Turkey the dog rushed to Cambridge Vets needing urgent treatment for Addison’s disease


Quick-thinking staff at Village Vet in Cambridgeshire needed all their problem solving and communication skills to avert a life-threatening situation for a seriously ill dog.  

Eleven-year-old Shiba Inu, called Turkey, needed urgent treatment for Addison’s disease, a potentially life-threatening disorder of the adrenal glands.village vet in cambridge - dog needed urgent treatment for Addison’s disease

However, the team at Village Vet in Cambridge ran into a couple of potential hurdles in their attempts to both liaise with his owners and get Turkey transported for treatment.  

Village Vet surgeon Justin Lee explained: “The first challenge was the owner was working in central London, meaning she couldn’t get Turkey to our Milton pet hospital for at least six hours.  

“The danger with that was Addison’s is a potentially life-threatening disease and Turkey’s condition could rapidly deteriorate at any moment.  

“The next challenge was that Turkey was being looked after by the owner’s parents that day, but unfortunately, they did not speak any English.  

“The owner was therefore understandably hesitant to ask her parents to take Turkey to Milton in her absence due to the language barrier.  

“Thankfully the team’s quick thinking paid off and they immediately contacted me as I can speak Cantonese, the same language as the owner’s family.”  

Justin, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, continued: “I was able to tell the owner to convey the potential seriousness of Turkey’s condition and the urgency for the owner’s parents to bring him to our Village Vet hospital in Milton as soon as possible.  

“I also told the owner I would be at the hospital to communicate face to face with her parents.  

“When they arrived, I spoke to the owner’s parents, with the owner on speaker over the telephone line, and obtained a verbal consent for treatment.  

 “However, the written consent form was in English, so the owner’s parents were unable to sign.  

“To resolve this, I suggested the owner’s parents send pictures of the consent form via WhatsApp for the owner’s approval.  

“It worked perfectly and Turkey was soon triaged, hospitalised and started on intravenous fluid therapy.  

“Further blood testing confirmed our suspicion of hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease) and Turkey was started on a treatment of steroids to control it.  

“He was discharged home two days later and a week later had a recheck at our Longstanton practice and the owner was pleased that Turkey was now back to his normal self!  

“We thank Turkey’s owners for trusting us with his care despite the difficulties and we’re delighted he’s responded so well to treatment.”