Hetty’s Story – Ruptured Toe Ligament

Belgian Malinois in a lake

Meet Hetty, a lovely three-year-old Belgian Malinois, who is a dog with a very special job – she’s trained in scent detection and tracking with the UK College of Scent Dogs (UKCSD) and has been specifically trained to track lost dogs!

Sadly she was referred to our orthopaedics team as an emergency after a recent spell of lameness in her right forelimb suddenly worsened.

Diagnosis and surgery

Hetty was found to have bruising and swelling of her 5th digit. Instability was found at the level of the proximal interphalangeal joint (middle toe joint), and a small bone fragment was found on her CT scan.


Under the care of ECVS Resident Surgeon Eirik Kvale, Hetty had surgery to remove the bone fragment and repair a complete rupture of the medial collateral ligament of the 5th digit last week and has returned for regular bandage changes since.

ECVS Resident Surgeon Eirik Kvale, Fitzpatrick Referrals

ECVS Resident Surgeon Eirik Kvale

Belgian Malinois patient at Fitzpatrick Referrals Orthopaedics & Neurology

Hetty pictured with Auxiliary Nurse Becky, the day after surgery at Fitzpatrick Referrals Orthopaedics and Neurology practice.

Hetty’s training

Hetty’s training in tracking lost dogs has been going really well under the instruction of her mum and Dr Robert Hewings from UKCSD. She currently has a 100% track record having found every dog she’s been trialled to find, including one dog which was lost for three years after becoming feral.

In six weeks’ time, she’ll hopefully be fully recovered and ready to return to her important job. Hetty will soon be officially licensed to become the UK’s first licenced sniffer dog to track lost dogs!

Thank you, Hetty for your service to animals. We wish you all the best for your bright future.

Meet the surgeon: Dr Eirik Kvale

Read more about our orthopaedic service

Fitzpatrick Referrals