Tail Wag Sparks Joy for Owners of Paralysed Dog

09 May 2023 / Update

A much-loved dog who became paralysed has beaten the odds and is walking and running again thanks to Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS).

Four-year-old Fletcher, a Cavapoochon, was completely unable to move his back legs when he was referred to our team.

The chances of him ever being able to walk again were 50/50, however, the first sign he was going to make a dramatic recovery came with a little tail wag he gave to his owner Janet Jones when he saw her for the first time after his surgery.

Janet, who lives in Liverpool, had initially realised something was very wrong with Fletcher when she went to get some cheese out of the fridge but Fletcher didn’t move.

Janet said: “Overnight, Fletcher lost the use of both back legs and our own vet indicated a spinal problem.

“We were devastated as Fletcher is our first family pet and we are all besotted with him as he’s such a lovely, sweet boy.”

Specialists at NWVS diagnosed that Fletcher had suffered a spinal injury, causing him to completely lose sensation and movement in both of his back limbs, with emergency surgery required.

Janet said: “Fletcher took a few days to show any signs of improvement after the surgery and we had resigned ourselves to losing him. Quality of life for Fletcher wasn’t looking good and we cried a lot.

“However, Fletcher then started to regain some feeling, which gave us hope. His quality of life is now far better than we had hoped and is still improving. He is walking and running again and the difficulty now is actually holding him back!

“He clearly thinks he is fully recovered and while there is still room for continued improvement, we are delighted with where he is compared to where we thought he might be.”

The multidisciplinary approach by NVWS, including surgery, neurology, physiotherapy and dedicated in-patient care teams, has been crucial to Fletcher’s recovery.

He was operated on by resident in small animal surgery Dylan Payne, alongside European specialist in veterinary neurology Neringa Alisauskaite. His physiotherapy has been led by Lauren Bate.

Lauren said: “The fact Fletcher lost complete sensation in both his back limbs made his prognosis guarded, as only around 50 per cent of dogs at this stage will improve after surgery.

“He received daily physio treatment while here as an inpatient and was sent home with a bespoke care plan for his owners.

“He still has a way to go with his recovery, but he has done really well so far with the help of his dedicated owners. We are hopeful Fletcher will keep getting stronger.”