Cave Saves Fallen Star

A Springer Spaniel left paralysed after fracturing her spine chasing a partridge has a spring in her step once again, thanks to a specialist vet centre in the West Country.

Seven-year-old Star was paralysed in both her hind legs when she was referred for expert care at Cave Veterinary Specialists, in West Buckland, Somerset.

She underwent MRI and CT scans which revealed extensive damage to her spine but Cave’s neurologist, Alex Hamilton, was hopeful surgery would rectify the problem.

Alex and fellow neurologist, Simon Bertram, used a combination of pins and bone cement to stabilise the fracture.

Alex said: “The scans highlighted extensive damage but the positive news was that Star still had a deep pain sensation in both pelvic limbs, indicating that recovery may be possible.

“That was encouraging as dogs and cats who still display feeling in their back legs after spinal trauma often respond well to appropriate surgical management.

“We operated and inserted a total of four 2.4mm pins into the damaged vertebrae and the outcome was very good.

“Star recovered well from the surgery in our hospital and was discharged four days later.

Springer spaniel Star with Cave Veterinary Specialists clinicians Alex Hamilton (left) and Simon Bertram (right), with relieved owner Susan Trigg (centre).
Springer spaniel Star with Cave Veterinary Specialists clinicians Alex Hamilton (left) and Simon Bertram (right), with relieved owner Susan Trigg (centre).

“She now has good function in both limbs and is able to walk on her own. I expect her to do well in the longer term and be an active happy dog who is able to go for walks and be pain-free.”

Star’s owner Mark Allen, who lives in Blackdown Hills, said: “We feared the worst but Cave delivered the best outcome.

“Star’s back on her feet again and making great progress, she’s getting better and better every day.”

Mark recalled the heart-breaking moment when he realised Star has suffered some serious damage.

He said: “I was out walking her in the fields when she spotted a pheasant and chased after it. She raced down a bank and out of sight and then there was a sudden yelp.

“I rushed over and found her crawling back up the bank using only her front legs, she was completely unable to use her back legs.

“I picked her up, ran home and told my partner Susan what had happened and we both raced off to take her to the vets.

“They kept her overnight to see if there was any improvement and when there wasn’t, they immediately advised us to take her to Cave for expert treatment.”

Mark’s partner Susan Triggs, says she was distraught when the accident happened, adding: “I was panicking and so scared to go the vets because I was convinced they were going to say we’d have to put her down.

“When they told us she’d broken her back and damaged her spine I feared the worst but they said they could operate and I said there and then: “Do it!”

“I could see she didn’t want to die and I wanted to give her every chance to recover, even if we had to find a pair of wheels for her at the back to get her out and about again.

“But Cave have done so much better than that and we are both so grateful for the brilliant work they have done.

“It’s been so exciting to see Star steadily recovering. She’s been doing so well with her recovery and it’s a real thrill to watch her achieving this, achieving that as she’s moving back to normal. She’s really living up to her name.”