Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Stray Puppy (Part 1)

I was at work last night. The dog warden brought in a staffy puppy. He is very sweet. Someone found him Sunday and kept him overnight. They finally rang the dog warden Monday evening to say when they had found it and it had been limping.

He was limping all right, the femur was fractured and the leg was literally "swinging in the wind". It is too high a fracture for us to put a supporting dressing on so he has had a strong dose of pain relief and anti inflammatory. He may have a concious x-ray overnight if he lies still enough.
He had some food when he came in so a GA is out. If not then he will have a GA Tuesday and the surgeon will assess him. I do not know what will happen to the pup, chances are it will be repaired and rehomed but that will depend on the x-ray.

If you find an animal and there is anything amiss please make sure that you contact the dog warden or rspca, as soon as you find them. Even if they are fit they need to be taken to someone (vet, rescue centre,dog warden, etc) that deals with strays who can scan them for a microchip and hopefully trace the owner.
The RSPCA in the NW are often slow at collecting, blame the head office not the ACO. They do a bloody hard job in the face of extreme abuse often over how long they take. There are about 4 ACO (animal collection officers) and they cover a huge area, the whole of the north west UK.
The local dog wardens may also be slow. Help them all by arranging to take the animal in to a vet, ask them to let the vet know you will take it in and they can arrange collection from there.

By law UK vets have to offer first aid, even if that is just putting an animal to sleep. I know some practices that begrudge even pain relief and l have had to sneak it to them with a junior vets ok on the strong drugs l have used. Nothing is noted and drugs given passed on verbally so only the nurses and one vet knows what’s been given and when. A nurse or vet will sneak back overnight unpaid to give more pain relief. Yes it is shameful but the animals will always have someone in the practice to supply their needs above or below the management radar.

Where l went last night they are the opposite. Blood tests, x-rays and general anaesthetics, chest drains, feeding tubes, oxygen therapy, fluid therapy about 90% of the strays need iv fluids and all drugs are supplied.
Each animals needs are assessed. Uninjured strays are shipped off to rehoming /rescue centres as soon as possible. Terrible injures to animals means put down on admit. Those too old, too old and ill, young and too ill, if they are dangerous, or it is just not cost effective to repair them. The animals in these categories are given 3 days, this allows for owners to come forward. The 3 day patients are the worst ones. You nurse them, often intensely over 3 days, then they are put down.

If an operation is possible then major operations are carried out. Amputations, eye removals (one only eye if both needed removal they would be put down) Legs and pelvis are repaired, wounds repaired, spay or castrate is done, and the nurses arrange re homing.
3 nurses tend to specialise and have “black books” although all of the nurses join in.
There is an internal stray fund and anyone that gives a donation, the money goes into that and is put to good use. Check if your vet runs such a fund. To be fair someone has to pay for the drugs used, they are not cheap.

On the other hand when you see the amount of healthy strays that are destroyed, are you doing right by major operations and taking a home a healthy animal may have gone to? That healthy animal is often then destroyed?. Many agree, others see those that agree as cruel. Generally those who think it is cruel, have not had to deal with the sharp end. A rescue centre that is snowed down under healthy unwanted dogs or strays. No where to put them and seeing long term animals getting cage sick.
If anyone has any answers please let me know.

Putting anything down healthy or ill is not easy. You learn to sit hard on your feelings and make excuses or you would tear apart. Even so all of us have those moments when emotion takes us and when it does it is a really hard belly kick. Stress and depression is rife in the veterinary profession. I understand vets have the highest suicide rate. A lovely vet l knew committed suicide about 4 weeks ago. Veterinary Nurses also have a high suicide rate.

The problem is not easy to resolve and until breeding animals and unregulated sale and ownership of animals is brought under proper control it will continue.
Dogs Trust and Cat Protection League (CPL) and some of the smaller charities have packages to help with neutering contact them and do not let your pet have even one litter. Each of those "sweet babies" will grow up and someone may well breed from them and continue the problem.

The stray puppy snuggled under a blanket.


Hogday said...

Some of the most distressing things I can recall during my 30 years in the police involved animals and how, on many occasions, we just couldn't find anyone to stump up the fee to help them. Bless the RSPCA et al.
I can recall going to numerous domestic disputes where the bullying partner (usually the bloke) would often take out some of his demented rage on the dog! I even went to one on a Christmas Eve, (a favourite time for family discord)where this poor excuse for a man had thrown his wife downstairs and then taken the family dog `hostage` in the garage and was threatening to kill it with his air rifle. All part of the psyche of the bully,I suppose. We extricated the pooch ok, but matey required some treatment for a baton strike to his wrist. Shame ;)

PS Thanks for your comment on my blog posting. I'll definitely check that out. So few folks seem to remember what was and even fewer realise what's going on. I know a woman, living near here, whose brother was beaten half to death recently by that demented despots thugs. God help them, because it doesn't look like anyone else is going to just yet. If only huge oil deposits were discovered out there. Oops, I'm all cynical again.

Auntie Jane said...

OMG... Poor little puppy. I broke my femur a couple of years ago, so I know how dreadfully painful it is.

Good advice about what to do if someone finds a stray. We found one a few months ago. Took it straight to my vets to check if it had a microship. It didn't, so we brought her home and managed to find the owner.

The problem with the RSPCA is that you are lucky if you can even get someone to answer the phone, let alone, get someone out.

A horse in a field next to our place had a dreadful accident, again, a few months ago. I was out, but my son caught her and the other mare that was with her. 2nd mare was unhurt.

He phoned me as we knew who the owners were, but I didn't have their phone number on me.

I rushed home... The poor mare was bleeding dreadfully with masive cuts/wounds to her chest and under her belly. My son had rung the RSPCA with no luck.

