ROXY Manning was referred by her vet to Wear Referrals near Stockton-on-Tees with uncoordinated walking and weakness affecting her back legs.

An advanced MRI scan showed that she had a tumour next to her spine that was growing and pressing on her spinal cord, interfering with the sensation and nerves controlling movement of her back legs.

Although eleven-year-old Roxy is an older lady, her committed owners knew that she was usually bright, happy and active.

The Northern Echo:

Even though it may not have been possible to safely remove the mass, and despite the risk of it being cancer, they wanted to give her the best opportunity for a comfortable and long life.

Dr Josep Brocal, a European Specialist in veterinary neurology, performed incredibly delicate surgery to gently tease the tumour off the surface of Roxy’s spinal cord.

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The operation lasted several hours, and Roxy quickly recovered from the surgery.

She was soon discharged and able to enjoy Christmas at home with her family (even though Dr Brocal missed the work Christmas party because he was operating on her!).

Owner, Lorna Manning, from Newcastle, admits she feared the worst when Dr Brocal had explained the full, dramatic extent of Roxy’s problems.

The Northern Echo:

She said: “I was a sobbing mess, I thought I was going to lose her. It was a very anxious time.

“Josep and the staff at Wear were wonderful, though. He operated just before Christmas and was very confident Roxy would be fine.

“I went to visit her at Wear on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and she was recovering so well that I was able to bring her home on Boxing Day.

“I was thrilled. It was the biggest and best Christmas present ever!”

The Northern Echo:

Dr Brocal told us: “Taking away a big tumour like this next to chest and the spinal cord is delicate work but using MRI planning and with our familiarity operating next to the spinal cord every day, everything went to plan.

"We’re delighted with Roxy’s recovery.”

Mrs Manning added: “We’re grateful for all that Josep and the team have done for Roxy.”

Colleagues at Wear Referrals told us that they saved Dr Brocal some cake and they’ll make sure he gets to sit on Father Christmas’s knee next year.

They think he’ll ask for a spinal burr.