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Three was a crowd!

By Helen Burns | Dated July 18, 2019

They say bad things come in threes, and no doubt Monty, Yuki and Isabella would agree.

On the same Thursday a few weeks ago, all three well-loved fur babies required an exploratory laparotomy – this is a surgery where the abdomen is opened and investigated for certain diseases – especially vomiting.

First up that morning was Monty, the gorgeous 10 year old Maine Coon cat. We initially suspected pancreatitis was the cause of his vomiting, however once we sedated him for abdominal radiographs, he vomited profusely, and we quickly realized that we had to have a look inside. Vomiting while sedated or anaesthetised is a large risk factor for a very serious form of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia, caused by vomited material travelling down to the lungs. This is the main reason that patients having elective surgery are fasted before their anaesthetic. Fortunately, all went extremely well for Monty. He had several foreign bodies, including one in his small intestine which was causing the blockage, and which was removed via a small incision. The other two foreign bodies had reached his large intestine, and we were able to push them along without having to incise the intestine again. Two days later, after lots of medication and TLC, Monty was discharged on a special diet to try to manage inflammatory bowel disease which was likely the underlying cause of his problem.

While we were finishing Monty’s surgery, in came little Yuki, a tiny and very sweet 1 year old white cat. She too had been vomiting, and both on abdominal palpation and x-rays we were able to identify a foreign body sitting in her intestines. During surgery we removed quite a large piece of a rubber mat from her duodenum, which had unfortunately done some damage to it. The damaged intestine had a little ‘band aid’ stitched over the damaged part to hopefully protect it while it healed. Whilst we were worried about how well her damaged intestine would recover, little Yuki gave us no cause for concern and was rolling around wanting a cuddle shortly after waking from her anaesthetic.


Feeling like Groundhog Day, while we were finishing the stitching with Yuki, Isabella the lovely 2 year old West Highland White terrier came out of her ultrasound, with yet another intestinal foreign body showing up. Fortunately she gave us no cause for concern, and in a fairly routine ex lap, the material was removed, her intestines stitched up and she spent the next couple of days recovering in hospital on a drip.


Whilst we are so pleased that that this terrific trio all had lovely recoveries, and that we were able to fix them all, we do hope not to have to do 3 exploratory laparotomies in the one afternoon again!

Written by Helen Burns

Helen graduated from Sydney Uni in 1997 with First Class Honours and worked in a practice on the Northern Beaches for 16 years. Helen joined the Gordon Vet team early in 2014 and our clients have really enjoyed getting to know her. She loves being a vet and takes a keen interest in all of her patients. Her gentle, friendly nature helps pets to feel relaxed when they visit the vet. Helen lives locally and has 3 children. At least one of her children seems destined to be a vet! When not ferrying her children around, Helen cares for her menagerie of pets. These include Chloe the dog, Obi and Leia the cats, Little Cocky the galah and Rosie the very tame eclectus parrot who all happily coexist at her house. In her spare time, Helen likes to be active outdoors, running, kayaking, camping or playing any manner of sport with her children.


  • Avatar Elizabeth Frizell | Thursday August 1st, 2019 | Reply

    What a great job you guys do there! 3 successful laparotomies in one afternoon and no doubt 3 very very relieved families. Having ourselves called on Scott in a similarly life threatening situation for our (now thriving!) cavoodle three years ago, we know first hand how brilliant Gordon Vet Surgery’s surgical team is. Love hearing about all that you guys do up there.

  • Avatar admin | Thursday August 8th, 2019 | Reply

    Hi Elizabeth, Thank you so much for your kind comments! So pleased that your duo are happy and healthy!
    Thanks again,
    Everyone at Gordon Vet

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Lihong Xing
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Good competant vet. Did what I needed. Staff friendly. Cat's well.
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We found a stray, agitated dog in front of our house last night. We phoned but got no help from the Council ranger who gave two options: tie him up in front yard overnight or "let him loose, he'll find his own way home" :( So we phoned Gordon Vet: they stayed open a few minutes so we could run him up and he could have a bed and dinner. Thank you Gordon Vet Hospital, hope he gets home soon!!! :)
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