University of Calgary

UCVM works with community to the benefit of all

UToday HomeJanuary 11, 2013

First procedure of its kind in Calgary sees permanent stent placed in a cat. X-ray courtesy of UCVMFirst procedure of its kind in Calgary sees permanent stent placed in a cat. X-ray courtesy of UCVMThanks to cooperation and a new veterinary procedure, Venom, a five year-old black cat is enjoying a comfortable and healthy New Year.

The happy ending began a few weeks ago, when Serge Chalhoub, a small animal internal medicine specialist and instructor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, was called to discuss Venom’s medical condition.

The cat had been brought to the CARE Centre with a urethral obstruction, a common problem with felines. Veterinarians at the clinic used a catheter to relieve the obstruction in the urethra, and the patient was stabilized.

But the cat didn’t recover as expected because it turned out he also had a stone blocking the right ureter — the tube that goes from the kidney to the bladder.

“Normally with a cat like this, they would try to go to surgery and open up the ureter and try to remove the stone,” says Chalhoub. “But it’s a microsurgery. Ureters are usually just millimeters wide and there is a high risk of scar tissue formation which in itself would create another obstruction.”

Sara Wick, an emergency clinician at the CARE Centre — part of the faculty’s Distributed Veterinary Learning Community (DVLC) which sees students spend their fourth year in rotations in clinics and has clinic veterinarians teach at the faculty — called Chalhoub to discuss potential treatment options.

“We talked about it and decided to try something that hasn’t been done in Calgary, but is something I am trained for, which is placing a ureteral stent.”

The cat was transferred to another DVLC hospital, Western Veterinary Specialist and Emergency Centre, where Chalhoub and veterinary surgeon, Terri Schiller performed the surgery with the help of c-arm fluoroscopy, a type of live x-ray.

“We placed the stent, an artificial tube, from the bladder to the kidney. It’s a new pipe in the ureter so the ureter can’t close down or become scarred and block the kidney.”

Venom is recovering nicely and will live with the stent for the rest of his life.

It was a great example of how the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine works with the community to the benefit of all, says Chalhoub.

“It highlights the strengths of having a DVLC where everyone is cooperating and our faculty with advanced training or different experiences can help them do what they need and figure out what’s best for the cat.”