Brain Surgeon Saves Canine
One of South Africa's leading Neurosurgeons took on an unusual challenge
last Saturday when he operated on Pablo, a St. Bernard dying from excess
fluid on his brain. Had he not done so, two year old Pablo, who was suffering
from hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, would have become so crippled
that he would have had to put down.
The operation takes upto an hour on humans. But for 85 kg Pablo, the
delicate operation took four hours.
Pablo's owner is Avril Jorge of Ormande, Johannesburg, A nursing sister
in the neurosurgical intensive care unit at a Johannesburg Hospital.
Jorge says she feels proud of her brave dog, who is "almost himself
Eight months ago she noticed that her prize-winning dog had become
clumsy and that his feet were shaky. "It got progressively worse, but the
vet said he had no idea what it was. In July I was advised by Horst
Kranz to take him to a veterinary specialist surgeon in Randburg."
After a series of misdiagnoses, the vet then decided to send
Pablo for a magnetic resonance imaging scan at Sunning Clinic. After
discovering the hydrocephalus, the outlook was bleak as the vet informed
Jorge that " no
one could help as not even Onderstepoort Veterinarian Research Center
had done any neuro-surgery on dogs".
Jorge then asked a neurosurgeon she had worked with if he could do
"The neurosurgeon agreed immediately, and said he would not charge
me a cent. Costa and I attended the operation last Saturday in the
vet's rooms. There was another vet assisting, and I helped wherever
I could. "The operation was great success, and when it was finished, the
neurosurgeon looked at the sleeping Pablo with his bald head and said:
' When he wakes up he's going to say it must have been a hell of
a bachelor party. But what happened to my hair?' " Said Jorge:
" Although I will have to cover some of
the costs of the operation, I am grateful to the surgeons for giving
their professional services free." The veterinary specialists surgeon,
who may not be named for professional reasons, said the operation had been
done once before " purely as an experiment at Medunsa, but this is the
first time in South Africa it has been done in private practice on a dog".
He said this kind of operation could cost about R5 000.
SUNDAY TIMES METROSeptember 14
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