Category Archives: General

Toby Purrs for all the Right Reasons

I would like to tell you about a little cat that I met a few weeks ago. Toby was admitted into our hospital after being hit by a car. When I first saw Toby, he was resting comfortably in an intensive care pen, but it was hard not to notice the large, blue bruise on his belly. The fur on his belly had been clipped the day before when Toby was rushed into Theatre for life-saving surgery.

When Toby first presented, our vet was on hand to examine him. Toby was purring, but not for the right reasons. Cats will often purr when they are distressed… and Toby was definitely distressed.  Toby’s right hind leg was injured but the vet was more concerned that Toby was having difficulty breathing. There was an abnormal bulge on Toby’s left side and the vet could feel that Toby’s internal organs were not where they should be.

Toby xray

Being the weekend, our surgical unit was closed. Nevertheless, the Theatre was opened and prepared for Toby’s emergency surgery. When the vet opened Toby up, she could see the extent of his injuries. Without going into too much detail (not good for those who are squeamish!), Toby’s injuries caused his intestines to move up, crowding his lungs and compromising his ability to breath. Our vet and nurse worked hard to repair the damage caused by the car… and they did an amazing job!

Toby was nursed intensively for the next 48 hours. His recovery was smooth and speedy and soon he was moved out of intensive care and into our hospital cat ward.  Toby needed a second surgery to repair his leg and, a week later, the vets decided he was well enough to undergo the surgery. Amazingly, two days after this surgery, Toby was already starting to use his injured leg again!

While he was our patient, I was a regular visitor! It was so lovely to see him happy and comfortable. He loved the attention and would tell you with his loud purrs… happy purrs…finally, purrs for all the right reasons…



Update: Toby spent a few weeks with one of our amazing foster parents, resting and recovering from his accident. With the care and comfort provided by his foster carers, Toby was finally ready to find his “forever home”. Toby was recently made available for adoption and found his “forever” home within 24 hours!


Rosie the Sweet Dog with Sore Eyes

Meet Rosie; a sweet, quiet dog who recently came into our care. Rosie was brought into our hospital via our Animal Ambulance. Her coat was dirty and a little rough but it was her eyes that were the real problem. A thick crusty discharge had dried over her eyes glueing both eyes shut & tangling filthy hair into the mess. The little dog couldn’t open her eyes, let alone see out of them.


But why had Rosie’s eyes crusted over? Rosie has a condition called Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), more commonly known as dry eye. As the name suggests, the eyes become dry because of a decreased production of tears. Producing tears is essential for eye health as the tears lubricate the cornea (surface of the eye) and surrounding tissues. Tears also aid in removing any debris that comes in contact with the eyes.

Rosie’s condition is a classic example of what happens when dry eye is left untreated. Rosie had developed painful ulcers on her right cornea and both eyes were red and inflamed. Our Vet immediately gave Rosie some pain relief to ease her discomfort before starting her on two different types of eye drops.

With her eyes cleared and treatment commenced, Rosie was settled into a comfortable pen in our hospital ward. She was very quiet and a little sad. Our Volunteers paid special attention to Rosie and ensured that she received plenty of cuddles and walks outside the hospital.

Rosie has gradually come out of her shell and has started to show signs of feeling better. Our Nurses and Volunteers tempted her with yummy food and she started to enjoy the treats and affection. Rosie is a favorite of ours and although her eyes are still uncomfortable, she is definitely on the road to recovery…. and that’s great news for such a sweet little dog.

Rosie 2

Gemma the Tiny Kitten

Gemma is a tiny kitten, just over half a kilogram. At six weeks of age, Gemma should still be with her Mum and siblings. Instead, Gemma somehow found herself alone and in danger. Cold, dirty and injured, Gemma was admitted into our hospital by our Night Nurse.

Gemma had substantial facial injuries; her left eye was swollen and there was a deep cut running from her mouth to her nose. Our Nurse immediately gave Gemma some analgesia to relief the kitten of any discomfort, then bathed the tiny kitten to remove all the fleas. Warm and dry, Gemma was placed in an intensive care pen. These pens can be warmed and are in full view so that the Nurses can keep a close eye on the patients.

Early the next morning, Gemma was examined by our Vet.  Although Gemma was eating, she was a little dehydrated. Our Vet was also concerned about Gemma’s eye. It was quite swollen and difficult to examine properly. The Vet administered some fluids to Gemma then commenced antibiotics and a medicated eye cream.

