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Nemo by Bettina – More than a stroke

Published on December 15, 2023.

Story from Nemo by Bettina – More than a stroke

Nemo is an 8 year old male Australian Shepherd all the way from Canada! Since March 2019 he has been loving life in Australia. We go running at least 10 km every weekend, swim at the beach, and play ball for hours. He eats healthy, has no past medical history, and is routinely spoiled with lots of love from his family.
On March 31 2023, all of a sudden, he suffered a stroke. He was very sleepy, weak in the right front and hind limbs, walked into objects at home, circled towards the left, panting and vomited twice. We didn’t know what was wrong at the time and quickly visited Chatswood Veterinary clinic where Dr. JingLu Teh said these symptoms were neurological and highly recommended visiting SASH.
On April 3rd, we were incredibly fortunate to see the superstar Neurologist Dr Stacey Brady and her team at SASH. At the time, we didn’t know what it was: tumour, meningitis or stroke. This was the most terrifying part, being separated and fearing the unknown. But Stacey assembled her team of superheroes to investigate within mere hours several dozens of tests which would take months for humans in a hospital (investigations such as MRI, CT scan, blood analysis, spinal puncture, urinalysis, and endocrine function analysis). The MRI revealed a thalamic infarct and further CT imaging showed an 8 cm mass on the liver. Later that night he came home, drowsy from the general anaesthesia and brain injury. He was started on medication to prevent future clots until surgery. His stroke recovery was truly incredible and he is so resilient. On April 7th, he was chasing and catching the ball mid-air at the dog park. On April 8th, he was running along his favourite beach. The plan was to recover for a week and then undergo surgery to remove the liver mass.
Nemo's MRI scan
Nemo’s MRI Scan
Nemo's CT scan
Nemo’s CT scan
On April 11th, we met with the fantastic surgeon Dr Chris Tan and his team at SASH. Chris immediately sat at ground-level during the entire appointment assessing and petting Nemo which truly speaks to how much he cares. He saw how well Nemo improved and felt he was ready for surgery the next day. On April 12th, we dropped off Nemo for surgery in the morning. Chris called me with several updates before as well as after surgery. I was so thrilled to hear everything went well, I cried tears of joy! Nemo then stayed at SASH ICU overnight. Thank you to the devoted and caring nurses at SASH who took Nemo for tinkles at 2 am, made sure he received his medicines, pet him, and wrapped him up in my old t-shirt to keep him warm at night. It’s obvious this team goes the extra mile when it comes to caring for pets. Nemo then recovered so well that the following evening (April 13th) he was discharged from hospital and we brought him home with pain relief and antibiotic medicines. Thank you to Chris’s team including Dr Sarah Leber and Dr Jeremy Peiser-Oliver. Jeremy in fact even outlined discharge care to our entire family while addressing all our many questions.
Nemo’s surgical incision site healed beautifully over the next few days (April 15th-22nd). On April 26th, Sarah followed up with the fantastic news as pathology confirmed it was a benign hepatocellular adenoma and surgery itself was curative! I was so happy I cried and the family rejoiced! On May 9th, we had a follow-up with Chris’s team, I brought everyone cookies and we celebrated Nemo’s phenomenal recovery.
Progress photos of Nemo's surgical incision site
Nemo’s tummy healing

Thank you as well to those I didn’t meet personally but I know worked hard in the background such as the Critical Care team for reviewing Nemo’s care, leaving no stone unturned like triple checking his bloods were clotting appropriately and collaborating as an outstanding team.

Thank you to the receptionists who comforted me and handled all insurance claims directly with RSPCA. Thankfully Nemo is insured with RSPCA Insurance as none of this could have been possible without (and I only had to pay the gap approx. $3k). I was very distraught and not having to worry about finances was an incredible relief.

On May 20th, we went for our first jog! We’ve progressively gotten our stride back and last weekend we even reached 8 km jogging with ease. Honestly if you met Nemo today, you would not be able tell all this had happened whatsoever. We are truly so incredibly fortunate.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, none of this would have been possible without the exceptionally paw-some team members at SASH! I cannot recommend them more highly to absolutely everyone I meet.
Nemo sends everyone licks and kisses!
Nemo and Bettina
Nemo and Bettina
Nemo swimming
Nemo swimming
Nemo enjoying the beach
Nemo enjoying the beach
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