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Bella's Facial Reconstruction

Louise Stokes, Senior Referral Surgery Nurse at Pride Veterinary Centre talks about her role in the care of Bella who underwent life-saving facial reconstruction surgery after being involved in an accident with a motorbike.

The Vet Nurse's Role

"I work alongside the referral surgeons and my role is to ensure the patient’s journey through the hospital is as smooth as possible. There are 40/50 veterinary nurses at Pride Veterinary Centre, working across all departments from imaging to theatre and ICU.

For Bella’s case I was responsible for overseeing her care, which included taking her to get her CT scans done by our imaging department, liaising with her owner and the surgeons and organising reassessments throughout the whole process. I was present at all the follow up appointments including her post-op CT scan and removal of the dental resin and stitches.

I’ve worked with the referral team for many years and have seen some amazing cases, but Bella’s case was a first for me as I’d never seen such a severe head injury or this type of surgery for a trauma case before. The other nurses and I were all prepared for a period of quite intensive nursing following the operation, expecting extensive pain relief, assisted feeding and possibly airway management too, given the trauma to her face and the associated swelling.

A Speedy Recovery

When I started my rounds the morning after Bella’s operation, I didn’t know what to expect when I reached her. But, she was amazing. She wanted to play, wanted us to scratch her head (which we were obviously surprised at!), rubbed against us and was so bright and happy – she even ate with a bit of encouragement that day too!

For me, seeing Bella’s initial CT scans to seeing her post-op is the best part of nursing, as no one expected her to recover as quickly as she did. Throughout her time at Pride Veterinary Centre she was brilliant – she didn’t let the surgery or aftercare phase her at all; she was always very open towards us and allowed us to gently clean her face and apply cold packs, wipe her eyes and take her outside for fresh air whenever needed.

The Perfect Patient

She really was the perfect patient, and it’s great to see what an incredible and fast recovery she has made. Now, you’d never know she was ever in the accident, which is a huge credit to both her and the team here at Pride Veterinary Centre."