A three-year-old dog has had a last-minute reprieve thanks to one of the UK’s leading referral vet centres.

Springer Spaniel Bandit was diagnosed with a tumour at the base of his brain which was also attached to his spinal cord, meaning he was slowly being paralysed.

Disraught owner Katrina Osmotherly, from Laindon, was left with little choice but to consider having the youngster put down and to end his suffering.

But Southfields Veterinary Specialists, also in Laindon, have been able to perform a life-changing operation to help Bandit and offer him a much brighter future.

Katrina said: “I was hysterical and thought it was all so cruel as he was only three years old. I didn’t want him to suffer so I decided I had to put him to sleep.

“In the end, I couldn’t do it. I stood there with the vet, a terrific man called Guillaume Albertini, who told me the tumour was operable and I realised I had to give Bandit a chance or I’d forever be asking myself ‘what if’.”


Ane, an RCVS and European specialist in neurology, explained: “Bandit’s MRI scan had revealed a well-defined tumour growing within the left side of the spinal canal at the lowest point of the brain stem, and extending to the back and front.

“Bandit returned a few days later for surgery, which was quite challenging as the tumour was attached to the spinal cord. In an intricate, three-hour operation we removed the vast majority of the lesion, with tests later confirming that, happily, it was a benign meningioma.”

Katrina was thrilled, adding: “That was such a relief and a real lift but it still wasn’t the end of the story.

“The operation had successfully taken out most of the tumour but they couldn’t remove it all as it was located so close to the spinal cord.

“There was a risk the small remnants of the tumour could re-grow, so Bandit needed to undergo an intensive course of radiotherapy.”

Southfields boasts a state-of-the-art linear accelerator - a hi-tech radiotherapy machine that accurately targets the affected area.


Bandit returned home for a few weeks after he’d recovered from his surgery but then had to return to the vets to start his course of 20 radiotherapy fractions.

It consisted of five radiotherapy sessions a week for four weeks.

But he has come through the treatment well and was handed a special treat by Katrina when he returned home for good.

She added: “He is an absolute miracle, a real superstar and is so much happier and healthier. He’s just enjoyed his first day out after all he’s been through – the operation, being in intensive care and then the radiotherapy – and we took a walk to Southfields to see everyone there.

“The specialists, vets and all the nurses were fantastic and went above and beyond in looking after him and they were so pleased to see him again looking so well.

“I realise now he must have been feeling so unwell for so long but now he’s almost back to normal. “I decided he needed a treat, so I ordered him a special cake with his photo on it and a message in icing that said ‘You’re a brave boy. You deserve a cake as you’re a star’.”

To find out more information about Southfields Veterinary Specialists, go to www.southfields.co.uk.