An elderly dog who was so severely matted the RSPCA was unsure what breed he might be has undergone a remarkable transformation.
Shih Tzu Moses, who was found in a house on the outskirts of Derby, had a faeces and urine-soaked coat that was described as a “hardened shell” by RSPCA inspector Pamela Bird.
The nine-and-a-half year old had to have more than half a kilo (1.5 pounds) of his stinking fur shaved off.
His tail was so badly matted that it stuck out at a right angle to his body, and a cocktail stick was even found hidden which was embedded near his skin.
The animal welfare charity is highlighting its rescue and rehabilitation work for dogs like Moses as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty summer appeal.
The charity is concerned that with the increase in pet ownership and the cost of living crisis putting a strain on people’s finances, more animals will be coming into its care during the next few months.
The vet who examined Moses said it would have taken “a good couple of years” for his coat to get into such an appalling state and it took a team of three people more than two hours to painstakingly shave it all off.
Pamela said: “The scale of what we were dealing with became apparent once the veterinary team had started work on Moses’ coat; it was caked in urine and faeces and smelt awful.
“We all became more and more shocked by what we were seeing and the realisation at what this poor little dog had endured.
“He was sedated in a way that was sensitive to his age, which is why it took the team a long time to slowly shave off his fur – particularly as there were a few sore patches underneath, but they did an absolutely fantastic job.
“It’s one of the worst cases of matting I’ve ever seen, but despite this hardened shell of foul-smelling fur which he was carrying around – which must have been incredibly uncomfortable for him – Moses was one of the most lovely natured dogs you could ever meet.”
The RSPCA received a call about Moses last month after a member of the public spotted him wandering in a street and was concerned for his welfare.
Following enquiries, the RSPCA inspector was able to locate his owner, who was elderly and suffering from serious ill health.
Pamela added: “It became clear that Moses had been part of the family for a long time, but his owner was trying to deal with significant health issues and things had become too much for him to cope with.
“As a result, Moses had not been receiving anything like the quality of care he should have, but his owner did the right thing by signing him over to us so we could get him the treatment he desperately needed.”
Moses was also treated for anaemia before being transferred to the RSPCA’s Abbey Street Animal Rehoming Centre in Derby, which is run by the charity’s Derby & District branch, where he is now looking for a new home. People can register their interest by visiting the centre’s website.
Animal care manager Lucy Bell, said: “It’s taken Moses a little while to get used to having so little fur, and his skin was hypersensitive where it had been pinched underneath – even gently touching his back would irritate him at first.
“But now he realises he can finally move around properly without his coat weighing him down, he’s getting happier and happier every day and we all think he’s so handsome.
“He’s having special baths to soothe his skin, which he’s been enjoying, and we’re really beginning to see his playful side come out, despite the fact he’s a little more mature in years.
“It’s been a team effort to get him to where he is now and we’re so pleased that we’ve been able to help give him this second chance as we think he’s going to make someone a wonderful, loving pet.”
Moses is just one of many cases the RSPCA deals with. Last year the animal welfare charity received 1,081,018 calls to its Cruelty Line in 2021 and these included;
1,094 killings or nearly three animals killed a day
632 mutilations or 12 animals brutally mutilated every week
7,857 beatings which equates to one animal beaten every hour
38,087 abandonments which equates to more than 100 animals callously abandoned every day