Puppy survives dog attack in Manchester park

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Matilda was the victim of a dog attack

A young five-month-old fox terrier puppy called Matilda has made an astonishing recovery after she was left on the brink of death by a harrowing attack by a large dog, which took place in a park in Urmston, Manchester.

Owner Diane Columbine was walking Matilda in the park when a large dog began playing with her. Everything was normal at first, but in the blink of an eye the larger dog grabbed Matilda and began shaking her violently. The attack lasted only seconds, Diane and the other dog’s owner immediately intervened, but Matilda was left unable to breathe or stand.

Diane scooped Matilda up and, along with husband Steve, she took her to the Vets Now 24-hour pet hospital in Manchester.

Diane said, “It took us half an hour to get there because of rush-hour traffic on the motorway – and it felt like a lifetime, like everything was in slow motion. Poor Matilda was making a terrible noise of pain each time she tried to breathe – it was just off the scale of awful to see and hear.

“We handed her over at reception and I was totally convinced that was the last time I was going to see my dog – she was so tiny, so weak and so injured I thought they would just have to put her down.”

However, the surgical team was able to keep the small puppy breathing and stabilise her before performing multiple operations. Despite suffering a cardiac arrest during the procedure, Matilda was able to pull through.

Vets Now referral surgeon Paul Aldridge said, “Poor Matilda suffered some of the worst and most life-threatening injuries I’ve ever seen in such a small dog. CT scans showed a crushed chest with broken ribs which had penetrated the lungs causing severe damage. A separate bite wound had crushed a vertebrae pushing a bone fragment into the spinal cord threatening paralysis.

“We took Matilda to theatre and opened her chest to remove the damaged area of lung. During this procedure Matilda suffered a cardiac arrest and it was a big team effort to resuscitate her, including internal cardiac massage. Once Matilda’s chest surgery was finished we went on to perform spinal surgery to remove the bone fragment and relieve the pressure on her spinal cord.

“All in all Matilda had some terrible injuries but we were all impressed with her resilience and were so pleased she pulled through.”

After 48 hours Matilda was moved off the intensive care list; after another three days she was well enough to go home with Diane and Steve. Despite the extent of her injuries, particularly to her back legs, Matilda was able to make a full recovery. Thanks to physiotherapy, she is back running like nothing has happened.

The park attack happened so quickly that Diane never had a chance to establish the breed of the other dog, who was described as being roughly the height of a greyhound. Diane, however, holds no grudge towards the dog – or the owner.

“It wasn’t the other owner’s fault – it was just one of those freak incidents and I think she was as shocked as I was that one minute her dog was playing nicely with Matilda and then next minute he had her in his teeth,” she said. “But what matters is that Matilda is still with us – she’s just our mighty little miracle.”

Images by Vets Now

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