I had been in my new role as full time vet for the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre for just over a month when the call came in from a local inspector. 8 dogs had been abandoned in Redmile and after a call from a member of the public, the dog warden and RSPCA inspector Kate Burris attended the scene to find a group of dogs who needed urgent care and examination. Having worked in busy general practice for the last 7 years, I am sympathetic that fitting 8 dogs needing emergency treatment into an evening consulting time doesn’t happen easily, so Kate needed to find a vet who could examine the animals as soon as possible and administer the treatment they needed. The phone call came to us. Our centre manager Ella immediately agreed that the dogs could be brought to us and the staff were informed of the situation that was about to unfold.
Not only did every member of staff look after the centre animals under their care as usual that evening, but they also stayed late without any hesitation, to aid and assist the examinations of these dogs in need. Some dogs were in such shock they would not walk and that’s not easy when you weigh over 40kg. Each animal was weighed, given a full clinical examination, assessed for the treatment they required and then medication was dispensed ready for administration. In addition, none of the dogs were microchipped, and so this was done as a matter of urgency. All of the dogs were severely matted with faeces and dirt. Seven out of eight of the dogs needed antibiotic treatment to help with infections caused by their conditions. The animals were out of immediate danger and needed time to recover from the shock of their ordeal, but returned over the following two days.
On their return, each animal was re-examined and improvements were seen in every animal after receiving their medication. Comprehensive blood tests were taken to check for any longer lasting damage caused by their condition. Again the centre staff stepped up to the mark – first clipping all the mats off, before washing and grooming each dog. Every dog was groomed from nose to tail, with nothing missed in between. It took a calm approach with them all as they were understandably cautious of us but these were positive steps to start rebuilding their trust. Gamston Kennelgate also stepped in and massively helped us by grooming three of the dogs for us so they could be rid of the mats and feeling better as soon as possible. 48 hours after the initial arrival of these dogs, all 8 were groomed, fully assessed and had started the treatment they needed.
The transformation was incredible. The dog who wouldn’t walk 2 days previously was trotting and playing. The infections were showing signs of improvement. Some dogs had lost over 19% of their previous body weight just by being clipped and groomed. The brown dogs that arrived were now cream and all of their tails were beginning to wag! Whilst these dogs have got quite a long road to recovery, both physically and mentally, they are now well on their way now after the attention they have received. I am so proud to be part of this fantastic team that delivers such care to some of the animals that need it most.
These dogs will now be helped to rehabilitate over the coming weeks at the centre. We are all so grateful for the lovely comments we have received supporting our care of these dogs. The awareness of this case has been hugely helped by it’s sharing on social media and in the press. Kate continues to drive the investigation of how these animals came to be in these conditions. If you have any further information that may help please call the National RSPCA helpline on 0300 1234999. We will give regular updates on the dogs and their progress but please be reassured that they are in good hands with the team at the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre.