Greek Rescue Dog Rocco is the Bee’s Knees Again After Pioneering Operation

A dog rescued from Greece after being involved in a car accident when he was just days old has been given a new lease of life after undergoing pioneering treatment here at Wear Referrals.

Our specialist-led team carried out a lifechanging total knee replacement on Rocco, a cross-breed who was brought back to the UK after being born to a feral mother on the streets of Athens.

After being hit by a car as a days-old puppy, Rocco was taken to a Greek vet practice for treatment by Christine Innes and Bruce Schlaitzer who, at the time, were living in the country.

The couple have since returned to Shotley Bridge, Northumberland, and with Rocco struggling to walk on his left hind leg, took him for a groundbreaking knee replacement procedure carried out by our talented head of orthopaedics Neil Burton.

Christine said: “We had seen this type of operation on the television but never dreamed Rocco would ever receive such advanced treatment.

“It was our local vets in Corbridge who recommended Wear Referrals as the place to go and we are so pleased with the care and treatment Rocco received there.

“It’s amazing. He has had a full knee replacement and can now finally run normally after a lifetime of problems with his left hind leg.”

Those problems began very early in Rocco’s eventful life. His mother was a feral dog from the streets of Porto Rafti, near Athens.

Rocco was badly injured in a road accident just days after being born and it was Christine and Bruce who were on hand to take him to the vets for treatment.

Christine explained: “We were living in Greece at the time and had seen the puppies when they were born.

“One of them wasn’t doing very well, he’d been involved in an accident, so we took him to the vets.

“The x-rays showed he had badly fractured his knee and the vets inserted three steel pins in a bid to repair the damage and that was it – suddenly the puppy was ours!”

Late last year, Rocco’s old injury started to impact on him dramatically, with Christine alarmed at his sudden deterioration.

“He’s always had problems with that leg. It’s three inches shorter than his other back leg so he’s always been lop-sided and ungainly but he started becoming increasingly lame on it and we realised we needed to act.”

A referral to Wear swiftly followed where our top specialist Neil and small animal surgery colleague Maciej Krukowski were quick to identify Rocco’s problem and offer a potential solution.

Neil said: “The original fracture, which was treated by the surgeon in Greece, healed but the thigh bone was not aligned as it should be.

“Osteoarthritis subsequently developed in the left knee joint, likely as a combination of the original trauma, the subsequent surgery and the way the fracture had healed.

“By the time I saw him, Rocco could only weight bear on the limb 50 per cent of the time, there was also marked muscle wastage and he was in persistent pain despite being on pain killing medication.

“The operation to perform a cementless BioMedtrix total knee replacement was successful and Rocco has been given physiotherapy and hydrotherapy here at Wear to rebuild the strength in the leg, which had been lost because of the years of discomfort due to osteoarthritis.”

Christine can barely believe the difference in Rocco and is full of praise for Neil’s expertise and the care provided by our dedicated team.

She added: “Everybody at Wear was terrific, we couldn’t fault them in any way. The care Rocco received was fantastic.

“He’s an absolutely wonderful dog, a real character and we’re so happy at how he has improved since the operation. He’s like a new dog.”