Category Archives: Welfare Stories

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.

Rosie

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

Saving Wildlife Animals and Rehoming More Pets

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Our Wildlife Hospital has been really feeling the pressure. The number of native animals, birds and reptiles arriving in the last two months has doubled compared to last year. (September 2012-just over 600 compared to September well over 1200 and October 2012 just over 700 compared to October 2013 over 1500.)  It’s a worrying trend. The main reasons appear to be dog and cat attacks, fishing equipment injuries (swallowing hooks and getting entangled in discarded line), hit by cars and habitat destruction. This time of year is always more challenging because it’s when the newly born and starting to move around and find their feet and in the case of birds of course, their wings.

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The staff and volunteers at the hospital do an amazing job but sadly sometimes it can be very disheartening. If only recreational and professional fisherman would clean up their used hooks and pieces of line literally thousands of birds would be saved every year. The same goes for the family pets. Keep them inside at night-don’t let them roam.

Our Inspectorate too has been flat out. Inspector Melissa received a complaint about a dog that was very ill and suffering from a suspected tick. However when Melissa arrived at the property within 45 minutes of receiving the complaint, she found the dog at the front of the property, dead.  The dog’s owner, who had been out doing the grocery shopping, confirmed that the dog had been sick for a couple of days and that treatment had not been provided because he could not afford it and he did not believe in euthanasia. The defendant pleaded guilty in Beaudesert Magistrates Court to failure to provide veterinary treatment and made submissions to the court that he was 53 years of age and that he was the carer for his disabled wife and intellectually disabled daughter. The Magistrate took into account his early guilty plea, his cooperation, his remorse, and his financial and personal circumstances and fined him $2500. He then advised the court that he had no more animals.

Unfortunately, a week after the previous matter was heard in court, Inspector Melissa received a further complaint in relation to his property, relating to 3 cats being kept in a bathroom. When Melissa arrived with fellow Inspectors Penny and Jason they found 71 Guinea Pigs, numerous fish, budgies, pigeons, cockatiels, and a duck, as well as 5 cats, all living in terrible conditions. Many of the animals were suffering from untreated ailments. All the animals were seized but the owner subsequently signed ownership of all of the animals over to the RSPCA. This was a good result for the animals concerned as they did not have to await the outcome of court proceedings. A decision was made not to proceed with a prosecution in this matter, however we did make a separate application to the court for a 5 year prohibition order and disposal order and these orders were granted by the court.

Once again a huge thankyou to the team from Bleats, (in this case Marcin Lazinski), for proving pro bono assistance.

There was another sad but interesting case last week regarding the owner of over fifty birds.

Inspector Clare recently prosecuted a man after he was reported setting approximately 50 captive-bred Zebra and Society finches free from his aviary, only to see them all immediately killed by wild birds. He believed he was making a well-meaning decision, even though he knew there would be a percentage of loss, in particular the babies of the adult finches. If he didn’t want them any more why didn’t he try to rehome them? They were bred in captivity and had no chance of surviving in the wild.   The Magistrate said a fine of $5000 were not unreasonable. However due to the defendant’s financial and personal circumstances, he fined the defendant $1500 and prohibited him from owning any birds for 3 years. Hopefully he will never again be tempted to have birds. Once again thanks must go to Bleats, in this case Anthony Anderson, for representing us. I once again think back to when Tracy Lynne Geysen started Bleats to help us prosecute animal cruelty and neglect. All of the Barristers and Solicitors who joined have been wonderful and very generous with their expertise and their time.

Roxy

It’s time to draw your attention to some of our long term residents again. Roxy is a beautiful 2 year old brindle American Staffordshire Terrier. She has a gentle nature and used to be an indoors and outdoors dog. Unfortunately her owner’s landlord didn’t appreciate this and her owner couldn’t find pet friendly accommodation. We get so much of this! It’s really very frustrating because we have enough problems looking after the animals that aren’t wanted, let alone the ones that are loved but their owners can’t find accommodation! Roxy has been with us for 174 days and we’d love to find her a home.

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Layla is a two and a half year old domestic short hair (or Doshie as we used to call them) and has been looking for a permanent home for 263 days! Unfortunately she has cat flu which of course isn’t contagious to humans but it does mean she can’t mix with other cats. Her owner was forced to surrender her because her partner was allergic to cats. Very sad.

