Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Poorly reptiles: Why they need our help!

It's one of the busiest times of year for us at the moment! This is due to a myriad of reasons from kitten season to foster carers being on holiday but also we are now helping more animals then ever, of a wider variety of species! Since March 2016 we have been taking in reptiles working in collaboration with the National RSPCA & RSPCA Adoption Centre in Stockport Pets At Home. So far we've seen corn snakes, bearded dragons, pythons and geckos! 

Exotic animals such as these are tricky to care for and require a lot of time and money to look after correctly. The National RSPCA inspectorate has seen an increase in the numbers of exotics it rescues as they become more popular to have as pets. Sadly, many people do not realise the level of care they require and the animals suffer the consequences. As such the demand for rescue spaces has rocketed and why we decided to help by taking in reptiles. After all, there's no point the inspectors rescuing them if they have no where to go!

Draco, a very poorly Beardie

This week we experienced a very sad case of a Bearded Dragon, named Draco. Poor Draco was rescued because his owner was unable to meet his welfare needs. He is in a pitiful state, weighing a mere half of what he actually should. Draco weighed 228g whilst his average weight should be at least 450g. In fact, he was so weak that he can't even eat by himself which led to him being admitted to an exotic vet for tube feeding. His condition would have taken several months to deteriorate to this level.

Thankfully he's now eating independently and weight gaining. Blood test have shown that his kidneys are fine but he is anaemic and has an infection. We are hoping that with a treatment of antibiotics and fluids he will be feeling better and able to leave the vets.

At this moment in time we don't know whether Draco will make it but we will do all we can for him.

Our staff do all they can for the reptiles in our care, however we've also quickly learnt that often as hard as we try too much damage has been done to these amazing creatures. This was the case for poor Sirius who's story sadly did not have a happy ending. 

Sirius came into our care after being rescued from poor living conditions. He had a low bone density due to previously not being kept in the correct environment with UV light (Bearded Dragons require a 10-12% UVB light for a 12 hour period every day. This helps them process D3).  Sirius also had a high burden of pinworms due to poor husbandry and the end of his tail was dead with a strong risk that necrosis would spread further up his tail bone. 

Despite our exotic vets best efforts he was not eating properly and eventually started refusing food, our vets suspected he was in kidney failure, likely related to his previous poor husbandry and diet. Due to the level of suffering he was experiencing the decision was made that the kindest option was euthanasia. This was a devastating blow to our team who had tried so hard to save him. However, with so many reptiles needing our help they soon had to dust themselves off and continue the fight for reptiles: rescuing, rerehabilitating and educating the public the best that we can.

How can you help?

> Caring for exotic animals is expensive, especially as they often come to us very poorly indeed. If you can please consider making a donation to us or setting up a regular direct debit. Any amount really will help and allow us to continue this very important work.
TEXT MCRS01 £1/2/3/4/5 or £10 to 70070

or donate / set up a direct debit by clicking here

> If you are considering adopting a reptile why not look at the animals we have available for adoption? All come fully health-checked by an exotic vet and our experienced staff will be more than happy to discuss appropriate care. Read more about keeping reptiles here. You can see all our reptiles for adoption on our website!




Thursday, 7 July 2016

News Round-Up: Summer 2016 Issue 2

The first six months of 2016 seem to have passed by in whirlwind record time. We have had our busiest six months to date, admitting and rehoming a record number of animals for this period. 263 animals have come into our care and a lucky 244 have found new homes. We say lucky because the animals adopted from us go on to live pampered lives, filled with love and kindness, which is often a far cry from what they have come from.

Pictured: kitten Grant was born outdoors. He is gradually being socialised ready for
 rehoming along with his sister Josie

It is always so restorative to later hear from adopters. They tell us how their new companion has changed their lives, how they would never want to be without them or never imagined they could love an animal quite as much as they do. It is the success of rehoming the animals that spurs us on when days and weeks are distressingly tough. Sometimes we are more robust than others, depending on what, or rather who, has come through our doors. Our fantastically dedicated team of volunteers open their hearts to these vulnerable souls and together we seem to achieve so much with so little. 

Being part of the RS family is a pleasure and privilege and we always welcome new volunteers.

What do we currently need help with?

* Volunteers for our Urmston and Northern Quarter charity shops
* Foster carers for cats and kittens
* Dog owners to sign up for our Big Walkies in September or if you fancy volunteering on the day please get in touch! More detail at the end of this blog post.