Amazingly, through all her trials and tribulations, Gemma has remained remarkably cheerful and enthusiastic about life! Every time I passed her pen, I couldn’t help but open the gate and place my hand gently over her curled up body. I would immediately feel Gemma explode into a roar of purrs. She really is the loveliest, sweetest, bravest little creature and she has won my heart completely! And I’m not the only one… apparently our Vet has taken Gemma home to recover… and I don’t blame her…Gemma is a treasure and impossible to resist!

tiny kitten

Klaus the Kitten

Klaus the Kitten

Klaus 1

If looks could kill, hey???

So why are we bathing this little kitten? Because the poor thing has ringworm! And until the ringworm has cleared, he will need twice weekly bathing and some special medication.

Years ago, I had a lovely volunteer who was a professional hairdresser. I asked her to bath 3 playful puppies and she did… but it took her a while. When she was finished, I asked her how she went and she replied: “Well I haven’t bathed puppies before, so I just did what I do with my clients… I gave them a scalp massage and rinsed twice!”

Klaus 2

Rohan Hughes

RSPCA Vet Nurse


It’s getting hot in the world of animal welfare

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you it’s getting hotter! A cold beer tastes even better now and it’s time scrap the roast veges in favour of a cool salad. But spare a thought for your pets. Every year our Inspectors and ambulances have to deal with numerous cases of heat stress. Three dogs died from heat stress last year, two in backyards and one in a car. The sad thing is it’s so easily preventable. At this time of year you should not leave your dog in the car-even if the windows are slightly down.

A couple of years ago we did an experiment with a light coloured sedan. The temperature outside was 30 degrees and within 12 minutes the temperature inside the car was 57 degrees! A dog can die in under six minutes in that kind of heat. If you’re leaving your dog in the yard make certain there is water that can’t be accidently knocked over and that there is adequate shade. One of the dogs that died last year was left on a chain that got entangled on a clothes line and he couldn’t get to shade or water. So please use simple common sense and cover all the bases.


The Wildlife Hospital is coming into its busiest period of the year. We always see a large number of baby birds and mammals at this time which is to be expected.. But we also see a spike in animals injured by fishing equipment. A beautiful Australasian Gannet that had swallowed a massive fish hook came in the other day. Dr Tania and Dr Bonnie operated and the hook was successfully removed. A great result but this is not the norm. Hundreds of birds in particular are strangled by fishing line that’s been left on the beach or beside creeks and they often face a lingering, painful death. Unable to fly they simply starve to death. So please if you’re going fishing, take your waste with you!

We’ve also had a more than usual number of echidnas in. “Shanghai” had been hit by a car and had to have his leg pinned. He recovered, went to a carer for rehab and was released on the weekend. Great news! Two others are now being treated. “Charlee” who was hit by a car and “John Doe” who was the victim of a dog attack. Hopefully both will recover but Charlee has the added burden of severe constipation! Not sure if echidnas eat prunes as well as insects but it might be worth a shot!


A Barn Owl that appears to have been hit by a car on George St is also in residence for check ups. I never thought you’d see Barn Owls in the heart of the city but our wildlife department says they are very adaptable. There are birds of a different feather down the road at Parliament House. They are not so adaptable!


Three of my favourite dogs are now up for adoption. 5 year old Lucy is a beautiful Staffy that was eventually surrendered after she developed high level anxiety and aggression to the other dog in the house after her owner had gone blind. All the professional advice she received suggested euthanasia. Luckily she decided to bring her to us instead. She was sent to foster care at the Arthur Gorrie Remand Centre down the road and has come back a new dog! Most of her anxiety has dissipated and she obeys all the basic commands. Iya is another prison foster success story. She was surrendered because she was climbing six foot fences and her owners decided they couldn’t cope. After some one on one training with our behavioural team she too went out on the prison foster program and has come back much improved. Kevin, one of behavioural team and myself took her to a retirement home the other day and she has also been to schools. She deserves a great forever home. She also went up to Channel 7 to get her photo taken with friend Morrisey and the great Laura Geitz, Australia’s Netball captain and a great supporter of the RSPCA.

I walked into Chief Inspector Annabel’s office today and found her wading through a pile of legal documents. Not surprising the piles of paperwork were so big-this case involving 21 cats has been dragging on for over three years! That’s what is so wrong with the legislation as it stands now. Animals are treated exactly the same as goods and chattels. In other words if we seize an animal because of cruelty or neglect, the animal can’t be rehomed by us until the legal proceedings are concluded. Of course the person being prosecuted can drag out the proceedings as long as they like. Meanwhile we pay all the expenses and aren’t allowed to find the animal a new home. In other words the animal is treated like a car or a TV set or a sofa! It stinks! These 21 cats have been in our care for nearly three years. Some are in our offices at Wacol and others are in private foster care. They desperately need to be allowed to go to new homes. Go knows how much longer this will drag on but our sincere thanks go to Walter Sofronoff QC, the Solicitor General, who is prosecuting for us pro bono and also to Caite Brewer of Counsel who is assisting. Without their help and other barristers and solicitors from BLEATS, justice for animals would be almost non- existent.

