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Bonnie bouncing back from tetanus

PUBLISHED: 12:02 18 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:46 08 July 2010

Devoted owners Yvonne and Nigel Webster can't wait until their senior sheepdog Bonnie is back bounding about on the farm, keeping a 350-strong flock of ewes and lambs under control.

Devoted owners Yvonne and Nigel Webster can't wait until their senior sheepdog Bonnie is back bounding about on the farm, keeping a 350-strong flock of ewes and lambs under control.

For the couple, of School Farm, Scoulton, near Watton, have been through an anxious couple of weeks after the nine-year-old border collie contracted the potentially-fatal condition of tetanus through a paw wound.

This is relatively uncommon in dogs - which are 600 times more resistant to the organism than people - but it can be fatal in up to half the cases.

But thanks to the speedy diagnosis by Dereham vet Clive Kennedy, Bonnie is back home after two weeks of specialist treatment.

She should be back working in the fields in July.

“I am delighted that Bonnie is back home with us,” said Yvonne. “She is not only my best working dog but also my great friend.

“She is one of my main tools and I could not do the job without her, she knows all the fields and working the sheep without her has been a huge challenge. I am so happy to have my 'school mistress' back again,” she said.

Vet Mr Kennedy, of veterinary surgeons Larwood and Kennedy, referred Bonnie to specialist neurological surgeon Giunio Bruto Cherubini at Dick White Referrals, a veterinary referral centre, near Cambridge, and the condition was confirmed.

“Bonnie was exhibiting many of the typical signs of the disease.

“In particular, the characteristic muscle contractions had started to cause difficulties in eating, drinking, and breathing.

“She was also hypersensitive to light and sound,” said Mr Cherubini.

Treatment was started immediately and Bonnie was given antibiotics, muscle relaxants, anti-epileptic drugs, vitamins and intravenous fluids to combat her dehydration.

Between treatments, Bonnie was kept in an isolation unit so she was in a quiet environment away from light and sound.

Recovery rates can be up to 90pc if the animals are treated within an intensive care facility.

Mrs Webster said she had never heard of tetanus in a dog and the animals were not routinely vaccinated against it.

She does have two other working sheepdogs but they are young, less experienced and still being trained.

Although Bonnie was insured, the Websters were grateful to be offered a generous discount because the owners of the specialist referral centre understood the importance of Bonnie's role on the farm.

“We are very grateful to the whole team for their generosity as well as their expertise,” said Mr Webster.

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