Dog lover Tracy Richardson thought the end had come for her beloved companion Gizmo when he was found lying paralysed in his bed one morning.
But thanks to specialist laser treatment available at a Lancaster veterinary surgery, the three-year-old Shih Tzu is now well on his way to recovery and learning to run again.
Tracy, who lives in Marine Road East, Morecambe, first noticed something was wrong when Gizmo was not being his usual energetic self.
“Usually he will jump up onto the settee and bounce and he wasn’t doing that,” she said.”Then he couldn’t get off the bed in the night without me lifting him – his back end had gone totally floppy.
“The next morning I found him in a lot of pain and unable to move.”
Gizmo was rushed in to see vet Colin Houston of Bay Vets in Lancaster, who ran tests to rule out meningitis, suspecting instead that Gizmo had suffered a severe spinal injury.
A ruptured disc was diagnosed on a myelogram – a delicate procedure which involves the injection of dye around the spinal cord.
“Unfortunately Gizmo’s outlook was not good,” said Colin.
“Without surgery Gizmo’s chance of leading a normal life was very low indeed and so he was taken to surgery that evening.
“It was a late finish for all of us but we were able to carefully remove a large chunk of disc material that was compressing the spinal cord.”
Gizmo was kept at Bay Vets for nursing care and recuperation for a week following surgery.
“It was great to see that first wag of his tail which indicated some nerve recovery following surgery,” said Annaka Lee, one of the senior nurses at Bay Vets.
At first a special harness was used to support his hind limbs, but slowly Gizmo regained the use of his limbs and is now just about able to run again.
“We were all delighted that Gizmo recovered so well and although he is still a little wobbly on his legs it is very satisfying being able to help such a friendly little fellow,” Annaka said.
Bay Vets used their own high powered type IV laser equipment to help speed up his recovery.
“We are very lucky to have access to laser treatment here in Lancashire as not many vets in the UK have access to this yet,” said Colin.
”It is very safe to use on pets and seems to make a big difference to the speed of recovery to cases like Gizmo’s.
“We use it on a daily basis at Bay Vets to treat animals with arthritis and unlike drugs it does not have any potential side effects.”
Gizmo is now well on his way to recovery and Tracy hopes he will soon be playing again with his favourite ball.
“He loves playing football, he will play on his own for hours,” Tracy, 39, said.
“He never whined once throughout his treatment and I am so proud of him. He is a little star.
“Bay Vets were fantastic with him and I am so grateful to them.”