Thursday, July 17, 2008


He's a Yorkshire terrier, about 7 years old, signed over to us because his owner was getting increasingly confused and tending to do things like trying to give him dishwasher tablets because he had worms.

Many people have an image of the RSPCA going about "seizing" animals here and there, but mostly it's not like that. Tommy's owner was an extreme case of not being able to cope any more, because she was actually ill, but the vast majority of animals we take in come from people who initially meant well. Some just aren't prepared to put enough effort into owning an animal; some have mental or physical problems, and some take on more animals than they can cope with, or let pets breed until they have a problem they can't get on top of. In Tommy's case, his owner's son was able to persuade his mother that the best solution for all concerned was to transfer the little dog to us to be rehomed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Can anyone out there offer a home to Ghost?

We don't know very much about Ghost, except that he is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, about ten years old and was signed over to one of our inspectors by a previous owner who couldn't look after him. His age and breed are against him, but he's a lovely, friendly dog and hasn't shown any behaviour problems in kennels.

If you might be interested in adopting Ghost, please email

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Call from one of the vets in Peterborough, who has a client who can't afford the full cost of treatment and would like to come to our clinic on Thursday. He hasn't got a car and the journey by public transport would involve a three-quarter hour train journey to Cambridge followed by a bus ride. They're enquiring whether there's any way we could help with transport, but I can't really ask any of the Cambridge volunteers to drive to Peterborough, back to Cambridge and then to Peterborough and back again.

RSPCA Peterborough branch urgently needs more volunteers. If they had a volunteer driver available then at least only two legs of the journey would be needed.

Pelvic fracture

Call from Vet24 yesterday to let me know one of our inspectors had brought in an injured cat for initial first aid treatment. They'd assessed the cat and think he's got a fractured pelvis and possible leg injuries. Bladder and bowel working OK, so no likely spinal injury, thank goodness.

Today is a clinic day, so one of our volunteer drivers can pick him up this morning and drop him off for further treatment.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Update on dog with intestinal blockage

Good news! Phoned the vet this morning and they removed a sizeable chunk of her intestine, but she's now looking bright and alert. All being well, one of our volunteers will pick her up tomorrow morning and take her to our clinic for aftercare.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A cautionary tale

Spent most of Saturday at the Regional board meeting, and part-way through got a call from one of the vets in Ely about a young dog who they thought had swallowed some kind of foreign body.

The owner was on benefits, but had managed to scrape together a hundred pounds to get the dog seen and x-rayed to find what was going on. Now the dog was deteriorating and unlikely to survive without surgery to remove the obstruction. Estimated cost another £600, which the owner simply did not have.

Because so many people don't pay back what they owe, almost no vets will now offer any kind of payment plan. Our branch will normally help with a limited amount towards treatment costs, but we simply cannot put ourselves in a position where anyone can say they're unable to pay and expect us to cover hundreds of pounds; because eventually no-one would pay their own fees and we would collapse.

If the dog had been registered with either our own branch clinic or with the PDSA the dog could have been treated at much lower cost. In the circumstances, the only option was for the owner to sign ownership of the dog over to us, to give him at least a reasonable chance of survival.

Both the RSPCA and the PDSA often get a certain amount of "stick" for being bureaucratic about rules under which we provide veterinary help. We're not just being difficult when this happens. In our case, the reason why we can provide more help for registered animals is our arrangement with the University Vet School. They provide care for animals at a much lower charge to us per treatment than a private vet could survive on and, in return, their students get the learning experience of a variety of cases.

The students get maximum benefit from our cases when they come via our clinic at the pre-arranged sessions which mean they fit into the students' busy timetable. Registration of an animal means a student will have had the chance to examine that animal when he or she isn't in a critical condition and the student can practice handling; examining teeth; taking temperature etc. Because of this, the Vet School will only see registered animals outside normal surgery hours.