A Cumbrian dog lover has told the inspirational story of her stricken two-year-old labrador and his incredible fight to stay on all fours.

Michelle Newlove, from Whitehaven, has described how the family feared there was something wrong when Barney was just a puppy but were left devastated as the full extent of his problems emerged.

She said their initial heartbreak has now been transformed to relief and gratitude after 18 months of specialist care at here at Kentdale.

Michelle revealed: “We realised early on that something wasn’t quite right with the way Barney walked. He was around six months old and we took him to our local vets where X-rays showed he had what’s called bilateral hip dysplasia, which is where both hip joints have developed abnormally. We were absolutely devastated for him. It was so sad for us knowing he would never be able to be like other active dogs. He loved to play with our other dogs and play with balls. He loved his walks but potentially all this was gone. It was such a worrying time.

“We were sent to Kentdale Referrals for expert analysis and treatment and vet Gemma Holloway reassured us it wasn’t such a worst-case scenario. She said Barney could still have a lovely life with eduction and changing a few day-to-day things.”

Gemma, European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery, embarked on a conservative approach as Barney was still so young. He was started on a course of anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam and responded very well to the treatment.

Michelle added: “The treatment was working really well for a while but then, out of the blue, Barney started limping on his front legs. We returned to Kentdale and he was diagnosed with bilateral elbow dysplasia. Heartbroken was an understatement, especially as this time Barney needed surgery.”

Gemma explained: “Barney had been making great progress with the management of his hip dysplasia and was comfortable when assessed on both sides.  However, he began suffering from bilateral forelimb lameness and a CT scan showed bilateral fragmentation of the medial coronoid with evidence of secondary degenerative change. Barney’s left forelimb was more affected with extensive mineralisation and an abnormality in the tendons of his flexor muscles. He underwent a bilateral elbow arthroscopy with subtotal coronoidectomy the next day, with injections of joint treatment Arthramid into both his elbows at the end of the operation. This was followed up by three shockwave sessions per week to treat the flexor tendon enthesopathy. Long-term physiotherapy and mobility management was advised to ensure his elbow condition was not detrimental to his hips and his owners followed all our post-op management advice very well”.

“The result is Barney has made a good recovery which we verified when he recently came in for his latest round of maintenance physiotherapy on his birthday!”

Michelle continued: “We collected him the day after surgery and he’s had cage rest and regular appointments and physiotherapy at Kentdale and he is doing great”.

“He has his limitations but we, as a family, are tuned in to when he needs a quiet day and to take things easy. He is two now and is such a happy gentle boy. We still go to Kentdale for check-ups and the team are all very knowledgeable and friendly. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them. Gemma, Barney’s vet, was highly skilled and Emma, the physio taking care of him, is great. They put the animals first and the care the pets receive is second to none.”