Evie can go walkies again thanks to tech usually used on human wrists
Last Updated: 22/05/2023
A rescue dog left struggling to walk by a painful elbow condition has been given a new lease of life after a pioneering operation at a Fife vets.
Four-year-old Shetland Sheepdog Evie was so poorly owner Carol Robertson, from Livingston, West Lothian, couldn’t even walk her on hard pavements.
Now she says the new keyhole surgery at East Neuk Vets, previously only available on humans, has been “totally lifechanging”.
And vets at the St Monans practice hope it will revolutionise treatment for many other small breeds throughout Scotland.
Carol took in Evie as a scared 16-month-old from Scottish Shetland Sheepdog Rescue and started noticing a limp when she was two.
“At first it was just after she’d been really active playing with her ball, but it got worse and worse,” said Carol, who works for the Scottish Ambulance Service.
“It was mostly on her right side and then became noticeable on both legs. I started driving her to a field or somewhere else soft for a walk to avoid hard surfaces, and she couldn’t play or have any fun without limping.”
Carol took Evie to her own vet and was referred to the specialists at East Neuk Vets, part of the My Family Vets network, where elbow dysplasia was diagnosed.
Despite following all the recommended treatment to try to manage the condition, it progressed so much it became badly debilitating.
After further assessment at East Neuk Vets, Evie was deemed suitable as the first patient to undergo the new procedure with a high-tech machine used for hospital ops on human wrists.
“Evie had a chronic lameness that was really affecting her day-to-day life,” said vet Padraig Egan.
“Ordinarily she would have been too small to have this minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. We could usually only do this type of procedure on dogs of at least 10kg, while Evie was only 7kg.
“But thanks to this new machine, which has a minute camera which we put in the joint and monitor on a laptop, we can now treat very small dogs.
“It lets us get into tiny areas with just two little incisions, and avoiding open surgery means we can get a patient on the road to recovery in half the time.
“By investing in equipment normally only used on humans, we’re proud to offer a treatment that can make such a difference to smaller and smaller patients across the country.”
Carol started to notice an improvement in Evie within a matter of days.
Initially it almost seemed too good to be true and she tried to limit Evie’s exercise and excitement in case there was a relapse.
But she has thrived since the procedure and is back to full fitness.
“It almost seemed too good to be true at first, but it wasn’t and she has a great quality of life again,” said Carol. “She’s able to exercise, run, play with my nieces and do all the things she wants to.
“We took her on a holiday on the North Coast 500 recently where she was up and down glens and splashing in rivers and the sea. She even won second place in a local dog show.
“She’s not on any painkillers, is loving life and bringing such joy.”
East Neuk Vets is part of My Family Vets, a nationwide network of veterinary practices and referral hospitals.
Owners who join its Pet Health Club plan receive discounts on selected veterinary care and medications — and are also covered for regular, routine treatments such as vaccinations, health checks and flea, worm and parasite treatments.