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Bailey's Journey

Bailey arrived at Holbrook in August 2020. He’s aged 2 and a gentle, loving dog who loves life. We knew he was slightly lame but at that point were unaware of the nature of his condition. Some x-rays were sent with him but unfortunately they were for a different dog.


We noticed a number of things, his tendency to lie down frequently, unusual in a young dog, and reduced bone density in his hip. He also had 10 stitches in his leg but we had no idea why. However he ran and played with such energy and obvious enjoyment that it was hard to believe he was in pain or that there was anything much wrong.


We managed to obtain the correct xrays but essentially we were in the dark as we had no information about his leg and how it had become damaged. Before we put him up for adoption, we asked the vets to investigate and further xrays were taken. To our dismay the vets reported that Bailey would need his leg removed. If this was not done then his leg would deteriorate and become more painful so there was little choice.


However, Viv, a member of our rehoming team, wasn’t ready to accept that there was no alternative and got in touch with a specialist vets who gives a discount to charities. They recommended a procedure known as femoral head excision rather than a total hip replacement. Femoral head excision is a salvage surgical procedure in which the femoral head is removed with the intention of eliminating bone to bone contact. It would get rid of the pain but allow Bailey to keep his leg. We were very excited at the prospect and asked the crucial question – how much would it cost after the charity discount. We are a small charity with few resources, completely reliant of the generosity of our supporters.


The quote was around £4000 on top of which there would be the cost of physiotherapy. We’d already had large vets bills for two other dogs and with lockdown there were few opportunities for fundraising. We were conscious of having asked our supporters to help fund the previous operation and were reluctant to ask for more. It seemed that we would have to turn down the more costly operation.


Viv is nothing if not tenacious and wasn’t prepared to let things rest there. She contacted her vet to find out whether he could perform the operation. To our delight he agreed and quoted around £1500, the same price as an amputation. We booked Bailey in for the operation and one of our amazing volunteers agreed to take Bailey to the vets and foster him while he recuperated.


On Monday 9th November Bailey went into the vets and we all waited anxiously for news.


Sadly when the vet attempted the procedure he found that the damage was too great and the leg had to be removed. It looked as though an attempt had been made previously and probably done more harm than good. We had such hope and were devastated with the result but we took comfort in the knowledge that Bailey would now be pain free.