Frantic rescue of Wakefield dog who fell 40ft from seaside cliff onto rocks

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The owners of a Wakefield pooch who fell 40ft from a seaside cliff have praised vets for saving her life.

Miniature Dachshund Nellie shot off in pursuit of rabbits up a steep embankment beside the beach in Bridlington, leading to a frantic rescue attempt.

Owner Jacqui Darrington, from Brierley, was on holiday at the seaside, left her three other dogs with kind-hearted strangers to rush after her beloved pooch – only to get stuck up the cliff.

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Onlookers called HM Coastguard while passers-by rallied to help track four-year-old Nellie as she darted in and out of rabbit holes high up the verge.

Dachshund Nellie with Ellie Holbrook at Chantry Vets where she is reunited with vet Fraser Reddick. Photo: © Chantry VetsDachshund Nellie with Ellie Holbrook at Chantry Vets where she is reunited with vet Fraser Reddick. Photo: © Chantry Vets
Dachshund Nellie with Ellie Holbrook at Chantry Vets where she is reunited with vet Fraser Reddick. Photo: © Chantry Vets

Jacqui managed to slide to safety and followed Nellie’s progress from the beach below until the dog ran out of steam, caught sight of Jacqui and moved towards her – plunging almost 40 feet from the overhanging cliffs onto rocks.

Thanks to a huge team effort, Jacqui managed to move Nellie to a vet practice in Bridlington for emergency treatment where x-rays revealed a fractured scapula - shoulder blade - and injuries to her ribs.

Once stable, Nellie was discharged to her own practice, Chantry Vets in Wakefield, where a CT scan captured detailed internal images to determine the extent of her injuries and whether surgery was required.

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Senior vet Fraser Reddick said: “The scapula is a flat, broad bone and overlays other bones and soft tissue, so it is very difficult to see the extent of fractures with traditional 2D x-ray images.

A 3D reconstruction showing Nellie’s three rib fractures. Photo: © Chantry VetsA 3D reconstruction showing Nellie’s three rib fractures. Photo: © Chantry Vets
A 3D reconstruction showing Nellie’s three rib fractures. Photo: © Chantry Vets

"Trauma to this area and the ribs can also cause significant soft tissue damage and lung injury which can’t be assessed fully on plain x-ray.

“The CT scan showed a complex fracture of the scapula as well as three rib fractures, and also identified bruising to her lung tissue.

“Despite the trauma, Nellie’s injuries did not require surgical treatment and healed on their own, with six weeks of rest and pain relief. A repeat CT scan to check the healing showed that the scapular fracture was healing well. Nellie is doing very well and is back to normal in herself.

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“This sort of case really shows the massive benefit of having onsite CT – something that has only been possible relatively recently outside of large referral centres in the veterinary world.”

Jacqui paid tribute to Fraser and the veterinary team at the Brindley Way veterinary hospital for their care of Nellie who has gradually returned to normal exercise since the accident.

She said: “Nellie has been very lucky, and we are so grateful to Fraser and everyone involved at Chantry Vets.

Jacqui said Nellie will be kept on an extendable lead from now on so it doesn’t happen again.

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“Dachshunds were originally bred as hunting dogs, and Nellie still has that instinct. The only place we can let her off the lead is the beach because she doesn’t like the water and doesn’t tend to go far.

" Her recall is fine unless there’s a better offer - and on this occasion, there were rabbits up the cliffs."She was just laid there. It was awful. The coastguard was really good. Everyone was supportive and came together to help, and I really appreciate that.”

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