Video: Paralysed dog learns to walk again

Leah walks again (UC Davis Vet Med / Twitter)
Leah walks again (UC Davis Vet Med / Twitter)

A paralysed dog has managed to defy all odds and learn how to walk again, thanks to the persistence of a team of vets at UC Davis.

Leah, a four-year-old Border Collie, was kicked in the head by a deer. At first her owner thought Leah had only suffered a minor injury.

"She had a gash in her face and was recovering nicely, but on the third day she had a very devastating deterioration in her condition," said Fran Cole.

But then things went wrong.

"I had brought her home and she was unable to move, unable to lift her head, unable to move her tail."

Vets then discovered that Leah was actually paralysed and her skull had been dislocated from her spine. Her owner was faced with the real possibility she'd be paralysed forever.

"Most times when this happens, the animal or the person dies," says Karen Vernau, UC Davis chief of neurology.

"I said to him, 'Do you think my dog will ever walk again?'," Ms Cole says.

"And he said, 'If your dog walks again, it'll be the biggest feat of my residency', which is not a comforting statement."

Despite that, the vets didn't give up. Instead they operated, drilling away part of the skull and the bone fragments that were pressing on Leah's spinal cord.

Afterwards, Leah spent days doing water therapy, learning how to use her muscles again.

And luckily it worked, and Leah can now move her head, stand up, and walk around once more.