Pug puppy needs life-changing spine operation at Supervet surgery | TeamDogs

Pug puppy needs life-changing spine operation at Supervet surgery

His owner has told of the 'nightmare' as unethical breeding left the pup disabled

Bethan Shufflebotham

Posted 3 months ago

A nine-month-old pug puppy is set to undergo spinal surgery at Noel Fitzpatrick’s Surry-based veterinary centre in the hopes the pooch may be able to walk again one day.

Enzo was welcomed into the O'Shea family in November 2020 when 24-year-old Shannon was six months pregnant with her daughter.

But in April, she noticed the puppy was suffering with a small limp, which progressed into something much worse, leaving the pooch unable to walk.

Shannon, from Halifax, Yorkshire, said: “We got Enzo in November when I was pregnant as I wanted him to be able to grow up with my baby girl.

“In April he began walking differently, dragging his back paws, knuckling the floor and becoming a little wobbly. We thought maybe he'd pulled a muscle doing zoomies so let him rest. Over the weeks we saw his walking deteriorate so took him to the vets.

“Our nightmare started from then on. The vets did x-rays and confirmed that Enzo had mild hip dysplasia, but also spinal compression. They prescribed him medication, but his condition was getting worse, to the point he could only just hold himself to toilet outside before falling over.”

The x-rays showed a right angle bend in Enzo’s spine, which has caused almost complete paralysis in his back legs, save from a small amount of feeling in his left leg.

Enzo's x-ray showing the bend in his spine (Image: Shannon O'Shea)

Shannon added: “He could walk and run around as a puppy, but now he can't walk at all and just drags his back legs across the floor.

“It’s heartbreaking seeing Enzo go through what he is. From being such a happy housetrained pup chasing his ball in the garden, to not being able to go for a walk or know when he needs to pee or poo. It really is awful for him and for us.

“His condition has been caused by improper breeding. His brothers and sisters have issues which I recently found out, and a litter before Enzo had a pup with male and female genitals.

“The poor puppies should not have been bred in the first place, no correct medical checks had been carried out. I just don’t understand how people can do this to these dogs and the families that deal with the heartbreak afterwards!”

Read more: Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick is hiring veterinary staff at his Surrey clinic

Shannon has been fundraising online to help support the costs of Enzo’s scans, surgeries and treatments, which has seen over £5,000 of her £6,500 goal raised.

His latest surgery at Fitzpatrick referrals on Thursday is set to relieve the compression in his spine - and could cost up to £9,000.

Shannon added: “The surgery that was discussed is rather complex. The mortality rate is around eight per cent during the surgery. In the remainder of the cases, the outcome is good.

“Unfortunately, in cases like Enzo, the prognosis is guarded as the spine not only deformed but also the spinal canal is narrowed.”

Enzo, the nine-month-old pug, is awaiting surgery to help him walk again (Image: Instagram: enzo_thepug_)

The High Rollers Club charity donated Enzo a set of wheels that he could roll around on in the meantime, so he can still behave like a cheeky little pug.

The 24-year-old mum said: “When we first put them on he wasn’t sure, but after being bribed with a treat he was running around.

“We’ve also been given some physio exercises to help his muscles, and after surgery Enzo will also require weekly physiotherapy and eventually hydrotherapy.”

As well as the £9,000 vet bill, Shannon will have to take a 233 mile round trip up to six times for follow-up appointments.

She added: “I am so scared for our boy, the complexity of the surgery, the things that could go wrong during or after but I’ve got to stay strong. If we don’t try to do this he will just get worse and then potentially have to be put to sleep.

“He needs to live his life and so my job is to get him prepared for the big day and his recovery.”

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