A squabble with a squirrel left a dog’s leg so badly scarred she needed a significant skin graft.
The six-year-old Labrador-cross, called Chloe, skinned her right foreleg on a tree branch after she chased the rodent while out with her dog walker.
The squirrel escaped but Chloe needed extensive care at London Vet Specialists (LVS) in Belsize Park, where Head of Surgery Dr Janet Kovak McClaran took charge of the challenging case.
Dr McClaran, an American and European specialist in soft tissue surgery, said: “Chloe had suffered a major skin injury to her elbow.
“Skin loss in such a highly mobile area is always challenging as each movement and motion can cause delayed healing time and potential wound complications.
“So it proved with Chloe. She is a lively and active dog, and it was clear repairing this wound would not be a simple process.
“We ultimately decided a skin graft was the best option, a procedure that is frequently used in human medicine but less commonly in veterinary treatment.
“Chloe underwent surgery to harvest skin from her side, which was then carefully transferred and applied to the cleaned wound.
“After the graft, an immobilising bandage was applied to keep Chloe’s leg stretched so the new skin would have time to successfully bond with the wound and the old skin.
“She spent almost two weeks with us in hospital as we closely monitored the graft and her recovery.
“A key part of this was keeping her calm and relaxed to minimise any motion or activity that could damage the fragile new skin.
“Finally, the team was happy that the graft had successfully taken and was healing well so the immobilising bandage was removed, and Chloe was allowed to go home.”
Grateful owners Ian and Danica Kwok, from Camden, are full of praise for the painstaking work of Dr McClaran and the expert LVS team.
Ian said: “We were so scared and concerned but Chloe has made an amazing recovery and the graft has incorporated very well.
“Her wound has fully healed and she has regained the muscle mass she had lost as a result of the leg being immobilised after the operation.
“Chloe was also very anxious at first but the LVS team took the time to connect with her and form a bond of trust which helped put her at ease and we think this really contributed to the healing process.”
Danica added: “Dr McClaran and her team were amazing in anticipating all our concerns, and really showed incredible care and attention for Chloe – it was as if she was their own.
“The whole team at LVS were professional and always kept us informed of Chloe’s progress and were careful to manage her medical care and emotional needs.
“We can’t imagine a better team to take care of Chloe at her time of need and would definitely recommend LVS. They were first class.”
LVS is a multidisciplinary veterinary referral facility which offers expert care in anaesthesia and analgesia, critical care, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology and surgery.