Imagine the dread and fear of seeing your dog dart off suddenly into the night, then hearing a yelp followed by silence.
Searching forlornly for 20 minutes in the darkness and still not being able to find your beloved pet, then the horror of finally locating her lying motionless at the bottom of a 20-foot drop.
That’s the traumatic experience endured by Janet Taylor, from Halifax, after a night-time walk with her four-year-old Border Collie Pippa turned into a nightmare.
Incredibly, thanks to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield, Pippa’s now well on the road to recovery but Janet admits she feared the worst when she discovered Pippa prostrate and paralysed.
Janet said: “It was like looking for a needle in a haystack but after about 20 minutes I looked over a wall and saw her electronic collar flashing red in the darkness about 20 feet below.
“When I got down to her she wasn’t moving, she wasn’t barking out or even crying. She was just lying there.
“I scooped her up, bundled her in the car and took her straight to the emergency vets where they took x-rays and administered pain relief.
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“The following day she was transferred to Paragon where they kept her for two weeks of intensive care and treatment with us visiting almost every day to sit with her and give her a gentle cuddle.”
Paragon orthopaedic surgeon Nick Blackburn said: “When Pippa came to us she was unable to walk but, with some support, she could take some weight on her right legs.
“We did a thorough examination and found a series of issues. There were several neurological deficits and a marked rigidity of limb muscles which can be an indicator of a severe spinal cord injury.
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“Her lung sounds were reduced on the right side of the chest which was due to a mild collapsed lung while an MRI scan of the neck showed severe bruising of the spinal cord.
“No surgery was necessary but Pippa still needed to be hospitalised for thorough, supportive treatment and intensive physiotherapy.”
Pippa’s now back home and is continuing to undergo regular physiotherapy to stimulate the nerves and muscles in her legs. She is also having hydrotherapy twice a week to teach her how to walk properly again.
Janet said: “It’s a miracle really. We were so worried about her. She’s like part of the family and it’s at times like these that you fully realise just what she means to you.
“Thankfully the staff at Paragon were brilliant with Pippa and with us, giving her the very best care and keeping us fully informed throughout.
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“She’s doing really well now and recovering much quicker than we expected, she’s already pretty mobile again.
“She still has some stiffness in her back but she’s making great progress thanks to Paragon. We can’t thank them enough.”
The £5 million Paragon Veterinary Referrals opened in February and is part of Dewsbury-based Calder Vets, which has 12 first opinion practices across Yorkshire.
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For more information on Paragon, visit www.paragonreferrals.co.uk.