As we went into lockdown, one of the very few patients I saw in person
was a miniature Dachsund.
At nine years old, she had already had her fair share of surgical
problems, including a slipped disc, but she continued to be a cheerful
little soul, offering kisses and cuddles as I snuggled her.
But this time she had a very unusual problem.
Although she looked quite normal trotting into the Clinic, her owners
described extensive periods of straining that were getting longer and
harder, and yet she was only producing small volumes of bloody
diarrhoea. As she was also vomiting a bit, I treated her for an upset
stomach, fully expecting a quick resolution.
But she failed to respond to treatment.
We tried a variety of medications to no avail. It seemed as if she might
burst something inside if she went on as she was.
So, despite all the coronavirus related restrictions, we decided that, in
order to save her, we had to find out what was going on. We arranged
for her to have a colonoscopy, which unfortunately revealed a large
growth inside. This was physically preventing anything solid from
passing. Our hearts were broken – was this cancer? We took samples
and had to wait to find out.
A few days later the results came through. Luckily, the pathologist
established that the growth was inflammatory, a rare condition called a
rectal polypoid lesion often encountered in Miniature Dachsunds with
I had never come across this before. In fact, there is only one paper
published about it in the veterinary press. But that paper was a lifeline for
We still were not sure of the best way to manage this, nor whether she
was facing another major surgical procedure to save her life. She
certainly could not go on as she was.
So she went to see a specialist surgeon. Luckily, they felt it was worth
trying to shrink the lesion with high doses of steroids, rather than cut it
She responded almost at once. Her toileting has returned to normal. She
is experiencing some side effects from the steroids, but these should
resolve as we gradually reduce the dose. Her future is looking rosy once