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'Adorable' dog with lifelong disease searches for special home

The RSPCA is searching for a very special home for a dog who has a lifelong disease which will need to be managed by her new owners.

Poodle cross Elsie was taken in by RSPCA Sussex North & Brighton Branch after she was abandoned, tied up at the gates of the Brighton Animal Centre in Patcham, on 3 February.

Enquiries made by RSPCA officers traced her previous owner and her microchip showed she’d been imported into the UK from Spain, possibly as a rescued street dog. Her previous owners hadn’t been able to cope with her health problems and tests soon revealed that she was suffering from leishmaniasis.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease found in parts of Europe and spread by sand flies which are not present in the UK.

RSPCA Brighton Manager Jenny Eden said: “Elsie was really nervous, uncomfortable and poorly when she first arrived here. It took many vet visits and tests before we found out that she was suffering from leishmaniasis.

“She had multiple wounds, a deep laceration on her paw, was anaemic and very weak. We weren’t sure if she’d pull through but she’s a real fighter and her recovery has amazed us all.”

Elsie is now on regular medication and will need to be closely monitored as leishmaniasis is a lifelong condition which can flare up from time-to-time.

Jenny added: “Elsie is now available for rehoming. She’s as cute as a button and her photos are adorable so we’ve had a lot of interest in her but most adopters are put off when they find out that she has a serious lifelong condition.

"It’s really important that anyone who seriously wants to adopt her understands the disease and what it means for Elsie’s day-to-day life, and that she will likely require more veterinary attention than other dogs.

“Elsie is a cheeky, bouncy and happy girl who loves to play with other dogs and chase a ball. But her favourite thing in life is food.

“She can be a little shy and wary of strangers but it doesn’t take long to win her over. We have no previous history as to what she’s like in a home so we’re looking for an adult-only home for her.”

RSPCA Dog Welfare Expert Esme Wheeler said: “There are many amazing rescue organisations doing incredible work abroad rescuing animals. But bringing dogs into the UK from overseas has to be done responsibly, following proper procedures, because animals in countries such as Spain - like Elsie - are more likely to have serious diseases which aren’t present in the UK.

“Anyone who is thinking of adopting a rescue dog from abroad should ensure they choose to do so through a reputable rescue organisation which carries out full assessments on every dog, ensures proper vaccinations are carried out, and provides ongoing support once rehomed. We would also urge owners to seek additional testing for diseases or infections in order to protect themselves, their family, other dogs and the wider population.”

This year the RSPCA celebrates its 200th year of changing industries, laws, minds, and animals' lives. To mark this anniversary the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join their movement to improve animals' lives. Together, there are actions, big and small, everyone can take to create a better world for every animal. To find out your kind of kindness and turn it into action for animals visit: rspca.org.uk/everykind.

As part of its celebrations, the RSPCA recently revealed that in the 10 years up until the end of 2022 the RSPCA’s branch partners found new homes for a staggering 17,539 animals in East Sussex.
Nationally the charity has rehomed 405,839 pets in need of a new home since 2013 thanks to its network of 140 branches and animal centres across England and Wales - which equates to 111 animals every day.

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