Bionic puppy walks again

  • A lame puppy suffering from a deformed front leg is well on the way to recovery thanks to the efforts of an Oxfordshire vet and the RSPCA

    Dora, a five-month-old German Shepherd/Collie was first brought into the surgery of Oxford vet Andrew Bartholomew in September.

    A veterinary examination revealed that Dora was suffering from a growth plate deformity and would need either a complex operation costing £2,500, or to have the front leg amputated.

    Andrew was so touched by Dora’s plight that he contacted colleagues at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge, who agreed to perform the procedure for just £800.

    Her owner could not afford to pay for specialist treatment and agreed to sign Dora over to the care ofthe RSPCA, but happily within just a few days Dora found herself a new home.

    The operation was performed at the end of October and was paid for by donations from the RSPCA’s Oxfordshire branch, Andrew himself, and a number of medical suppliers, including Intervet, Genus Express, Meriel and Pfizer.

    Complex operation

    The two bones in Dora’s front leg (ulna and radius), were cut and then set using steel pins which were held in place by an external fixator. The fixator was then tightened every day to extend the length of the leg. The fixator will remain in place for around another four weeks after which it will be removed enabling Dora to walk and run normally.

    Andrew said: “I felt sorry for Dora from the moment I saw her and I felt that I had to do something to help her. The alternative – to amputate the leg of a small puppy was appalling. It is great to know that she will make a full recovery from a condition which could have debilitated her for life.”

    Doug Davidson, chief inspector for the RSPCA in Oxon, said: “Dora is a real success story. Not only will she be a normal, healthy dog but her experience is evidence of the way in which the RSPCA, vets and other organisations can work together for the good of animals.”

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