Published: 00:00, 30 November 2016
| Updated: 10:45, 30 November 2016
A set of special wheels for a dog that was born with twisted front legs has saved her from being put down.
Wanda, a 10-month-old cocker spaniel, had a wobbly start to life when she was handed in to Eileen Mellis and Kerri Eilertsen-Feeney of Cinque Ports Rescue in Meryl Gardens, Deal.
With birth defects her forelegs were twisted 180 degrees and she could only shuffle about on her elbows.
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Wanda’s lust for life inspired the rescue centre to repeatedly go against veterinary advice to put her to sleep.
Instead, Mrs Mellis and Mrs Eilertsen-Feeney have spent time researching other options, finding just what they needed across the pond.
Mrs Mellis said: “Wanda has had two operations now to twist her legs the right way around, but her front legs are still very unstable.
“After spending the day with one of the top orthopaedic vets in the country she was CT scanned, which showed that both her shoulders and elbow joints were not correctly formed or aligned.
“It was not feasible to attempt the amount of innovative surgeries she would require and his opinion was that, even though she was happy and not in any pain, she should be put to sleep.
“We were both in total shock and took her home to give her a couple of lovely days before what we thought was the inevitable.”
That weekend they researched alternatives and discovered Eddie’s Wheels, which makes carts for animals with limb issues.
“I contacted them and they were only too happy to help.”
After taking some very precise measurements, the US firm custom made a carbon fibre wheelchair for Wanda, costing about £700 including customs charges, to have it sent to the UK.
Wanda’s very special delivery arrived last week, allowing her to join other dogs at the rescue centre on walks and outings.
Mrs Mellis said: “Going against veterinary advice is something we didn’t do lightly but on this occasion we knew Wanda and her lust for life, and we knew we had to give her the best chance of a normal life.
“Wanda loves her new wheels and the freedom it gives her.
“She is having short regular training sessions to get her used to using the cart, so it will take a few weeks before she becomes fully proficient.
“We are so glad we gave her this chance and we will be with her every step – or wheel – of the way.”
In years to come, Wanda may have to lose her worst forelimb because arthritis is likely to form in the deformed joints but so far her orthopaedic vet at Toachim House Veterinary Surgery, Faversham, is pleased with her progress, which is continually monitored.
All the while she is pain-free and enjoying life, they have pledged to do everything they can to help her.
Wanda attends weekly hydrotherapy sessions to strengthen her muscles and will remain in the care of Cinque Ports Rescue as she requires ongoing treatment.
Wanda and her furry friends have a wish list.
To make a donation towards her treatment or to find out how you can help the rescue centre visit cinqueportsrescue.org.uk/support