A distressed Ginny from Chelsea arrives at Fitzpatrick’s with her beloved and doted upon miniature dachsund, Lilly-Belle, who has lost the use of her back legs.  Lilly-Belle is no ordinary dog- she’s not only a best friend to Ginny, but a ‘life enhancer’ to all who meet her, with her own Facebook page. With no insurance and her family abroad, Ginny has to face a difficult financial decision; to proceed with the expensive treatment for her pet, or keep the money put aside for a special fund…


 Lilly was referred to Fitzpatrick Referrals as an emergency when she became wobbly on her hind limbs and was unable to stand. Suspecting a problem with one of the discs in Lilly-Belle’s back, her vet referred Ginny and Lilly to the team at Fitzpatrick Referrals for further investigation.



An MRI scan of Lilly’s spine revealed degeneration of the discs throughout her spine. A large volume of disc material from one of the disc spaces has spilled out of the disc and was causing major compression of the Lilly’s spinal cord. Ginny was caught in a situation no dog-lover wants to be in, deciding the best thing to do for her beloved friend and constant companion. With no pet insurance to rely on, Ginny had to think very carefully about what to do, with the hope of ultimately doing the very best thing for Lilly. As Ginny says:

Lilly is a life enhancer to all who meet her, and I can’t imagine life without her

Ginny decided that Lilly meant more to her than the hope of a big wedding one day, and decided to press on with surgery using money from her future wedding fund. Noel performed a surgical procedure called a hemilaminectomy to relieve the compression on the spinal cord that would hopefully enable her to use her legs again.

Following surgery Lilly remained at Fitzpatrick Referrals for intensive rehabilitation with our team of ACPAT registered physiotherapists. Whilst the prognosis was still guarded, Lilly’s early recovery was encouraging. Physiotherapy exercises and hydrotherapy helped build up Lilly’s strength. Her improvement was progressive, but slow!

The day finally came for Ginny to take Lilly home and she could not wait, nearly knocking Noel off his feet getting into the consulting room!

Fortunately all is now well and Lilly walks normally again. Even though MRI scans, spinal surgery, nursing care and rehabilitation all costs money, there is absolutely no doubt that everyone feels that it was money well spent. After all – you can’t put a price on love, companionship and happiness!

At Fitzpatrick Referrals we always do everything we can to be financially responsible and to offer all of the options for all of the animals at all times. We believe in transparency and being up-front. Unfortunately healthcare doesn’t come free, and there are many people and many costs involved in the patient journey at a referral hospital. We feel that everyone deserves to make their own decisions in this regard and we feel that our moral responsibility is to work together with all animal-lovers to always give the best possible value, to be fair and reasonable, and ultimately to act in the best interest of each and every patient presented to us, according to the wishes of the family involved.

We are so very happy to share Ginny’s joy in Lilly’s wonderful recovery.