Bristol vet saves Norwegian dog's life after 2,400-mile round trip
Published 24/08/2015 | 12:58
A golden retriever is set to make a full recovery after being driven on a 2,400-mile round trip through eight countries to undergo a lifesaving operation in the UK.
Pelle, from Oslo, Norway, was diagnosed with an intrahepatic portosystemic liver shunt when he was three months old.
His owners, Cathrine Sorlie and Nils Christian Nordahl, were told that no veterinary surgeons in Norway could perform the surgery required to save his life.
Their vet advised that the only option was to medically manage the condition before eventually putting Pelle to sleep.
The couple tracked down vet Kieran Borgeat, of Highcroft Veterinary Referrals in Bristol, who confirmed he was able to conduct the £3,500 procedure.
They left their home in Oslo and travelled through Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France before arriving in the UK three days later.
Mr Borgeat performed the three-hour operation the following day and Pelle was back on the road home following a three-day stay at the surgery.
He is now making a full recovery in Oslo to the relief of Ms Sorlie and Mr Nordhal, who believed his diagnosis was a death sentence.
"We were distraught by the news," Ms Sorlie said.
"Pelle is part of our family and we weren't willing to give up on him just yet. I shared the situation with a childhood friend in England and they immediately started researching on our behalf.
"They called loads of different veterinary surgeries but the answers they got still weren't good.
"They then called Highcroft Veterinary Referrals and spoke to Kieran Borgeat, who was by far the best option for us. I contacted Kieran myself and set a surgery date for Pelle.
"We were so relieved and happy that we finally had a solution."
The couple left their home in Oslo on July 17 and spent 22 hours - with three overnight stays - travelling the 1,200 miles to Bristol, where they arrived on July 20.
Pelle was admitted to the clinic on July 20 and the operation was performed the following day, on July 21.
The surgery required specialist catheters and tubes to get through the small blood vessels in Pelle's liver.
Fluroscopy - moving live x-rays - was also used to see the position of the catheters being threaded through.
Mr Borgeat said: "Liver shunts are often a result of a birth defect.
"Pelle had an intrahepatic portosystemic shunt which is where a blood vessel within the liver diverts the blood flow incorrectly.
"The surgery to correct it is a very complicated one but still minimally invasive.
"There aren't many veterinary practices even in the UK that perform the procedure due to the intricate equipment required.
"Thankfully, Pelle's surgery went smoothly and the end result was a success."
Pelle was discharged on July 24 and his owners began their journey home using the previous route backwards.
Ms Sorlie added: " Had we not found Kieran and Highcroft, Pelle would not have survived. Now we look forward to many happy and healthy years with our lovely, happy dog."