Diane and her son Rhys bring in their 5 year old Maltese Terrier cross Bichon Frise, Bella, who is in great distress – she is unable to stand on her feet and hyperventilating terribly. Head of Neurology at the practice, Clare Rusbridge, believes Bella has a serious brain disease, and only has days to live. But such is Bella’s fragile condition, that the normally safe procedure to diagnose her could be fatal, and there’s no guarantee treatment will cure her. Diane is unsure of which way to turn.

Bella1

Diane and her son Rhys bring in their 5 year old Maltese Terrier cross Bichon Frise, Bella, who is in great distress – she is unable to stand on her feet and has a severe tremor . Head of Neurology at the practice, Clare Rusbridge, believes Bella has a serious brain disease, and only has days to live. But such is Bella’s fragile condition, that the normally safe procedure to diagnose her could be fatal, and there’s no guarantee treatment will cure her. Diane is unsure of which way to turn.

 

Bella was in quite a state when she arrived at Fitzpatrick Referrals and everyone was extremely worried about her.

Bella was very wobbly, withdrawn and desperately unhappy, as were her loving family. Bella met Head of Neurology Clare Rusbridge who confirmed that poor Bella was very painful over her spine.

Her family were desperate to do all they could for her, and despite the risk that Bella may not make it through the necessary procedures necessary to accurately diagnose her, they wanted to give her a chance.

The MRI was performed immediately with special sequences which revealed severe changes consistent with fluid accumulation and inflammation. Clare needed to investigate further and went on to get a cerebrospinal fluid sample from her spinal cord which indeed confirmed that Bella had an inflammatory condition called granulomatous meningo-encephalomyelitis (GME).

Bella stayed in the hospital to receive a chemotherapy drug which treats GME in addition to corticosteroids to suppress her over active immune system.

Thankfully she quickly improved and was discharged on an oral corticosteroid medication and has returned regularly for chemotherapy treatments.  Despite the severity of the issues Bella faced, Bella went on to have a great outcome and we are all delighted that Bella could be reunited to her family the happy dog she was before!

In Clare’s words

Bella is one of the toughest, bravest and most tenacious dogs that I have had the privilege to treat.  GME is a serious brain disease and is fatal if not treated. When I first met Bella I was extremely worried about her condition. Her brain was dangerously swollen and she was in severe pain from the associated meningitis. Bella’s owner, Diane, had already been through an emotional rollercoaster but was determined to try to help Bella and give her a chance. Bella has amazed us all and has proved that the best things come in tiny packages and have huge hearts. She is one in a million!

 

 

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