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23 January 2024
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Case Study

Miracle Pup Ariel, the Cocker Spaniel with a Mermaid’s Tail, Triumphs Over Rare Congenital Anomaly after Specialist Surgery at Langford Vets

Miracle Pup Ariel, the Cocker Spaniel with a Mermaid’s Tail, Triumphs Over Rare Congenital Anomaly after Specialist Surgery at Langford Vets

Ariel is a five-month-old Cocker Spaniel whose story has received a lot of attention from around the world! After being abandoned at 11 weeks of age, she was taken in by Greenacres Rescue. Initial examinations and investigations by Fenton Vets and the SMART clinic found that she had two additional limbs fused together and an extra vulva. The additional limbs resembled a mermaid’s tail leading to the name Ariel.  

Although Ariel was initially referred to one of our Orthopaedic specialists, due to the multiple complex abnormalities, other specialists from the Soft Tissue SurgeryRadiology and Anaesthesia teams were also involved in creating her tailored treatment plan. At the beginning of January, Ariel had surgery to remove her ovaries. Once she had recovered from this surgery, the soft tissue surgery team consisting of specialist surgeon Ed Friend and resident Aaron Lutchman operated to remove her additional limbs. Great care was taken not to damage any of the nerves or blood vessels to the right hindlimb that was being preserved to ensure this remained as functional as possible. Ariel will need a prolonged period of physiotherapy to try to build up muscle mass on her remaining right hindlimb to compensate for the missing muscles but is already exceeding expectations. 

“Ariel was a complicated little dog whose care required close collaboration across several of our specialist led teams including Orthopaedics, Soft Tissue Surgery, Anaesthesia and Radiology. We are delighted such a lovely dog has recovered from her surgery well. As a centre committed to career long learning we are proud to innovate and treat pets like Ariel. Ariel deservedly has many devoted supporters; it was a great pleasure to treat her and work with Greenacres Rescue.” 
Vicki Black, Hospital Director 

“Ariel was a complicated little dog whose care required close collaboration across several of our specialist led teams including Orthopaedics, Soft Tissue Surgery, Anaesthesia and Radiology. We are delighted such a lovely dog has recovered from her surgery well. As a centre committed to career long learning we are proud to innovate and treat pets like Ariel. Ariel deservedly has many devoted supporters; it was a great pleasure to treat her and work with Greenacres Rescue.” 

Vicki Black, Hospital Director 

About Langford Vets 

As an educational veterinary group, with a not-for-profit owner (University of Bristol), Langford Vets are proud to provide your pet with a superior quality of care through our extensive range of specialist capabilities. We have the largest team of American and European Specialists in the Southwest of England. We are members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Practice Standards Scheme. 

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As featured on BBC News and other media outlets from around the world.

Ariel Update - 27th June 2024

Hear the latest update on Ariel and her new family and from surgeon Aaron Lutchman, in this BBC Wales interview broadcast on 27th June 2025. Skip to 52 minutes.

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