Anyway it’s getting late and it’s still hot so I may be forced to go in search of a beer. See you next week.

Michael Beatty

Spring is on it’s way!

It’s the beginning of Spring and once again our Wildlife Hospital is bracing for the onslaught of baby animals and birds that flood in at this time of year. Unfortunately hundreds of baby birds in particular are unnecessarily removed from their habitat and brought to wildlife carers and RSPCA Care Campuses across the state. Most of these are well meaning members of the public who are trying to rescue fledglings when this is usually not necessary. Unless the bird is sick or injured it’s best to leave it alone. The mother is usually close by and is keeping an eye on things.rspca-bandicoot

Still on the Wildlife Hospital, a two year old Bandicoot mother with two joeys (above) was brought in the other day after suffering bad smoke related trauma following a burn off on Mt Cootha.  Staff have nicknamed her Bonny (after wildlife vet Dr Bonny) and so far she and her babies are doing well. She’s still got a drip but that will hopefully be removed shortly.

Sadly not so lucky was a female koala. She was brought into us after being attacked by dogs in the Gold Coast hinterland. Her injuries were too severe and she didn’t make it. Please dog owners, remember to keep your dogs under control or contained, particularly at night. We see these incidents all too regularly. In fact two weeks ago we had four koalas brought in from Stradbroke Island. Three of them had been attacked by dogs.

We’ve had hundreds of enquiries about the progress of the miniature fox terrier that was found in a bin in Sherwood. I can tell you that he underwent tests at the Brisbane Veterinary Specialist Centre (big thanks to staff for the care and expertise) and he has some “issues” that may require further tests. However his mobility has improved and he’s now walking again. We’ve also received some very helpful information from the public regarding what may have happened. Sorry if that’s all I can tell you at the moment but there will be times that I have to remain slightly tight lipped when it comes to ongoing investigations.

I was having a quick smoke in the smoking area yesterday, (I really AM about to give up!), when Animal Attendant Yorik came by with a Great Dane X called Simba. She was surrendered to us with her seven pups and is already starting to put on weight- although she remains very skinny. She’s also incredibly timid. Very, very fearful of everybody and anything. We’re starting to see signs of improvement but it’s going to be a long slog. If only some of the social media critics understood just how much work, care and compassion goes into transforming dogs like Simba and eventually rehoming them, they might have a better knowledge base from which to spout their vitriol. Sadly not every adult dog that comes into our care will be able to be rehomed. It’s not the animal’s fault of course. But some have been so badly damaged mentally that placing them back in the community would not be fair to the public or the animal. Can you imagine if an RSPCA dog was rehomed and then bit a child? The resulting publicity would taint any RSPCA dog and thousands of animals would miss out on finding homes.

RSPCA Moses Dog

Last year, my friend Jane Fynes Clinton from the Courier Mail told the story of Moses in Rockhampton. He was found starved and beaten in a churchyard. Despite ongoing foster care he remained terrified of the outside world. It was finally decided that the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep. It was heartbreaking for Wendy,( his carer), and for Inspector Laurie who’d rescued him. However the good news is that our rehoming rates are improving all the time and RSPCA Qld now rehomes more animals that any organisation in Australia. So don’t forget, if you’re looking for a pet, come and see us first. You can check out the animals on Remember to look at the animals that are currently in foster care as well.

I just had a call from the lovely Jacqui who trains our Customer Service staff and volunteers. She says the call centre is getting bombarded by calls from people who want us to remove snakes from their yards. Sorry everyone! We neither have the resources nor the legal authorization to do this. In most cases the snakes are just passing through. Some may take up residence but that’s usually only if they find a constant food source. (Chicken and duck owners may have more problems than most.) You can find snake catchers on the internet, but I’d urge you to be bit patient and you may find the snake moves on of its own accord. Our wildlife hospital does treat injured reptiles and we have had an influx over the last week. Obviously the breeding season has started early.

I seem to be doing more Probus and Rotary Club appearances as a guest speaker these days. Most are now asking me to also chat about the old TV days as well as explaining our work here at the RSPCA. I ended up by putting together a short tape of some of my more humourous moments before the camera. A lady came up to me last week and announced, “You’re stupid!” I was somewhat taken aback. I know the old grey matter isn’t exactly bursting out of my skull, but I thought there was some intelligence lurking within. “Why?” I said. “Because you’re lucky to be alive.” She said. I think she was referring to some of the incidents caught on camera. At least I hope she was.

Until next week, enjoy the first days of Spring and don’t forget to make the RSPCA your first port of call if you’re looking for a pet.

Michael Beatty