Amber the Labrador back to fitness after vet saves leg after freak injury
A much-loved pet from West Kirby is fighting her way back to full fitness after a three-hour operation to repair a leg tendon torn in a freak accident which could have led to her losing a limb.
Amber the five-year-old Labrador was facing a severely debilitating injury or even amputation but vets at Acorn Veterinary Surgery decided to go ahead with an operation to repair her damaged ankle joint.
It meant a full general anaesthetic while surgeon Nick Whieldon repaired and reconnect the damaged Achilles tendon in Amber’s rear left leg.
It was the kind of complicated operation Amber’s owners, anaesthetists Drs Craig and Kate Smith, will have seen many times but on humans – they work at Arrowe Park Hospital.
Amber picked up the injury playing in their garden with the couple’s four-year-old son, Myles, who threw a ball down some steps with Amber leaping after it but landing awkwardly.
Kate said: “Amber jumped after it and just started limping after landing and we could see the lower part of her leg had dropped and she couldn’t put weight on it.
“We took her to Acorn Vets and they’ve been brilliant. Nick’s been really good and done a fantastic job and Amber’s been having physio and is about 90 per cent back to full fitness.
“She had her op four weeks after the injury and has made a really good recovery so we’ve been giving her a bit of exercise in the woods near the house.
“Nick and the team at Acorn have been brilliant and we’re very grateful to them.”
Nick explained: “It was an uncommon injury. The joint, equivalent to a human ankle, had been extended and although the tendon hadn’t been completely severed it caused the joint to drop down.
“I had to drill holes through the top of the bone and pass suturing material through which can then pull the tendon, which connects the muscle to the joint, back into the bone.
“We also put screws through the joint and fitted a frame to the outside of Amber’s leg to immobilise the joint and she had to stay like that for six weeks,
“It was a complicated procedure but Amber has been a good patient and it’s gone very well and been a very good outcome because without it she would have been disabled for the rest of her life.”
“Without this complicated procedure being performed Amber would have suffered severe muscle wastage and suffering with the likelihood of arthritis and or amputation.
Pictured above are Kate Smith and son Elliott, four months, with Amber the Labrador joined by Acorn Vets Head of Practice Rhiannon Mansell and vet surgeon Nick Whieldon (photo credit: Rick Matthews).