If you fancy making a difference to animals lives please get in touch on: 0161 882 0680 (opt 4) or email


By Animal Supervisor Deborah Beats

13 year old Evie

It’s the height of kitten season and whilst we have a few tiny furry faces hiding out in foster homes, this year our spaces are being filled with golden oldies.

Having a soft spot for older cats I remember not so long ago moaning that we never have any in our care. It seemed like it was the young mums or adolescent males who got the short straw and needed to be rehomed. But with a recent influx of mature moggies being admitted, including two long stays that have not had a sniff of interest in, I can’t help wishing I’d kept my mouth shut. 

Two of our current long stay guests are Sweep (11) and Evie (13). They are affectionate, in good health and are easy to care for and yet they are continually overlooked. Both have been well loved in the past and have ended up in our care through no fault of their own.

Sweep came from a multi-cat household where the owner could no longer cope with the amount of animals in the property. He has been in foster care since April and despite being nothing but a sweet old gentleman we’ve had no offers of a home. 
Evie’s tale is very sad. After 13 years happy in her home, her owner passed away in February. It took her many weeks to settle into our care as she had never known anything other than her house and her one owner, but she is finally starting to trust us and is now a cute and curious character.  

Despite our best efforts people are still reluctant to even come and meet our more senior residents.

11 year old Sweep

Reasons range from issues with more frequent vet trips, higher insurance premiums and shorter life spans. However, with the current life expectancy of a cat around 20 years and the reassurance of a thorough veterinary health screen I feel our calm and loving golden oldies are still a good catch and are easier to care for than some of the boisterous youngsters we get through our doors! 

As more of our foster homes fill up with older cats, staying months at a time, we start to run out of space for new admissions and we are forced to say no to animals in need. So next time a friend or family member decides to adopt a cat make you sure you make the case for the oldies but goodies like Sweep and Evie.


Doggies and dog lovers, are you ready to forget the everyday walk? Walkies just got BIGGER, and you’re invited! Join us at BIG Walkies 2016 to sniff out more trees, have more fun, and find more reasons to slobber.

On your BIG day, enjoy a 5km of 3km sponsored walk, have a ball in our fun filled event village, and help provide a better life for animals in need. Ordinary walkies will never be the same.

Sunday 11th September
Clifton Country Park, M27 6NG

Sign your dog up today! Just click HERE


Saturday, 28 May 2016

Bobby the baby bunny

I have written and rewritten the start of this blog post countless times. The story needs to be told but how to do it justice weighs down heavy; the responsibility so great. I feel I must start by saying what a privilege it has been to care for this animal, to have been entrusted with his care and to be thought so capable of doing my/our level best by him. His name is Bobby and his story distressing, the images revolting, but I will not shy away from showing you what the work of the RSPCA involves.

Bobby on arrival

Bobby came to the RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch at around 7 weeks of age. When his condition was described to me over the phone I recoiled, but not half as much as I did in reality when I touched his tiny body for the first time. Bobby had been kept in a 4ft hutch along with his sizeable, and unneutered, mother and father. Predictably mum had conceived once again, soon after giving birth to Bobby. As is the case when a doe is due to give birth she typically attacks the remaining litter to alienate them and protect her new young. But in a 4ft hutch with nowhere to go the injuries inflicted on Bobby were the worst I have ever seen in the 19 years I have been working in animal rescue.

It’s not uncommon to see injuries on the first litter when another is due, and over the years I have commonly seen missing or mutilated ears, injuries to the nose, eyes and bobtail, but never to the extent had I seen on Bobby. The entirety of Bobby’s back can be best described as feeling like a shell, like a tortoise shell. From neck to tail he was one undulating mass of dense, infected scab. The repeated attacks this bunny must have endured defies comprehension, how he was alive seemed nothing but a miracle. He could not use his back legs, but it was unclear whether this was due to the extensive wounding or a birth defect.

Bobby's back, the fur all matted, masking the extent of his injuries.

The situation really did look bleak but he was eating well and enabling us to handle him to give him medication, so we kept him confined in an indoor cage to prevent  him from over exerting himself, although I needn’t have worried about that because it soon became apparent just how restricted his mobility was. Yet still he had a ferocious appetite and healthy poops – a good sign a bunny is doing well.

As time went on the scab started to raise and as gruesome as this sounds you could see daylight through it as it literally began to lift from his back.

As the scab lifted and dried the infection became more apparent but with air getting to the site it started to improve. It took several days before it came off altogether and then he looked like a burns victim. He looked so raw and sore but the relief the scabbing had gone was immediately evident because within 20 minutes he was standing on his back legs for the first time since he had arrived. I confess I got over excited about this, but it was just an absolute joy to see.

