Restoring Rusty to Health

With the holiday season, a time of giving and sharing soon upon us, we wanted to thank our community for their ongoing  support and to share a touching story of a special dog named Rusty who, thanks to our community, we were able to provide the care and treatment he desperately needed.

So far this calendar year Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has welcomed more than 2,000 of Sydney’s lost, abandoned, injured and neglected pets through our doors.  Our team, sadly, is often confronted with animals that are malnourished or unwell. Many are infested with parasites such as fleas or mange mites. Some have untreated tumours and cancers. Serious dental problems are commonplace. Many have coats which are matted and overgrown.

One recent case that needed our help is current resident Rusty, a three-year-old Shar Pei who arrived in mid-September.  Rusty had been found wandering the streets alone and with severe and obvious eye problems causing squinting and weeping of both eyes. He was diagnosed with bilateral entropian.

This painful breed-related condition in which eyelids are inverted, causes the eyelashes to constantly rub and scratch the eyeball. Rusty’s entropian was so severe that it had left permanent scarring on the cornea, he was in constant pain and his vision was seriously impacted. This condition requires early correction and is ideally corrected in puppyhood.

With no owner coming forward, Rusty was transferred into our care and our vet team, led by Chief Veterinarian Christine Cole, set about with a surgery to correct Rusty’s condition and alleviate his suffering.  As with all our surgeries, Rusty was taken to an offsite vet clinic, as we have no facility to perform surgeries at our current location.

Examination of Rusty’s eyes under general anaesthesia revealed that scarring to his right eye from years of chronic irritation was irreversible, and that he had barely any vision left in this eye. The decision was taken to remove this painful and useless eye.

Thankfully, his left eye was able to be saved, and corrective surgery was done to restore comfort and function to the eyelids of this eye and protect his vision. Rusty was transferred back to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to recover.

Rusty’s troubles were not over however. Although he had bounced back initially after surgery he was put on sick report after refusing food and vomiting. These were concerning signs taken very seriously. Another trip to the vet hospital was necessary to investigate these new concerns and it was just as well that we didn’t hesitate.  Our vet team worked on Rusty for three hours in what turned out to be a life-saving procedure.

Rusty had been suffering from a twisted bowel and part of his intestinal track had died. Dr Cole removed twenty centimeters of necrotic intestine and then stitched the healthy intestine back together. Once again Rusty was transferred back to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to be vigilantly monitored.

Thankfully Rusty recovered uneventfully from this, his second procedure, and within 24 hours he was eating vigorously and up and about.  We know that the care that we are able to provide neglected pets like Rusty is only possible because of your generous support of the community.

As we prepare to build our new Home in Kurnell, we have the opportunity to establish a fully equipped and functioning onsite vet clinic, which will enable us to perform most medical and surgical procedures on site, more efficiently and without the need to transfer animals back and forth.

Having an onsite veterinarian facility in Kurnell will enable us to continue to transform and save the lives of the thousands of animals coming into our care like Rusty, but we desperately need funds for the build.

It is with this in mind, that we ask if you would support us this holiday season by making a donation. We are looking to raise $200,000 by the calendar year’s end to help fund the build. Please donate now to help us make this dream come true.

Rusty has recovered fully and is now available for adoption. In the meantime, we will continue to look after this beautiful boy until he finds his permanent new home.

From Rusty, all the team and residents past, present and future at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season.

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