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Burty the dog, Broke his Vertebrae and had Swelling on his Spine

Burty the dog, Broke his Vertebrae and had Swelling on his Spine

Burty was born on Boxing Day, he was the only surviving puppy out of five. Originally named Lucky, Burty missed out on so much in his early stages of life due to not having any siblings to grow up with. A week after his third birthday Burty had a freak accident, he was running around being his crazy fun loving self when he made a sharp turn then suddenly sat down. His owners were calling him to come back but he was reluctant to move, eventually he came but very slow and did not seem himself. That evening he could not get up from his bed, they immediately took him to the vets where they were told the devastating news, he had broken his vertebrae and had a swelling on his spine. In order to stop the swelling reaching Burty’s neck, and subsequently killing him, surgery was done 24 hours later.

He was in hospital for 5 days, once home Burtys owners put him in a playpen for around 3 weeks to really allow the stitches to completely heal and was only on diminishing sedation for a week or so. They made him a bed for his pen from an old memory foam mattress. 

Burty had Hydrotherapy at Pride Hospital in Derby twice a week for 7 months, each session would start with laser therapy down his spine to help the healing, the therapist would then get in the tank with Burty and support his back legs and then start the treadmill. As he started walking forwards on his front legs she would move his rear legs in sequence to stimulate memory of walking, as he progressed he began to move his legs on his own. Each session was divided into 5 sections of 2 minutes with 1 minute break in between.

His owners also did physiotherapy sessions at home 3 times a day, this included creating different sensations on his pads with toothbrush, rubbing his pads on different floor surfaces to create any type of sensation, moving his legs through the walking motion,  massage, stretching lots things to try to stimulate his back part.

Gradually, with the sheer determination of both Burty and his owners, he built up enough strength to almost stand, which was a miracle in itself. Burty’s owners have found that over the next seven months, even though surgeons said it was extremely unlikely Burty would ever be able to use his back legs again, he has continued to make progress neurologically.

His owners then decided to use a dog wheelchair, they have not looked back since! With the help of the wheels, Burty was able to improve his strength and is now able to walk freely around the house and on dog walks. He does get tired and sometimes stops and starts to drag his legs but Burtys owners could not be happier with his progress. Burty is the happiest little dog with a huge appetite for life, he loves his walks in his wheels and his holidays. He is known as ‘Burty Hotwheels’ in their community and people will always stop and make a fuss. His owners feel so lucky to have him!


Previous article Cara is a 14 year old German Shepherd. She regularly sees the vet and has rear knuckling linked to the typical GSD weak hips / neuropathy and some osteoarthritis. What would you recommend?
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