The shock and trauma of seeing her three-month-old puppy seriously injured in a road accident has turned to relief and amazement for a West Lothian woman thanks to the expertise of vets at a leading small animal hospital.

Distraught Moira Nimmo, from Uphall Station, Livingston, feared the worst when her young cocker spaniel puppy Bella sustained horrific injuries after being hit by a car when she slipped her lead.

Now, Moira is full of praise for the experts at Veterinary Specialists Scotland (VSS), in Livingston, where clinical director Dr Sam Woods performed the emergency surgery which kept Bella alive.

A grateful Moira explained: “Sam saved her life, I’m 100 per cent sure about that because Bella’s injuries were so severe.

“In fact, the whole team at VSS were incredible with the way they cared for and treated Bella, and looked after and supported me, too.

“I was in shock and could barely speak for 48 hours after the accident as I was so traumatised by it.

“Now, I want to express my gratitude and make sure VSS receive proper recognition for what they’ve done for Bella, for me and for my family.”

Bella had suffered multiple injuries in the accident. She was bleeding internally, showing signs of shock and she had a horrendous wound on her back leg. After initial treatment at Riverside Veterinary Practice, she was referred to Linnaeus-owned animal hospital VSS.

She was initially given a blood transfusion by VSS, via Pet Blood Bank UK, a nationwide charity providing a canine blood service to vets, and then underwent a full body CT scan to discover the full extent of her injuries.

Dr Woods, a specialist in small animal surgery, revealed: “The CT scan showed a catalogue of injuries including a ruptured spleen, which was in three pieces, and huge blood loss.

“Bella also had a rib fracture, spinal fracture, multiple hind limb fractures and she had lost a couple of the bones from her back foot.

“Firstly, we carried out immediate surgery to take out Bella’s spleen and two days later, when her condition had stabilised, we operated again to remove her badly injured hind leg.

“The surgeries were a complete success and five days after the accident Bella was allowed home, with a referral for ongoing physiotherapy to help with her recovery.”

Bella is now making a spectacular recovery, much to Moira’s joy and relief. She said: “I was so afraid when I went to collect her from VSS, as I was concerned the accident and injuries may have changed her personality and made her timid and withdrawn.

“As soon as she saw me, though, she was wagging her tail and full of life, so she’s definitely my little miracle dog.

“Even with one leg missing she runs around and plays like she still has all four limbs. She’s a very special dog with a very special attitude and it really is uplifting to see how she’s coping so well.”

Moira admits, though, she will never be able to erase the horror of the moment when Bella somehow slipped out of her harness and bolted into the road.

She confessed: “I still don’t know how it all happened and I’m still traumatised by the incident. One moment we were preparing to cross the road and the next I was pulling her out from under a car.

“Bella was very unresponsive and one of her legs was very badly injured but she was still breathing, so I lifted her up and ran all the way home.

“My daughter Caitlin was there and she drove me to Riverside, our local vets and we were there within six minutes of it happening.

“The vets there were brilliant, too, and gave her immediate emergency treatment before referring her for specialist care at VSS and between them they did an unbelievable job.”

VSS is a specialist-led multidisciplinary referral centre offering industry-leading services in internal medicine (feline and canine), neurology, orthopaedics, and soft tissue surgery, supported by Specialists in diagnostic imaging and anaesthesia and analgesia.

For more information about Veterinary Specialists Scotland, which is part of Linnaeus, visit

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