An excitable puppy was knocked unconscious and left unable to walk after cracking his head on the kitchen floor. 

The four-month-old wire fox terrier, called Rafa, was swiftly referred to Linnaeus-owned Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester, Hampshire, for expert care after his unfortunate accident. 

Owner Alice Emmence said she was shocked when neurology clinician Jessica Zilli revealed Rafa had a traumatic spinal cord injury and instability of his first two spinal bones. 

Alice, from Chichester, West Sussex, said: “I was extremely concerned and so worried Rafa wouldn’t improve. 

“He had jumped up, lost his balance and then fallen backwards, hitting his head on the hard kitchen floor. 

“After the accident, seeing how he had lost the ability to use his hind legs was just awful.

“It was a huge relief to see him show signs of improvement and now he is pretty much back to normal. He is amazing – your typical crazy puppy full of life and cheekiness! 

“I would definitely recommend Anderson Moores, everyone there was outstanding from the reception team to the vet, Jessica. 

“I really appreciated the care and kindness Rafa and I received at a really traumatic time.” 

Vet Jessica said it was an unusual case, with Rafa stricken by an uncommon condition. She also proceeded with a conservative approach to treating the pup’s immediate problems without resorting to corrective surgery. 

Jessica explained: “When he first arrived, Rafa had a wobbly, uncertain gait and didn’t seem to be fully aware of the position of his paws. 

“This was consistent with a spinal cord problem at the level of his neck, so we carried out an MRI scan and X-rays of his cervical vertebral column. 

“These showed a traumatic spinal cord injury secondary to a bony malformation and instability of his first two spinal bones, known as atlantoaxial malformation. 

“However, as Rafa had already seemed to improve considerably and quickly while he was with us, I talked to his owner Alice and we agreed to opt for conservative management, meaning to continue with pain relief and very strict rest. 

“Rafa was rechecked four weeks later and was doing well, and his neurological exam was normal. 

“The presence of the malformation of his spine remains a concern, though, as a repeat contusion and subsequent neurological deterioration following even minor trauma is still a possibility. 

“That’s why I have recommended Rafa avoids boisterous activity in the future and for Alice to monitor closely for any worsening of his clinical signs.”

Anderson Moores offers specialist care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, feline hyperthyroid clinic, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery. 

For more information on Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, visit or search for Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists on social media. 

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