The dog, now called Gracie Lacey, was recently adopted by Egham-based dog trainer Ms Celia Felstead and was treated by Medivet Wimbledon’s veterinary surgeon Dr David Kydd. Despite the damage to her back legs and general health caused by her difficult start in life, she is now looking forward to her first Christmas being able to run and play like other dogs.
Gracie Lacey is believed to have been imported from Hungary earlier this year when she was about five months old. She had been kept for several months in filthy conditions in a tiny crate and, as a result, was unable to walk properly. Celia decided to foster her for Vigil German Shepherd Rescue who had taken her in and started a regime to help build up her muscles, which had been wasted due to her confinement.
Celia realised that she would have to wait until Gracie had grown a little to see what damage had been done to her legs, but this became clear a few weeks later when she started limping and was diagnosed as having an injury to the cruciate ligament, as well as cartilage damage in one of her back legs.
Dr David Kydd, a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Orthopaedics, was touched by Gracey’s plight. He carried out a complex orthopaedic procedure known as a Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) to repair her cruciate ligament, as well as a ‘Partial Meniscectomy’ to remove damaged cartilage.
She then received hydrotherapy at the Greyfriars Rehabilitation, a Hydrotherapy Centre near Guildford, to help strengthen her muscles, improve flexibility and limb function.
Medivet Wimbledon subsidised the fee of the surgery to reduce the cost burden on the stretched funds of Vigil German Shepherd Rescue.
Four months on, David says he is delighted at the recovery she has made. “Gracie is a young dog and the cruelty she suffered during her first few months, trapped in a crate, is terrible to think about.
“Some of the damage she suffered is permanent, but the important thing is that she can walk, run and play and, in every way, lead a normal life. I was very happy to be able to repair her cruciate injury and, together with our pre-and post-operative surgical nursing care, followed by the excellent rehabilitation she has received at Greyfriars, she’s made a fantastic recovery. It’s wonderful to see her looking so well. This good outcome is really down to great teamwork and communication, involving rescue, foster care, surgery, nursing and rehabilitation.”
“What impresses me most about Gracie is that she is such a happy and kind dog. She shows no signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and bears no malice towards humans despite her suffering. She’s absolutely lovely and will have a great life with Celia. It will be a very special Christmas for them and we’re delighted to have contributed to it.”
Celia Felstead added: “Gracie came to live with me in April and has grown into a wonderful girl. When she first arrived, she had never been walked so found the outside world scary and people frightening, yet she now greets people happily.
"We are both eternally grateful to David Kydd and Medivet for their advice, knowledge and compassion. Gracie and I are now looking forward to enjoying long walks with my other three dogs.”