We then gradually gave him more space to play in and he each time he grabbed the chance to explore. Within three days he was free-roaming and loving having the freedom to move. His back legs gradually began to regain function, and aside from the scarring on his back, the only other tell-tale of his past was the way he held himself. Best described as looking like his skin was too tight, which it probably was as the healing was taking place.

The scab that came off Bobby's back

It’s been nearly 3 weeks since Bobby came into our care at the RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch. The physical scaring maybe nearly gone but the emotional damage is not. It is unlikely Bobby will want any contact with another rabbit in the future, and his flighty, timid nature will likely see him wait many months to be adopted, but regardless of these impediments Bobby will remain with us until that day a special person comes along to offer him a home.

I hope I never see another ‘Bobby’ for as long as I live. What he endured, how he suffered, should never been allowed again, but we all know that there is always going to be an animal somewhere suffering, in need of the RSPCA. Myself and all my colleagues, whether that is branch, national or front line field staff value your support so much, you keep us going. But it’s the Bobby bunnies that actually motivate us to get us out of bed each day. Thank you for enabling us to do what we do, it is an honour.

To help with Bobby's recovery and care please consider sponsoring our staff Susie and Deb who are shaving their hair to raise money for the care of the animals. Donate here.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Our fearless staff take up the challenge for our animals!

Well, the Great British Curl Off is less than 3 weeks away, as well as several lovely supporters taking up the challenge 2 of our staff members have also decided to put their money (and hair) where their mouth is! Donate today!

Deborah, animal supervisor at RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch, explains why she is taking part in The Great British Curl Off to raise money for the RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch.

''So why the head shave, I hear you ask? Well I’ve been super brave over the past few years and have zip wired from the Imperial war museum, abseiled down Europe’s tallest brick built light house and last year almost bottled it over abseiling down the bell tower at the Trafford centre. I felt like all my bravery had been used up so what option did I have left but to make a fool of myself. Obviously I do this on a daily basis but it needed to be something quite shocking to raise as much money as possible for the animals, so a head shave seemed to be the obvious choice.

For the past few years my hair has been pretty short and I’ve even had a good half of my head shaved by choice, but losing my long blonde streak that sits proudly across the left side of my head will be painful. Not only does it keep my head warm but it also hides my many blemishes and general dirt that builds up throughout the day. I will be very sad to see it on the floor being swept away. But I love animals too much to be shallow, thinking about all the cute cats, kittens, rabbits and guinea pigs, oh not forgetting rats that need rehabilitating and rehoming by our RSPCA branch makes it all worthwhile. Plus I may look cool and New Age and not at all butch or ill, we shall find out on June the 4th. I’m just praying that there isn’t a giant birth mark or strange skin flap lying under my blonde baby hair!''

Susie, Branch Manager at RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch, explains why she is shaving off her locks. 

''When Deborah first came up with the idea of shaving our heads to raise money for the branch I instantly thought, I can do that. But then I spent the next three months thinking about it, after all, a fat, middle aged woman going bald is hardly an attractive proposition! But once I decided I was going to commit to it I thought I had better break the news to my husband. I needn’t have worried, he was ace. He was totally supportive from the moment the words came tumbling out of my mouth and has now decided to shave his long locks off too (they are past his shoulders).

Shaving my head has now become a bit of bucket list thing for me and even my best mate Julie has decided to join us and get the lot lopped off. For me this shows how much love there is for our charity and the animals we care for. Me, my husband and our Julie are all middle aged and really should know better, but what’s a bit of humiliation amongst friends, work colleagues, family, the wider public? Oh no, the stares, the gawps the pointing of fingers –what have I agreed to do! I’m seriously going to need an audience on the day to make sure I go through with this challenge, so we have a special event taking place for our volunteers, staff and supporters to watch us go through with it.

The Fire and Ice challenge I did for the branch in 2014 saw me pretty much reduced to tears as I had to face walking on broken glass, the hot coals not so much, but the glass saw me reduced to a wobbly mess. Shaving my head hair off maybe lunacy, and I may very well live to regret it, but if we raise plenty of money for the animals it will be worth have a sunburnt bonce for summer.''

Please dig deep and donate. 

Deborah, Susie and all our participants need the encouragement to go through with this one! 

You can do this by either sending a text to:
BALD02 £1/2/3/4/5 or £10 to 70070 
or visit the Just Giving site here

 This is what the outcome is likely to be!