Surgeons perform painstaking kidney removal after owner's Vets Now mercy dash

A Golden Retriever collapsed in terrible pain after his morning walk, leaving his distraught owners in fear that he would die in their arms.

But, in a remarkable story of animal triumph over adversity, the traumatic episode actually ended up saving Jasper’s life.

Because when he was rushed to our pet emergency hospital in Manchester, it turned out he’d been suffering from a rare and life-threatening kidney disorder.

If Jasper hadn’t collapsed then the renal problem – which meant his left kidney had effectively stopped functioning – would never have been noticed.

Image of Jasper and Toby for Vets Now article on dog kidney removal
Jasper's collapse led to the discovery of a life-threatening kidney problem

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Jasper’s owner Nicola Barbour said: “Poor Jasper was in a terrible state. He had uncontrollable retching and diarrhoea. Then he collapsed.

“It was awful to see. When you have a pet in pain like that it’s just heartbreaking.

“But everything happens for a reason – and, while it didn’t feel like it at the time, Jasper collapsing turned out to be a good thing because it meant the congenital kidney problem came to light.”

After eight-year-old Jasper was rushed into the crash area of the Vets Now hospital, where James McMurrough, advanced practitioner in small animal internal medicine and cardiology, provided emergency care and diagnosed he was suffering from a rupture in the urinary tract.

This was causing urine to leak into the abdominal cavity, creating a dangerous condition called uroabdomen. Once Jasper was stabilised, diagnostic imaging tests were performed, which confirmed urine leaking.

This meant gentle giant Jasper – who weighs 44kg – was unable to completely excrete waste, which, in turn, had led to a dangerous build-up of toxic substances in his body. Only urgent surgery would keep him alive.

Following stabilisation, Paul Aldridge, advanced practitioner in small animal surgery, performed the emergency operation to remove the abnormal kidney.

Paul said: “The anaesthetic was challenging as Jasper had severe electrolyte abnormalities and was unstable throughout while controlling the pain also proved difficult.

“Following surgery, he was transferred back to the emergency team for post-op care.”

Image of Jasper the dog and friends for Vets Now Manchester article
Jasper (right) enjoying a walk with owner Stuart, chocolate Labrador Toby and Staffie Lloyd

After an anxious 48 hours in intensive care, Jasper was well enough to go home with Nicola and husband Stuart who live in Rossendale near Blackburn.

Within days, he was back to his normal boisterous self, rushing up and down the garden to bark at the German Shepherd who lives on the other side of Nicola and Stuart’s back fence.

Paul added: “Jasper’s case was a great example of the Vets Now team in Manchester working together between disciplines to save a life. Everyone in the hospital is delighted to hear he’s back to his old self.”

Nicola, 32, who works as a dog groomer, heaped praise on the hospital staff, before adding: “We honestly thought we were going to lose Jasper – and it was really touch and go after the operation.

“But to look at him now, you’d think nothing had happened. It’s a miracle really.”

The Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Manchester – where Jasper received treatment – is regarded as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the UK. It’s one of three Vets Now hospitals across the UK that are open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.