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June & Tony Walker – Emma

June & Tony Walker – Emma

Emma, our high spirited and beautiful 15 month old White German Shepherd girl got hit by a car after getting away from my husband on Friday 11th July, 2008. Initially, we thought she’d been lucky and the damage wasn’t too bad; she just seemed badly shaken and was holding her paw up, but we immediately rushed her to our vet’s for fear of internal damage.

Our vet kept her in for xrays and observation. A few hours later, they phoned to let us know that, internally she was fine, however, her right paw was a mess: all of her metatarsal bones were broken, save one, which was dislocated and she had extensive soft tissue damage. We had two choices: amputation (they said they couldn’t splint the bones because of the horrendous damage and the fact that they are weight-bearing) or referral to a top midlands orthopedic surgery. Foolishly, we aren’t insured. They said treatment could amount to thousands of pounds, but although we have very little spare money, we love our animals, and so, for us, there was only ever one choice.

Surgery: Emma had 3 plates and 15 pins inserted into her paw. They wanted the bandage to remain on and dry until at least the following Friday. Unfortunately, even though almost the whole leg was bandaged, they had left the tip of Emma’s damaged paw poking out, and so, due to the paw weeping heavily; the bandage did get damp through no fault of her own. It was weeping so profusely it soaked her bedding, and consequently, her bandage too. The vet said it was because Emma had been biting her paw, but how could they have allowed her to?.

Post surgery the vets visited every day but made no comment, except to say that with the extensive soft tissue damage they could make no promises as to Em’s fully recovering the use of her paw. Subsequently, we attended our vet’s every two or three days for dressing changes. After a while she could weight bear but when the dressing came off the surgeon was clearly concerned and took a swab for analysis.

The wound was not healing. The results came back as MRSA. I was distraught, all I could think was that I had to ring our vet and ask him to explain everything to me in layman’s terms as soon as I got home from work; which he did. Months went by and despite numerous set-backs and trying several different types of antibiotic to find the best one to fight the particular strain of MRSA affecting Emma.

Now, Emma does have an almost imperceptible lameness, but apart from that, she still has her paw, and runs around like the road-runner (but with a lot more control from us!) She had her culture test early January 2009 and proved negative as a sufferer or carrier of the MRSA and is attending regular hydrotherapy to try and get her to use her poorly paw fully again. (She was in bandages so long; I think she forgot she could!)

My husband and I would like to say an enormous ‘THANK YOU’ to Jill Moss for all her help, invaluable guidance, advice, reassurance, encouragement and backing;

Jill does an extraordinary job; she and her foundation help the ‘powerless’ victims of the terrible MRSA bug and empowers them with her boundless energy, understanding, sympathy and knowledge. To think that this amazing organization was borne from sorrow and the awful, unnecessary tragedy of the loss of the beautiful Bella is nothing short of a miracle. Others might have just cried and ‘licked their wounds’ but not Jill. How many people knew that animals could contract MRSA? I certainly didn’t. Jill has shone a powerful spotlight on this and brought it to the public awareness; the foundation helps so many in so many countless ways: victim support, owner support and morale, liaising with professionals in order to bring about more effective ‘battle strategies’ against the bug. She is a true inspiration. Crufts 2009 Emma was the star of the Bella Moss Foundation stand and showed everyone how animals can survive MRSA.

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