A lurcher dog completely paralysed while out on a walk has made a miraculous recovery to get back up and running again thanks to veterinary experts at a County Durham animal hospital. 

Specialists at Linnaeus-owned Wear Referrals operated late into the night to save five-year-old Dexter whose life, and mobility, had been left hanging in the balance. 

Dexter was rushed to the Bradbury referral centre with a broken and dislocated neck. The injury to the fractured vertebrae bones containing the delicate spinal cord was so serious that any further movement would affect his ability to breathe. 

It is thought Dexter sustained the potentially life-threatening and life-changing injuries when he hit a stationary object at speed, or tumbled head over heels, while out running on his daily exercise. It was only after a frantic two-hour search that Dexter was found by his devastated owner unable to move. 

The highly complex and lengthy surgery at Wear to fix Dexter’s spine was led by the world-renowned Clare Rusbridge, senior neurologist and professor in veterinary neurology, and Francisco Silveira, a European specialist in small animal surgery.

The successful operation was followed by intense rehabilitation by Wear’s veterinary nursing team and Dexter’s owner Danielle MacGill, who lives in Morpeth and is herself a vet. 

Danielle, whose other dog Albus was on the walk with her when the accident happened, said: “It was a very long and stressful evening and I was so relieved when they called me to say Dexter had made it through the operation. 

“He was allowed home after about a week, although at this stage he was not able to walk. It was a long, hard process but seeing him start to do things that I hadn’t been sure would ever be possible again was awe inspiring.

“Dexter is now almost completely back to his old self and is living his best life. I honestly never thought we would get back to this stage but he has surprised me every step of the way with his determination and resilience.

“All the team at Wear have also been amazing and I am so grateful to them.”

Clare said: “Dexter had a serious spinal cord injury and it was a very complex, and rarely performed, surgery that went on late into the night. 

“He was completely paralysed in all four limbs and his neck meaning he needed intensive care. It was a real team effort to save his life and get him moving again, calling on the skills of our nursing team together with our neurology and orthopaedic experts.

“Very slowly function came back aided by an intensive physiotherapy routine. It’s fantastic to see his recovery has literally come on leaps and bounds and that he’s running again.”

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 of Wear Referrals, visit https://www.wear-referrals.co.uk or search for them on social media. 

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