Raffles the 11-year-old Labrador is nothing short of a wonder dog.
Just over four weeks ago he was at death’s door when his owner Robyn Robinson of Pambula took him to veterinarian Justin Daniel.
The dog had vomited several times and was unusually quiet.
Robyn was worried because Raffles has a history of eating things he shouldn’t.
“He’s eaten steel wool, fish hooks, underpants and a tennis ball before," Robyn said.
"A piece of the tennis ball actually perforated his intestine once so he had already had one intestinal operation."
Vet Justin Daniel said the dog was very sick.
“Raffles had racing heart and respiratory rates, a high temperature and a tense bloated abdomen,” he said.
“X-rays revealed a 10cm abnormal density in his abdomen.”
Nobody thought he was going to survive.
Robyn was distraught when she received the news.
Raffles has been her buddy since her former work mates rigged a local raffle, ensuring Robyn ‘won’ the prize - the Labrador pup.
“When Justin found out what it was, he didn’t think recovery was going to be possible,” she said.
“Surgery was the only hope.”
Emergency surgery was performed by Dr Justin Daniel and Dr Lisa Paterson, supported by veterinary nurse Rhie Stevens.
Justin describes what he found when he opened up the dog as an “absolute disaster.”
“Raffles had a bowel cancer originating from his appendix that had scarred onto several loops of bowel around it," he said.
“The cancer had eaten through the wall of the appendix, and faeces were leaking into his abdominal cavity.
“When faeces leak into the abdomen the bacteria and toxins are absorbed back into the blood causing blood poisoning.
“This was why Raffles was so sick.”
The vets worked to dissect the cancer away from the bowel and remove the appendix.
Raffles’ abdomen was flushed with sterile fluids to remove the spilled faeces.
Defying the odds, Raffles spent just three days in hospital recovering from the surgery and blood poisoning, and four weeks later, he’s a bouncy, canine picture of good health.
Robyn thinks Raffles’ stellar recovery was due in part to the dog’s fitness.
“I’ve worked hard to keep him at a healthy weight – you know what Labradors are like," she said.
“He used to run with me when I was on my push bike when he was a pup. Now we walk every day. I’ve tried to keep him fit. It keeps me fit too doesn’t it?”
Dr Daniel says Robyn’s quick action in bringing Raffles to the clinic when she observed his vomiting, probably saved his life.
“Blood poisoning from an intestinal rupture is such a serious condition to get over," he said.
“Raffles is a classic example of why owners should trust their instincts if their pet doesn’t seem quite right, and seek prompt medical attention to have them checked out.”