showed that her liver was working normally, with normal bile acids, suggesting that the surgery has been successful.

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Born Free video highlights how humans are to blame for COVID-19

News Story 1
 Wildlife charity Born Free has released a video emphasising the importance of changing the ways in which humans treat wildlife in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future.

The video, narrated by founder patron Joanna Lumley OBE, says: "To deal with the very immediate threat of another global catastrophe, we have to focus on ending the destruction and conversion of natural habitats and the devastating impact of the wildlife trade.

"The vast majority of these viruses originated in wild animals before infecting us. Destroying and exploiting nature puts us in closer contact with wildlife than ever before."

Born Free has compiled an online resource with information on how to take action and improve protections for wildlife here.

To view the video, please click here.

Images (c) Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 

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RVC opens 2021 Summer Schools applications

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has opened applications for its 2021 Summer Schools, with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 invited to apply.

Taking place between July and August 2021, the event gives budding vets from all backgrounds first-hand insight into what it's like to study at the Campus.

Much of this year's content is likely to be delivered virtually, including online lectures and practical demonstrations, but the RVC hopes to welcome each of the participants to campus for at least one day to gain some hands-on experience.

For more information about the Schools and to apply, visit: Applications close on the 2 March 2021.