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Britain’s largest canine helped by dog lovers


Samson the Great Dane Newfoundland cross-bred dog who is thought to be the largest dog in Great Britain came to fame in July 2007, when he appeared in the national press and on the BBC. Samson was re-homed by the RSPCA, at six months of age, with Mr and Mrs Woods, having been returned to the RSPCA by former owners.

More recently 19 stone 10lbs Samson has been in the news again in an appeal for funds to pay for an operation on a ruptured cruciate ligament. The cost of the operation was said to cost £1,400. Generous dog lovers from around the world sent money, and soon enough was raised to pay for the operation. Although the RSPCA received the funds on behalf of Mr and Mrs Woods, it was decided that the PDSA would carry out the operation.

Mrs Woods said, ‘PDSA have been brilliant because it has so far cost quite a lot of money but unfortunately they can't pay for such expensive surgery.’

Money not needed to pay for the operation will be donated to the PDSA charity. Mrs Woods is disabled and lives on benefits, with her husband, 65, who is her carer in Wyberton, Lincolnshire.
Hopes for a quick recovery for Samson have been brought into question, as Mr and Mrs Woods have been told he might be too large to survive a life-saving operation. His size means he may never recover. A vet will give the couple a definite answer this week. Mrs Woods said: ‘We're worried Samson might not be able to get up again. He may have to be put down even if he has surgery.’

A statement from the PDSA said that the PDSA is pleased to have been able to help Samson and his owners. However, the surgery he now needs is of such an advanced nature that it requires specialist treatment, beyond the scope of PDSA services. In line with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Guide to Professional Conduct, available treatment options are discussed with the owners, though not all treatments can be made available through the charitable service itself. In Samson’s case, because of his size and the complexity of his condition, undertaking this unique surgery does require specialist surgical intervention.