I called my vets who don't do horses. But they gave me the phone numbers of two locally who do. I rang them... One said he's come out as soon as he'd finished the job he was on.

Meanwhile, I found the owners phone number and she called her own vet who arrived around the same time she did. I cancelled the first vet I had called.

It was all a dreadful mess really as I understood that no vet really wanted to come out without the owner's say-so. I had to assure them that I would cover ANY costs before they agreed.

How can anyone leave an animal that is in urgent need of vet treatment? I just don't understand?

And the mare was in foal too. She was very shaken up... We did what we could to stem the blood flow by wrapping sheets around her and between her legs to hold the lose flapping skin up and put a blanket over her till the owner and vet arrived.

Happy ending. She was boxed to the vet surgery/stables after basic treatment here on the spot. She's home now and didn't abort her foal.

Vetnurse said...

Animals always seem to come off worst. I guess easy targets. I was shocked no one would help but then again maybe not.

The reason l did not mention the RSPCA in the last section as helping with neutering is l do not think they help with neutering schemes. I am sure Dave or Cambs can correct me if l am wrong.

As l spend about 80 - 90% of my time in emergency work l do not have to much to do with the various charity schemes that help with neutering but l know those 2 do.

What has not been added to the info on cholera in zim is that in a different part of the country there is an anthrax outbreak and people are so hungry they are eating the infected meat and dying. There is also a rabies outbreak.

Vetnurse said...

Jane if you want an idea of what the ACO think of the call centres ask them. I hope you do not mind swearing though.

Good point on the scanning for chips l was not focusing on that and will add an edit in. Everything is routinely scanned.

The covering costs l would say the vet/s is on swampy ground. You are not the owner so it is not up to you to cover costs. Had you refused and had they had refused to treat the animal then they would have broken RCVS rules and there is quite a few disciplinarys hammering around over no help situations.
It could not be loaded into a car and taken in like a small animal.

cambstreasurer said...

Most RSPCA branches do neutering (either by voucher for use at private vest or at their own clinics) unless they are absolutely on their uppers financially.

It may not be easy to track down the current person who issues them if your local branch is one which works out of individuals' own homes rather than having a building as a registered address.

Vetnurse said...

Thanks Cambs T l will make a note of that.

cambstreasurer said...

obviously vest/vets

getting old!

Sage said...

Poor pup, hope he gets on alright and finds himself a new and caring home... wish it could be with me, after a year without a dog I am struggling to not go out and adopt half a dozen but because I work all day it isn't fair on a youngster and many homing centres wouldn't even consider me I don't think.

Dave the Dog said...

We're going to have to stop meeting like this! ;o) You keep posting on subjects very close to home.

I agree with you on the ACO's. My ex partner is an ACO and when we were together she used to cover all Cheshire, Wirral and parts of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, on her own, on lates and after doing a full shift. The times she arrived home at silly o'clock in the morning in tears and completely played out emotionally and physically I don't like to recall.
RSPCA Call Centre? Not just ACO's, Inspectors have to bite their tongues too! ;o)

Injured stray dogs are never easy. Strictly speaking they are the responsibility of the Local Authority as in the first place they are strays injured or not.
(I'm not going to go on about the Police's responsibilities under the Road Traffic Act, there's no point.)

I would happily argue with any LA who tried to wriggle out of their responsibility on this.

The RSPCA will usually help out if they can, but it's not always possible. Unfortunately the general public don't understand the difference in law between LA responsibilities and RSPCA work.

In my area we will pay the Vets exactly the same for emergency treatment for injured/ill stray dogs as the RSPCA do. As you have said this will often be pain relief and immobilisation etc.

We do have some trouble with certain practises understanding that any stray dog is the responsibility of the LA and they can't treat it, charge us and then foster or rehome, but the message is slowly getting across.

I had a fairly unusual one this afternoon. A call from one of our local RSPCA Inspectors (we have a very good relationship with them), they had received a report of a RTC Dog. She phoned me and I said I would take it. I collected it, a little bitch, she looked like she had possibly a broken femur, maybe a pelvic injury too, cuts, abrasions etc. I transported her to our Vet Surgery and lo and behold the owner turned up having contacted my office. A rare treat indeed. She was a sweet little thing.

Finders who look after an injured dog but then wait a couple of days before taking any action are always a difficult one. They are doing what they think is best, but there is often an owner looking for their pet and the finder doesn't realise the seriousness of the situation or that they are responsible in law for ensuring that the animal receives appropriate treatment. Sometimes they are worried that it may cost them a lot of money.

I won't comment on euthasia. It's too much of a raw nerve at this time of the year.

Neutering assistance is fairly plentiful, certainly in the North West. Most RSPCA Local Branches have a scheme running. (Hi cambstreasurer) The Dogs Trust have a scheme covering all of the North of England (Contact the Campaigns Manager at Dogs Trust Huyton) We, again like most LA Animal Control/Dog Warden Services have our own scheme, which covers all dogs which have passed through our kennels. We also do a microchipping clinic every week, any dog, cat, rabbit etc for a fiver.

Once again a spot on post, thank you so much.

Vetnurse said...

:-)) Dave glad that my psychic abilities are up to par.

It is handy knowing about the chipping clinic l will start to pass that info round when l do nurse clinics, and speak to vetnurses and people in general.
Often people just cannot afford an identichip and it can make a big difference.

Dave the Dog said...

You almost certainly did and I could give it a good guess.

By all means spread it around our local area about the chipping, the more get done the better.

Tommy Lee said...

I am afraid that this statement is not correct "There is an internal stray fund and anyone that gives a donation, the money goes into that and is put to good use.

microchips for dog.