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Thursday, August 18, 2011

£8,000 on a dog facelift... and he still looks a bit ruff

By Daily Mail Reporter

A couple saved their Bloodhound dog from going blind - with an £8,000-pound facelift.

Junior's rare skin disorder meant he had not grown into his skin properly and the weight of the excess flesh above his face had caused it to fold and cover his eyes.

So concerned owners Denise and David Smart, of Selby, North Yorkshire, took him for the operation which was a complete success.

Before and after: Junior, a Bloodhound dog, had the excess skin cut away from his face in an £8,000 operation. Before the operation, left, he struggled to see

The couple told how they repeatedly took their five-year-old pooch to the vet where he at first had an eyelash removed.

But his condition did not improve and he began suffering from a problem called entropion which could have led to Junior - the offspring of a Crufts champion - permanently losing his sight.

Vets referred Denise and David to a specialist called Gary Lewin who performed the delicate facelift - which he later described as the most difficult he'd ever done - during a three-hour operation.

Junior's excess skin was removed allowing him to see clearly - and the couple say their pet has been given a new lease of life.

Parental support advisor Denise, 49, said: 'We got him when he was just a puppy and noticed he seemed to be in a lot of pain in his early life. He could hardly see and he used to get grumpy as a result.

'We have four other dogs and he was really twitchy with the others when they came up behind him.

'We took him to the vets and he had an eyelash removed because they thought that might have been scraping against his eye, but it didn't make much difference.

Dog-lover: Denise Smart and her husband David spent £8,000 getting specialist surgery for their dog. It took a surgeon three hours to perform the operation

'Then they thought one of his eyelashes was too big and they tried working on that, but that didn't solve the problem either.

'When he became fully grown us and the vets realised he had just not grown into his skin. It was just a freak quirk of fate, and the vet said he's never seen a case of this with a Bloodhound.'

Junior, whose father Fortitude was winner of Best in Breed at Crufts 2009, was referred to a consultation with Gary, who is based near Penrith in Cumbria. He then decided to go ahead with an operation he described as the most difficult he'd ever performed.

Sales manager David, 42, said: 'Gary said he'd done the same for about 500 spaniels, but the weight and volume on Junior's head made it the most difficult operation to do. It took three hours but it was worth it.

'He's a lot less grumpy and aggressive now. He can still be nervous, but he's a lot happier with life.

'Bloodhounds are very mischievous and are notorious for stealing things, and now Junior's sight is restored he's certainly living up to that reputation.

'We've had cordless phones, mobile phones, cameras, remote controls, spectacles and computer mice go missing since the operation and we normally find them chewed up in the garden.

'It's great that he is full of life again.'

He was left with a large scar down his head after last year's op and it has taken him until now to make a full recovery. The couple, who have no children, were covered by their Petplan insurance policy.

The pair have named their home 'The Dog House' and as well as Junior have Bloodhounds Jasper and Judge, and Basset Hounds Johnson and Jed.



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