“Billy”, was found near a traveller site and picked up by the dog warden. He was in the most appalling condition and ended up in the pound with very sore skin and ears. Apart from his head, he was almost completely bald. He had a nasty yeast infection, which had obviously been left untreated for a very long time. Because he was very sore and traumatised, he was not particularly friendly (understandably so) and his skin and ears were hardened and dark grey like an elephants skin.
SSTR were highlighted to his situation by Doglost, a wonderful charity who helps to reunite lost dogs with their owners. Where owners cannot be traced, volunteers aim to alert rescue organisations to these dogs, before their 7 days are up! Most pound kennels have a 7 day policy and if an owner does not come forward, the dogs are either rehomed, or euthanized.
The staff at the pound kennels had taken him to their vet and started on treatment for his skin, which we have continued under close supervision by our vet Daniel. He has made a slow and steady recovery, but it has taken nearly 2 years of medication, special diet and regular baths for the hair growth to return. We thought the damage on his tail and bottom would be permanent, but 2 years down the line, for the first time, he is starting to get regrowth on his bottom.
Billy is not suitable for rehoming due to the unpredictability of his behaviour, he is not comfortable around strangers and will lunge at people on walks. He will be staying with his foster carer, who he now trusts and is dedicated to keeping up with his regime to keep his skin under control and ensure he is kept safe and not exposed to situations where he could bite someone. He does not like grooming at all and as quite a big shih tzu (over 11 kilos), he needs to be held very firmly in a tight bear hug with his feet dangling to trim his feet. He is a challenge to say the very least!
Skincare medication for Atopic dogs like Billy to control his allergies can cost in excess of £50 per month, ear drops to £30 per bottle, medicated shampoo costs £27 per bottle (lasts 2 months), parasite control medication for fleas, ticks and mites costs £20 for 3 months supply, antibacterial/antifungal spray to calm itchy areas costs around £17 per bottle and this is without taking into consideration his special diet. The costs associated with looking after a dog like Billy can run into thousands of pounds each year (which is probably why he was abandoned in the first place).
Sadly Billy was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and lost his battle in 2018, but we wanted to share his story in his memory. Although he wasn’t the easiest dog, he was very special to his foster family, who collected him from the pound kennels in 2012, cared for him for 6 years and were with him at the end, holding his paw as they said goodbye.
SSTR needs your help to fund ongoing treatment for the dogs in our care. If you would like to help us, help dogs like Billy and help to fund their ongoing treatment costs, please click on the donate button below.
Thank you for helping us to help them.