A young Labrador has learnt to walk again after a Wakefield veterinarian saved her from a rare attack of tumours.
Three-year-old Ember had to have a hind leg amputated after it was damaged beyond reconstruction by the growth of fatty lumps on her muscles.
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David Barker, the surgeon at Paragon Veterinary Referrals who operated on Ember, revealed how the lumps, called infiltrative lipomas, grew and spread aggressively.
“Ember came to us with a large swelling on her left hind limb," David explained.
"We diagnosed large infiltrative lipomas, a form of lipoma which is not common, and unfortunately for Ember these benign lesions were extensive.
“A CT scan showed that the lipomas had infiltrated into the muscles of the thigh and gluteal regions with devastating results.
“Surgery was the only option and required removal of the limb, along with the gluteal muscles and part of the pelvis."
The lipomas spread up through Ember’s leg into her pelvis and, most damagingly, in between her muscles.
Fortunately, Ember’s surgery went well and she quickly learned to walk again, returning home a few days later.
Owner Carra Howard, from Hull, admits she was worried about the impact of the amputation on Ember and asked the staff at Paragon for help before she visited for the first time.
Carra said: “I asked the staff to send me some photos so I wasn’t shocked and upset by what she now looked like.
“I didn’t want to transmit any worry or upset to Ember when I saw her, I just wanted to give her a big hug and lots of love and reassure her all was going to be OK.
“When I did eventually get to see her, she was slipping a lot and losing her balance which was a bit alarming but it was so exciting to get her back.
“She was quite needy and seemed worried at first but now she’s doing very well and is improving every single day.”
Carra, a teacher at Bishop Burton Agricultural College near Beverley, is keen for Ember’s case to highlight the threat of infiltrative lipomas, which are uncommon.
She added: “It all started when she was about one year old. At first it was just one lump on her leg and then others started coming up.
“I wasn’t too worried at that stage because they were benign and not cancerous and this was proven after biopsies. But when they kept growing and spreading, I decided that was enough and I didn’t want them to get any bigger.
“I took Ember to have the lumps removed and the vets said they had taken out as much of the fatty lumps as possible but warned me there could be more growing between the muscles.
“Sure enough, within five or six months, the lumps were growing back and I wanted a second opinion. This is when I was referred straight away to Paragon for specialist care.
“It’s still not great to hear your dog must lose one of its limbs but I knew it was for the best and we could then both learn how to go forward together.
“I can’t thank Paragon’s staff enough for the work they have done with Ember, along with the support I had once I got her home. I will be forever thankful for giving Ember a new lease of life.”