Bruce

Finally, (but don’t forget we have scores more animals looking for homes), we have Bruce who is a softie! He’s a four year old Mastiff and has been with us for a record 519 days! He’s been in foster care for the last year and his carer says he’s a sweet dog who sleeps on a mat in the living room when the carers are in and outside in a special crate when they go to bed. He stays in the yard quite happily when they’re at work.

Thanks to you! We did it. At the beginning of the month we set a rehoming target of 1300. Our Care Centres were chock a block and with the Christmas holidays looking things weren’t looking good. Well from November 1st through to November 30th we rehomed 1402 cats, dogs, kittens and puppies. For the same period last year we adopted 1032. Yeah! So please if you’re looking for a pet make the RSPCA your first port of call. All animals can be viewed online at www.adoptapet.com.au

Michael Beatty
@BT1949

Lovable Lexie and Being an RSPCA Volunteer

Working in the RSPCA vet surgery as a volunteer is interesting. Each day your heart is broken and two seconds later resuscitated. When I arrived for my shift on Tuesday, the expected happened when I met ‘Lexie’, (picture below) a dog that was recovering from surgery for her fractured leg and who loved cuddles!

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Lovable Lexie

Lexie was unable to move, so I lovingly hand fed her the mushy slop, forgetting that the smell will be forever under my nails and held up her water bowl as she lapped at the liquid.  When I thought that I’d petted her enough, as she had fallen asleep, I would move to shut her door, and lo and behold she would wake up and automatically start whimpering.

Even though I had duties awaiting me in the reception area, I knew that my fellow workers would understand that showering love onto a recovering animal is important. Most of my shifts as a volunteer is doting tender loving care onto these animals that may have experienced some not so loving situations.

The hardest thing each shift is walking out empty handed. But an uplifting one is the amazing people I work alongside with and seeing the passion they have for these animals they have never met before, it gives me the warm and fuzzies to know I’m right beside them, doing something for our four legged friends…I hope none of them read this!

Claire Thrift
Proud RSPCA Vollie

Hank the Really Lovely Cat

This is a sad story. I don’t really like telling sad stories, but Hank was an amazing cat and I want people to remember him. Hank was transferred to our Vet Hospital from another shelter with significant injuries to both front paws. It looked as though his paws had been trapped somewhere as the tips of both feet where severely wounded. Some of his toes were missing and you could see some pieces of bone protruding from the wound. But it was really hard to know exactly what had happened to him and perhaps we would never know.

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Dr Olivia examined Hank and gently cleaned his wounds. Hank loved the attention and sat contentedly allowing Dr Olivia do whatever she needed to do. Olivia carefully bandaged both of Hank’s front paws and gave him an antibiotic injection and some pain relief. The Nurse set Hank up in a comfortable, warm hospital pen with a bowl of delicious food. He was calm and relaxed, enjoying frequent pats from the Nurses and Volunteers. I kept checking of him too!

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Olivia suspected that Hank would need part of his left paw amputated so the following day Hank’s front paws were x-rayed. The x-rays clearly identified the cause of Hank’s injuries; bullets.

The x-rays also identified the extent of Hank’s injuries. Hank had multiple fractures in both limbs. In some areas the bones were smashed and could not be repaired. If Hank’s injuries were limited to one limb we would have been able to amputate the leg and Hank would have recovered to live a happy life. But the damage to both limbs was beyond repair and Hank’s quality of life was our primary concern. It was with a very heavy heart that the decision was made to euthanise Hank on humane grounds.

Injured cat paws 4b

As I was preparing this blog entry, I re-read all of Hank’s hospital notes and I think the notes written by Olivia when she first assessed Hank say it all… she started her entry with “Lovely cat” and ended the same entry with “This is a really lovely cat”. He was indeed. Hank was a really lovely cat and it is such a shame.

Rohan Hughes
RSPCA Vet Nurse

Saving Polly

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This is Polly, a very sick little puppy who was admitted into our hospital yesterday morning. Polly was lethargic, dehydrated and had terrible case of diarrhoea. We tested her for giardia and parvo virus, both of which generated negative results. But when we looked at a faecal sample under the microscope we could see eggs from a nasty intestinal worm; the hookworm. Polly had a significant hookworm burden and, as a result, was anaemic.

