Emergency vets and vet nurses save lovable Bella with dog blood donation and intensive one-on-one veterinary care
A clumsy rescue dog is learning to walk on three legs after a horror accident left her fighting for life.
Black and white greyhound Bella cannoned into a cast-iron park bench at full sprint while chasing a squirrel on her morning walk. She sustained massive injuries to her limbs and body and had a gaping wound in her chest.
For three days, Bella fought for life in intensive care in our pet emergency hospital in Whitefield, Manchester. Bella’s distraught owner Emily Makin, and her partner Ollie, feared the worst.
But – against all odds – the two-and-a-half-year-old began to pull through thanks to two blood transfusions and the world-class veterinary care she received. Sadly, however, it wasn’t possible to save Bella’s front right leg, which bore the brunt of the accident on May 14, and the leg had to be amputated.
Emily said: “It’s hard to put into words just how brave Bella has been and just how close we came to losing her. “To see her now, up on her three legs, beginning to walk again really is a miracle. Her personality is coming back as well.”
The accident happened at 6.45am in Alexander Park, a 60-acre sanctuary of open space in Manchester’s Whalley Range.
“When it happened, I was walking her before work and she’d gone chasing off as usual,” said Emily. “I didn’t think anything of it. Then I heard a high-pitch squealing noise and I thought to myself, ‘On no, she’s got the squirrel.’ So I ran after her. Then as I got closer I could see something was badly wrong.
“There was blood everywhere, it was just awful to see. Bella’s muscles were poking out of her body. There was a huge hole in her body about five inches by five inches. She was staggering around in circles as though she was dazed. It was heartbreaking to see her in such pain.
“I hadn’t heard of the Vets Now hospital before. It was a guy who was out with his dog and who came to help who told me I should get her there straightaway. Bella has always been a bit clumsy – we nicknamed her Bella-phant because of it – and she’s had a few other mishaps but nothing like this.”
When Bella was first rushed into our hospital, the emergency team feared she had major nerve damage as she was unable to put weight on her right leg. But x-rays revealed she had actually suffered five separate fractures, leaving her with a shattered shoulder and a punctured lung.
Her injuries had caused serious internal bleeding and Bella needed two blood transfusions to stay alive.
Helen Rooney, head nurse at the Vets Now pet emergency hospital, said: “When Bella arrived she had suffered horrific soft tissue injuries to her neck and thorax.
“She also had a serious condition where air builds up in the chest, as the impact had ruptured part of her respiratory system resulting in a leak into her chest which crushes the lungs and was potentially fatal. The bruises were extensive and she lost so much blood she required an urgent transfusion. Without this, she wouldn’t have survived.”
The hospital’s veterinary team monitored Bella closely before determining she was stable enough to undergo surgery to repair her injuries.
Helen added: “Bella was in our intensive care unit for several days, but responded well and was a great favourite with the nurses.“We see a lot of very poorly animals here but the injuries Bella sustained are some of the most severe our team has ever encountered.
“The fact that she could hurt herself like this really does give an illustration of the power and speed that the greyhound breed can move at. We are all delighted with Bella’s recovery so far. She’s really touched the hearts of everyone here.”
Prior to being fostered and then adopted by Emily and Ollie a year ago from charity Erin Hounds, Bella had been badly neglected. Emily said: “Erin Hounds is a wonderful charity which helps greyhounds who have been abused and forgotten because they can no longer earn money for their owners.
“Slowly but surely Bella has been getting back to full health and, before her accident, she was just flourishing in every way. Any accident for a pet is horrible — but when it’s a rescue dog who has already suffered so much it just seems so much worse.”
To the amazement of both Emily and Vets Now staff, courageous Bella is already beginning to walk again and has recovered the cheeky charm which made Emily fall in love with her to start with.
Emily added: “Bella is so brave. She’s a real battler who can cope with anything and the 24/7 medical care she has had has been absolutely brilliant.
“The staff at Vets Now were just so kind, considerate and patient. They never gave up and they really did go the extra mile for Bella. From the receptionists to the nurses, vets and the hospital manager, Ollie and myself are incredibly grateful for their kindness.”
Ollie, 36, works as a baggage handler at Manchester Airport and Emily, 39, is an administrator working on a temporary contract which is about to end. The couple, from Manchester’s Whalley Range, have a limited income and their pet insurance has only covered part of the bill for Bella’s treatment.
“We’ve been totally overwhelmed by people’s kindness,” said Emily. “Complete strangers have been digging into their pockets to help us out. It’s very humbling.”
The Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Manchester — where Bella received treatment — is regarded as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the UK. It’s one of three Vets Now hospitals across the UK that are open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.
All of Vets Now’s 60 clinics and hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.