An emaciated French bulldog is lucky to be alive after being found dumped in a park with gaping cavities the size of golf balls in her abdomen.
She had been used for breeding and recently given birth to a litter of puppies before being cruelly cast aside when she became ill.
At just 18 months old, the dog is not much older than a baby herself. She was found by a member of the public in a box with a blanket and rushed to our Merton animal hospital in south London. The poor girl was in such a bad state that the passerby thought she had been attacked.
Vanessa Scott, Veterinary Nurse at our Merton hospital, said: "The dog was in a terrible state when she arrived in our care. She was emaciated and had a number of large holes in her abdominal wall caused by the mastitis.
"It's appalling to think an owner could dump their pet in such a dreadful state. She could have been out there on the common for a few days judging by how ravenous she was but we just don’t know. She’s lucky that she was found and brought into us.”
A scan of her microchip reveals the dog’s name is ‘Puppy 1’. So far we’ve been unable to trace her owners as her microchip details have not been updated. The case has been reported to the RSPCA. We’ve given Puppy 1 a name of her own; Dorothy.
Weighing in at a skeletal 6kg, Dorothy’s ribs and spine can clearly be seen to protrude from her body and she was found with several weeping gaping wounds in her stomach due to the severe mammary gland infection.
Mastitis is a life threatening condition that can prove fatal if not treated quickly. It is caused by bacteria infecting the mammary glands and usually occurs in female dogs who are nursing a new litter of puppies.
The increasing popularity of French bulldogs, fuelled by celebrity ownership, social media and popular culture, has led to a surge in overbreeding of such ‘fashionable’ breeds and contributed to a rise in unscrupulous breeders and puppy farms that are fulfilling demand.
Dorothy is now safe in our care at our Victoria animal hospital in central London and is improving daily thanks to our dedicated vets, nurses and support staff.
Jess Morgan, Blue Cross Vet, said: "It looks like Dorothy has been used for breeding and has developed mastitis after her latest litter which we believe she would have given birth to in the past week or two. She is underweight and has been very hungry in our care.
“This could be down to her not being fed correctly or her being too sick to feed herself previously. Despite all she has been through, she is such a sweet girl and is responding well to treatment.
“We always recommend getting your new pet from a rehoming charity like Blue Cross but if you’ve got your heart set on buying a puppy from a breeder, please do your research and only get one from a breeder who has dogs’ health and welfare at heart.”
As well as treating and finding new homes for the victims of the fashionable pet trade, Blue Cross is campaigning for better laws to put an end to animals like Dorothy being used as profit-making breeding machines.
Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at Blue Cross, said: “The huge demand for puppies and fashion breeds such as French bulldogs has led to an increase in unscrupulous breeders who care more about making a quick a buck than about the welfare of the pets they are selling, or their parents.
“Blue Cross is calling for a reform of animal welfare legislation to stop the suffering of so many pets bred only for profit.
“We need an effective – and properly enforced – system of licensing for anyone who breeds or sells pets, including those importing pets from outside the UK for sale online.
“We also want to a compulsory registration database for all breeders and sellers, to give potential pet owners peace of mind that they are buying a healthy puppy and root out unscrupulous breeders.”
Once Dorothy is better, she will be transferred to one of our rehoming centes to begin the search for a new home. She will need lots of support to help her get over her nightmare past and feel comfortable becoming a much-loved part of a family.
To get Dorothy back to full health and into the loving home she deserves is going to cost Blue Cross an estimated £2,500. Please help us meet these costs by donating today. Unfortunately animals that have been abandoned need help from Blue Cross all too often.
To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/bluecrossanimal/helpdorothy
Dorothy is just one of the animals who desperately need help day in day out. Your donations will be used to get her back to full health. Any donations over and above the cost of her treatment will go towards helping other sick, injured and abandoned pets helped by Blue Cross at its hospitals and rehoming centres across the country.