Lobke, one of our wonderful Vets, was busy treating Polly when I arrived at work. She had started Polly on IV fluids, had given her antibiotics, medicine to combat nausea/vomiting and an intestinal wormer (to rid her of those horrible hookworms!). But Polly was dangerously anaemic, and Lobke decided that if Polly was to have any chance of survival, then she really needed a blood transfusion.

We needed a blood donor and Nanda, our Shelter Manager, knew of a perfect candidate waiting in our adoption pens and she went for him straight away. Bobby walked into the vet hospital, as calm and as laid back as any dog I had ever met. He is enormous, but a gentle giant with big, brown eyes… a beautiful dog with a wonderful nature.

Lobke checked Bobby over to make sure that he was fit and healthy. Passing with flying colours, Lobke started Bobby on IV fluids then gave him a light anaesthesia. When Bobby was asleep, Lobke collected enough blood to help Polly. Afterwards, Bobby was moved to a warm recovery pen to wake up from his anaesthesia. In no time Bobby was sitting up and later in the afternoon we moved him into a larger hospital pen so that he could stretch his legs.

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Look at that waggly tail!!!

Wasting no time, Lobke started Polly’s blood infusion, monitoring her closely for any adverse reactions. Polly’s blood transfusion continued over the course of the afternoon and was finished by early evening. The night Nurse’ continued to monitor Polly overnight and she seemed to be getting better and better…

Today I had to pop into work quickly and, of course, I made a bee line straight to Polly’s pen. I peeped behind the towel and a lively little Polly barked out a “yip-yap” at me. What a difference from yesterday morning! I love that mischievous twinkle that puppies have in their eyes, and Polly definitely had a sparkle!

So as I sit here in the evening with my little Persian cat curled up on my lap, I think of Polly. You might assume that she is asleep in her hospital pen, but you would be mistaken. Dr Anne, our Chief Veterinarian, took Polly home for the weekend! Polly is still on IV fluids and is still a long way from a full recovery, but Dr Anne is giving her the best medicine of all; a home environment… and a warm lap!

Update:
Just a few days later, Dr Anne emailed me some photos of Polly playing with her dogs. You won’t believe the difference!

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Isn’t she beautiful!?

Rohan Hughes, Vet Nurse

Saving Paradise and Saving Animals

A big thank you to everyone who turned up to the Swan Lake information day on Sunday. Around three to four hundred people came and went throughout the day and Channel7, Channel 9 and the Courier Mail were also there. Sadly only the Seven story went to air which was disappointing but not the Nine journo’s fault. (ABC and Channel 10 have already done stories, as has the Courier Mail.) 4BC helped us out yet again and did a long interview with Mike West from Birds Queensland.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the situation, the current state of play is as follows.The lake at the Port of Brisbane, named Swan Lake due to the large numbers of Black Swans, is set to be filled in by the new owners Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd and replaced with a parking lot for new car arrivals awaiting to go to dealers.

More than 160 species of birds have been recorded in the lake and its surroundings, and 50-70 species can be found there on most days. This picturesque scene was created by the previous publicly owned authority as an environmental lake as part of the drainage strategy for the benefit of nature and the wider community. An award winning restaurant, café, theatrette and visitor centre was built on its shore and this is also earmarked to be demolished. It is currently vacant and the gazebos in the area have already been removed.
RSPCA Qld has joined environmental groups in an alliance representing tens of thousands of supporters and we are determined to stop what basically amounts to environmental vandalism.

It’s simply not necessary for this to happen. The Port claims that it has “no choice” but to fill in the lake, but the Alliance believes there are numerous alternatives and this lake and its surrounds are only 1.5% of the area available to the Port.

1,000 birds are normally seen in and around the lake at any one time and these include bush birds such as Fairy-wrens and Honeyeaters that frequent the landscaped gardens that are also to be torn down.

What concerns us and I’m sure will concern the Brisbane public is that this whole area was set aside to offset the original damage done to environment. You can’t turn around a few years later and say “Sorry we’re taking it back!” It just makes a mockery of any environmental agreements agreed to by any company, including mining companies. The Alliance believes that this area can be a wonderful tourist attraction. The infrastructure is already there. An established bird paradise should not be replaced by concrete to park cars. It doesn’t make sense to us and it won’t make sense to any Queenslander. This simply must not happen!

