The owners of a dog which survived a terrifying 30ft cliff fall in Northumberland have heaped praise on the specialist vets who helped save his life. 

Billy, a four-year-old labrador, suffered a neck fracture after losing his bearings and falling from a cliff while enjoying a regular walk with his owners. 

After racing the beloved family pet to local vets, Billy was quickly referred to the neurology and neurosurgery team at Linnaeus-owned specialist-led small animal hospital Wear Referrals in Bradbury, County Durham. 

The team at Wear discussed various treatment options with Billy’s owners and it was agreed he could be treated with medical management, including hydrotherapy, strict cage rest and controlled exercise for six to eight weeks, instead of undergoing a potentially difficult surgery. 

Billy, who was assessed by Wear’s veterinary hydrotherapist Lynne Burdis, is now making a great recovery after using a state-of-the-art underwater treadmill as part of his recovery. 

Lynne explained: “An MRI scan of Billy’s neck, together with other investigations, revealed mild vertebral displacement, so we waited three weeks before commencing his first hydrotherapy session. 

“This gave the soft tissue time to reduce in swelling and for a neck brace to stabilise the area. 

“Using an underwater treadmill enabled us to work alongside Billy to ensure he was balanced naturally and fully supported throughout his sessions. 

“Applying the buoyancy effect of the water and altering the water and incline levels also meant we could adapt the equipment to Billy’s requirements and encourage a better walking pattern.

“Billy has consistently improved and is now able to walk unassisted, although he is still uncoordinated. It is a long journey ahead but we are pleased to see that he is going in the right direction.” 

Billy’s owners Charlotte Robinson and Richard Mitchell, from Morpeth in Northumberland, said they were in disbelief when their pet fell from the cliff at Hawick and were incredibly grateful to the team at Wear for nursing him back to health. 

They said: “We were terrified as Billy had essentially broken his neck, however, we were reassured that not all neck injuries need surgery, which gave us hope. 

“He had about three months of cage rest, physio and hydrotherapy but is now a normal dog again. He has wobbly moments but doesn’t care when he’s running at what looks like 90mph!” 

Charlotte, herself a veterinary nurse, was so impressed by the level of care Billy received that she applied to work at Wear and starts soon. 

She said: “Wear were so efficient and timely with Billy’s diagnosis I thought, wow, I’d love to be part of their team.”

Wear specialises in providing expert multidisciplinary care, including anaesthesia, cardiology, diagnostic imaging, intensive care, internal medicine, neurology, OOH emergency and critical care, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue. 

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

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