A much-loved kitten who effectively died for 26 minutes following a heart attack is on the road to recovery thanks to the multidisciplinary team here at Willows.

Eleven-month-old Bella was rushed to us with suspected lily toxicity. Lilies are extremely poisonous to cats, including the water they sit in, with lily toxicity causing acute kidney injury.

In Bella’s case, while hospitalised, she suffered a cardiac arrest (heart attack) which required almost 30 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

She was effectively dead for all of that time and has since had to learn to walk and eat again. The severity of the medical emergency had a profound impact on Bella’s health.

Not only did she experience seizures due to the prolonged CPR but the incident also resulted in blindness. However, her owner has praised the skills of our clinicians who saved Bella and gave her a second chance at life.

The beloved kitten’s plight started after coming into contact with lilies following the funeral of a close family member of one of her owners.

At first, it was thought she might have escaped the worst but she subsequently suffered a heart attack.

Dee Flora, Bella’s owner who lives in Solihull, said: “We were absolutely mortified. We had just lost a parent and weren’t prepared to lose Bella, too. We were determined to try our best to get her better and home.

“She has beaten all the odds that were against her. Bella is running, jumping on tops of doors, purring, playing and having a great time. We are so grateful to the team at Willows for saving her life.”

Bella’s recovery has been possible thanks to a multidisciplinary approach here at Willows, in which we were able to call on the skills of our emergency and critical care, anaesthesia, physiotherapy and neurology teams. Bella was hospitalised with us for more than two weeks as she made her extraordinary recovery.

Fernanda Camacho, American Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care here at Willows, said: “Surviving prolonged CPR and being discharged from hospital is very rare, as only about one in 20 cases enjoy this outcome.

“Pretty much like a person after such a severe event, Bella has also had to learn some of the basics from scratch, such as eating and walking. She is still recovering but she can currently run, jump and eat well.

Physiotherapy has been key to Bella’s progression, to ensure she would not get a muscle contracture and to also teach her to walk again.

“Bella’s case clearly highlights the dangers that lilies can pose to cats. We would urge any cat owners who think their pet is displaying signs of contact with lilies to seek urgent veterinary attention.”


A cat who suffered from multiple injuries and was left in a coma-like state for three days having been hit by a car, has made an incredible recovery thanks to our team here at Willows.

It was touch and go for 13-year-old Simba after he was involved in the road accident, but he is happily now back to his old self following our specialist-led multidisciplinary approach to his treatment.

Even though he had no visible signs of head trauma, Simba had suffered a variety of injuries including multiple pelvic fractures, fluid in his chest and bruising to his lungs. Such was the seriousness of Simba’s condition, he was also comatose for three days before showing any signs of improvement.

It was following treatment in our dedicated intensive care unit that he started to recover and his road to full recovery was made possible thanks to the collaborative approach to care by our emergency and critical care, neurology, orthopaedic, anaesthesia and diagnostic imaging specialists.

Simba’s owner, Rebecca Tandy from Worcester, said: “We were very concerned because Simba had to have a lot of tests and we were unsure if he was going to make it as he was just so unwell.

“He was given only a 30 per cent chance of surviving but with all the care and attention from the multidisciplinary team at Willows, he made it.

“After discharge he still needed a few weeks in a crate before he was back to his usual self. He now has an amazing quality of life and can jump and play with other animals.”

Simba did not require any surgery on his head following the accident but did need an operation to repair his damaged pelvis.

Fernanda Camacho, American Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care here at Willows, led Simba’s treatment and explained: “Simba’s a remarkable cat and has astounded all of us with his recovery.

“He was quite unusual as he showed no signs of head trauma but was in a coma-like state for three days.

“We had to explain to his owners the severity of his condition but also advised them to stay positive, as cats are amazing at defying the odds and pulling through big traumas. “Simba responded well to treatment, including a blood transfusion, pelvic surgery, feeding via a tube, excellent ICU nursing care and it was a real team effort to get him back home to Worcester. It’s fantastic to hear he is completely back to his old self.”


A dog’s determination to walk again after being paralysed in a road traffic accident has astounded our expert team here at Willows.

Six-year-old Caesar, an American bulldog, was left with a fractured neck that meant he was paralysed in his front legs and had very little movement in his back legs, after being hit by a lorry.

However, our team who provided specialist-led multidisciplinary treatment to Caesar in the aftermath of his injuries have hailed his willpower to get back on all paws, leading a member of the team to proclaim: “Caesar is the most determined dog we have ever met.”

Caesar’s brush with death started when he ran across a busy road after snapping his lead when he became anxious of another dog.

Grateful owner Nigel Smith, from Worcester, said: “My wife was with Caesar when it happened and she was left distraught by it for a long time. There was a chance he wouldn’t survive the surgery or ever recover.

“The surgeon was very clear in the diagnosis and explanation of the treatment. They looked after him tremendously and were very aware of his anxiety around other dogs. I’m sure they had a soft spot for him.

“Amazingly, he’s now almost 100 per cent being back to how he used to be. He does have things that only we notice, such as a slight weakness on his right side and a droop in his right eye, but he does everything he used to do.

“The team at Willows do incredible things that would not normally seem possible.”

Caesar spent eight days with us after his surgery, which was performed by our head of neurology Sebastian Behr and our resident in veterinary neurology Victoria Indjova and has since undergone rehabilitation treatment at the hospital, including veterinary physiotherapy.

Victoria said: “Caesar wanted to move and walk as soon as he recovered from surgery. Our rehabilitation team started assisted physiotherapy exercises which encouraged him to start moving again.

“He enjoyed his rehabilitation sessions so much and became stronger each day until he was literally pulling us around the yard. Only eight days after surgery, Caesar was walking without any support from the hoist.

“Just three months later, Caesar has made a complete recovery and is back to running around his favourite field.

“It was a real team effort, involving our neurology specialists, dedicated neurology nurses, physiotherapists, nurses and veterinary care assistants.”