An injured hero police dog will soon be back on the beat after specialist care at one of the UK’s leading small animal hospitals. 

The two-and-a-half-year-old Springer Spaniel, called Dot, is a specialist detection dog helping Cumbria police in murder, firearms and drugs cases. 

Her energetic, investigative role with the force saw Dot develop stiffness and intermitted lameness in her right hindleg, so the police dog was referred to Linnaeus-owned Kentdale Referrals in Milnthorpe, Cumbria, for specialist care. 

Graham Hayes, an RCVS and European recognised specialist in small animal surgery, took charge of the case, assisted by colleague Joe Higgins an ECVS Resident in small animal surgery.

Graham explained: “Dot had been suffering intermittent lameness and stiffness post-exercise and 
x-rays had identified potential cruciate ligament damage to the joint.

“We admitted her and she was anaesthetised so we could thoroughly examine her leg and take further x-rays, which confirmed a cranial cruciate ligament rupture in Dot’s stifle.

“Cranial cruciate ligament rupture is the most common cause of hind limb lameness in dogs. As a result, a procedure called a ‘Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy’ (TPLO).

“Dot underwent TPLO surgery to stabilise the joint, which went very well, and once she had recovered from the operation, she was allowed home but with exercise restricted for the first six weeks. 

“Dot then came for a post-operative check-up six weeks later and had follow up x-rays which showed good progress and we advised a further four weeks restricted exercise before she could return to light work that doesn’t involve jumping on and off surfaces. 

“She should be able to fully return to normal work very soon.”

That’s great news for her handler, PC Andrew Cotton, who has had Dot since she was just 14 weeks old and was very concerned when she started to struggle.  

He said: “Earlier this year, I noticed that Dot was holding her leg in a peculiar fashion, which raised my concerns.  After a couple of visits to the local vets, I was referred to Kentdale for a specialist opinion. 

“Once I received the diagnosis for Dot, I was very upset as she is my partner, my sidekick, my shadow. 

“Not wanting her to be in pain, it was agreed by the constabulary that Dot should receive the best treatment for the issue highlighted by the staff at Kentdale and she was quickly booked in. 

“I found the staff and the vet who cared for Dot to be professional, polite and friendly; taking the time to answer any questions that I had. 

“The post-surgery care is spot on, too, and I am extremely grateful we have such expertise on our door step.”

Kentdale Referrals is a specialist-led practice offering expert services in diagnostic imaging, arthroscopy, laparoscopy, anaesthesia, infection control, orthopaedic surgery, spinal surgery, soft tissue surgery and physiotherapy. 

For more information on Kentdale Referrals, visit or search for Kentdale Referrals on social media.

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