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Injured dog back on all four paws thanks to Blue Cross

Watching his dog Seabass happily bound around the park on all four legs is a sight Sam Lewin had feared he would never see again.

The 10-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier was lucky to even survive – let alone walk – after he was involved in a horrific accident in May.

Poor Seabass was struck by a van and dragged along concrete for 20 metres as he sunbathed in front of his owner’s cycle repair shop in a mainly pedestrianised arts and retail complex in Peckham Rye, south London.

When the vehicle eventually stopped, Seabass emerged from beneath its wheels covered in cuts and with his right hip dislocated, before slumping at Sam’s feet as pain and shock consumed him.

Seabass had been relaxing outside Sam's cycling shop when disaster struck

Sam, 33, said: “When the accident happened the noise was horrific, I’ve never heard anything like it in my life and will never forget it. Seabass was just screaming out in pain.

”He kept trying to stand up but every time he just fell back down and was dragged along even further.

“When the driver stopped, Seabass was just completely disorientated because he had just been asleep on the floor before so he hadn’t seen anything and didn’t know what had happened.

“He ran over to me and just fell onto my feet, and I saw that he had practically no fur left on his right leg. He had a lot of puncture wounds and cuts.”

Terrified that he was about to lose his beloved dog, Sam rushed Seabass to the nearest vets.

There, he was checked over for any immediately life-threatening injuries and given painkillers to make him more comfortable as he travelled to our Victoria animal hospital, where he is registered, for further treatment.

On arrival, Seabass was in a bad way. Vets tried twice to place the joint back into the socket but there was too much damage and it wouldn’t stay put.

You can usually replace the hip joint in its socket, and initially we did this with Seabass... We tried twice, but when it came out the second time, even with Seabass resting in a kennel, we had to do something different.” Seb Prior, Senior Vet at Blue Cross's Victoria animal hospital

Senior Vet at Victoria, Seb Prior, said: “The ligaments holding the hip into its socket are really tight so when it gets dislocated, they often tear." 

There were a few options at this stage – a leg amputation was one, or an even more painful operation pinning the joint back together, which often doesn’t have great results.

But the team at Victoria decided on an operation called a femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty, whereby the ball joint at the top of the thigh bone is removed altogether and held in place by the muscles surrounding it.

Seb explained: “The muscles surrounding the joint heal and scars form which results in a kind of false joint. It works brilliantly in cats, quite well in little and medium sized dogs, but Seabass was a bit bigger, so we couldn’t be sure it would be okay.  

“However the operation went really well – in part due to the equipment we are lucky to have and, even more crucially, the nursing team made sure that Seabass was comfortable and helped him get about and start using the leg after the operation.

“This is so important to the long term outcome of this procedure – after most orthopaedic operations you want the patient to rest as much as possible, but with this one you need them to use the leg and build the muscles up.”

Seabass was in our care for 10 days – the longest he has ever been apart from Sam, who rescued him as a puppy.

The time apart was tough for them both, as well as Sam’s partner Jemma and their two-year-old daughter Freya, but it hit traumatised Seabass particularly hard.

Seabass spent 10 days in our care - the longest he has ever spent away from owner Sam

Sam said: “For the first few days he was at the hospital he didn’t eat or sleep – the nurses called me and asked me to visit him to calm him down a bit and it did help. He was then able to get enough strength together for the surgery.

“He normally comes everywhere with me. I rescued him when he was a puppy, purely by chance.

“I was going to see a friend and accidentally knocked on the wrong door – this dog bounded out the door and was not in a good way. There were puppies in there as well.

“I called the authorities and it turned out it was a breeding house – the guy had four bitches in there and 30 to 40 puppies, in terrible conditions. I watched as they were brought out and said straight away that I would take one of the puppies. I saw Seabass and knew he needed me.

“I called him Seabass as I used to live in Wales and often went seabass fishing with a friend. We would row a mile out to sea to this little island. Seabass used to sit on there while we fished, so he just became known as Seabass.”

Just a few months on from the surgery, Seabass is just about back to his normal self.

“It’s incredible, he has full movement of his leg. He’s walking on it fine, but is still a bit nervous when he runs as it’s a little sore for him. We’re so grateful that his leg could be saved, he wouldn’t be walking now without this treatment,” said Sam, who is now fundraising for Blue Cross to thank the charity for its help.

He added: “We were so happy to get him home. When I brought him through the door, I explained to Freya that he had hurt his leg and she went into her bedroom to get some Sudocrem as she thought it would help him. They love each other – Freya is always giving her teddies to Seabass and putting them in his bed.”

The team at our Victoria animal hospital, where Seabass stole many hearts, couldn’t be happier either.

“Seabass was such a lovely dog, he was a real favourite with everyone when he was in the hospital. We’re all so pleased to see him doing so well after everything,” added Seb.


— Page last updated 10/11/2016