Little Mary makes good progress

WHILE the melting snow may mean that our buildings are looking a bit less pretty, and Morpeth, among other places, is once again on high alert for flooding, our brilliant maintenance team (otherwise known as Chris Bray and David Halliwell) are once again able to have a more leisurely start to the day rather than being out at the crack of dawn clearing our car park!

I hope that the thaw also means that we’ve seen the end of ice and snow-induced injuries for this winter.

Before I go any further, I thought that an update on Mary’s progress was in order. If you read this column two weeks ago, you’ll remember that she was the young Staffie with a broken leg who was rescued by an extremely kind-hearted client from our Blyth branch.

Well, so far the news is very good! She’s just had her two-week post-op check, and things look to be going very much in the right direction. She’s starting to bear weight already on her leg, and we’ve now been able to remove the big dressing that’s been helping to keep her movement restricted for the past fortnight.

I’m really keen to get her into hydrotherapy up at Whorral Bank in the next week or so. This will enable her to exercise the muscles in her damaged leg without putting too much force on bones that won’t have fully healed yet. I’m still very hopeful that we’ll have her fully back on her feet by eight weeks post-op.

The best news though is that she’s settling in incredibly well with her new family, and that a very difficult start in life doesn’t seem to have prevented her from being a wonderfully exuberant and happy little dog.

Mary’s case seems to have been the start of a slight rush of orthopaedic cases in the past couple of weeks. Our theatres have been kept quite busy by dogs tearing their cruciate ligaments – icy paths and deep snow being the current culprits.

Cruciate ligament damage is surprisingly common in dogs.

While it is often an athletic injury caused by a twisting of the stifle (knee) joint, we do tend to see more cruciate injuries in overweight dogs and these can present more of a challenge to treat. The majority of dogs will require surgical repair, and rehabilitation can take many weeks even with the help of physio and hydrotherapy.

The past week’s most challenging surgical case though has been a little Patterdale terrier who got into a fight with a large German Shepherd cross.

Unfortunately a bite to his right hind leg resulted in his tibia being broken in two places. The huge amount of soft tissue damage meant the best solution was to mend the bone with an external fixator – essentially an external scaffolding with metal pins going into the bone to hold all the pieces in the right place.

I think he should heal very well, though one of the major downsides with all the metalwork on the outside of his leg is that his owner’s furniture may not fare quite so well…

In other news, the spectrum of our work at Whorral Bank continues to grow with the introduction of an ophthalmology referral service run from the practice by Chris Dixon and Garry Lewin of Veterinary Vision. They will be here every Friday, seeing cases referred by vets from all over the region.

Garry and Chris are two of the most experienced and respected eye specialists in the north of England so we’re extremely pleased that they’ve chosen Robson & Prescott as their base in Northumberland.

CHRIS GREEN, Director and Senior Vet