We’re also concerned about possible animal welfare issues. The birds will be forced from their home into areas that are already under pressure from an influx of inland water birds suffering from the drought. They may well starve to death.

The public reaction to the appeal result from the Alpaca killings was enormous. As you know we expressed our disappointment that Wayne Hartwig, the convicted killer of two Alpacas in Caboolture last year did not have to serve any time in prison despite an appeal by the Attorney General on the leniency of the original sentence. The incident caused massive community outrage, not just in the Caboolture area but all over Australia. One Alpaca died and the other had to be euthanased because of the extent of its injuries.
Last week the court upheld the appeal and increased Hartwig’s sentence to six months but he was released on immediate parole. He was also ordered to undertake psychiatric treatment. Although we were obviously pleased that he was ordered to receive psychiatric assessment we felt he should have spent some time in prison. This was animal cruelty at its very worst and it makes you wonder what you have to do to an animal to receive a jail sentence.

At the time of the offence the maximum penalty for animal cruelty was 2 years imprisonment or a fine of $110,000. The Attorney General has since increased the maximum penalty to 3 years and $220,000. After the appeal result he said he will look at changing the legislation so that future serious animal cruelty offenders will have to spend some time in prison. This is excellent news.

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Per usual most of our Care Centres are pretty chock a block at the moment and our Wildlife Hospital has also been flat out. It’s that time of year you see and young native animals and birds are taking their first hesitant steps into the big wide world. Sadly that also puts them at risk of dog and cat attacks. So please ensure that your family pets are kept inside at night, because it’s at night time that the majority of these attacks occur. The sheer numbers of attacks is mind blowing. In the past two weeks we’ve had over 300 animals, birds and reptiles brought into the hospital after being attacked by dogs and cats. So please do your bit and ensure that the family pets cannot roam. Wildlife Vet Tania and vet nurses Maddy, Elise, Jess, Paige and Annette really don’t need any more patients!

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And speaking of family pets we’ve got some long term residents at Wacol that are in need of good homes. Pepper is a lovely girl who was surrendered to us because she got too big. Well hello! Didn’t you take this into account when you bought her! Stupidity like this really gets me mad! Anyway she’s a one and a half year old Bull Arab cross and she’s been in care for 97 days. Some of that time was because of mild medial issues but she’s now raring to go.

Another long term resident is Clay, a one year old Australian cattledog. He’s been with us for 67 and has a lovely nature. He was surrendered because there was a change in the household dynamics- whatever the hell that means!

Finally we have an older girl called Vada looking for a home. She’s an eight year old Labrador greyhound cross and was surrendered because her owner was moving overseas. She’s a dear gentle soul and would love a new home in which to spend her remaining years. Nanda, our Wacol Animal Care Manager, is a Vada fan and is really keen for her to find the right home.

Michael Beatty
@BT1949

An uphill battle to save Moonbeam

Always very hard when you lose a patient and that happened to me this week. One of our inspectors brought in a little goat that had been surrendered over- the owner had not sort treatment for the goat and he had been lying in a paddock for 2 days.

The little goat ( named Moonbeam by staff )was very weak and unable to stand and had obviously lying in his own faeces and urine for the past couple of days- he was as white as a ghost – which indicated anaemia. This was confirmed with blood tests and further tests revealed that the anaemia was due to worms…so frustrating as anyone who owns goats should know that this a problem and it is so easily preventable. Although we knew it was going to be an uphill battle Moonbeam was place on a drip and started on various medications in an attempt to try and correct  all his problems. We even collected blood from one of our other goats (below) and gave him a blood transfusion as he was so anaemic.

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(The brave blood donor to save a friend)

I took him home and set him up in our hospital ( the spare bathroom) – my husband is also a veterinarian and so we often have patients in there – much to the disgust of the resident cat and fortunately visitors were not arriving until the following night . More medications  followed but unfortunately it was too late for Moonbeam and he passed away in the early hours of Wednesday am.

I take some comfort that he was at least warm and comfortable and had a full stomach and was no longer in pain. The owner has other goats and so the inspectors will be making sure that steps are put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen to them.

Anne Chester