Zippy the puppy sounds his first bark in Snetterton

A puppy who was left unable to bark or eat properly after suffering a severe injury has been given a new lease of life.

Zippy, a 10-month old golden terrier, arrived at the Dogs Trust in Snetterton with such a badly broken jaw that the bones had fused together leaving him unable to open his mouth by more than four millimetres.

He was taken to the rescue centre after being found wandering the streets three weeks ago where staff believe he may have been abused as a puppy. A lack of medical treatment then led to the bones fixing together. The pupppy could not eat and staff were forced to mash up his food and sit with him at meal times.

Zippy is now in fine voice however after an hour-long operation to reset his jaw at Dick White Referrals specialist animal hospital in Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket in Suffolk. During the operation a new hinge was created for his jaw using scar tissue from his left temple.

Assistant manager Fay Durrant said: 'The way it was fused meant it was likely to have happened when he was very young. When he came to us, in human terms he was depressed.

'He was used to having this problem for so long he didn't realise he could open his mouth. He's now learnt to bark for attention and there's no stopping him really.

'We noticed he'd never been able to pick up toys before but now he can bury them in his bed and have fun like that. He's a very bright lad. It's a shame he didn't receive the medical treatment he needed when he was young.'

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She added: 'He's just one of many dogs we get here which are looking for homes.

'He was very fortunate he came to us to get the care he needed. We're noticing an increase in people struggling to pay their vet bills and whether that's contributed to his injury I can't say.'

Dr Pieter Nelissen performed the surgery and said Zippy should have no further pain or problems. He has also found a new home - with a vetinary nurse at the Six Mile Bottom surgery.

For more information on rehoming dogs visit the Dogs Trust website at www.dogstrust.org.uk.