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12 Dogs of Christmas Update

So our intrepid volunteers have completed their task! Hannah Critchlow has slept, with her Stray Aid rescue dog Jasp...More

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Free Microchipping at Stray Aid

For dogs over 6 months of age that are resident in Durham, Hartlepool or Middlesbrough, they can be microchipped free of charge at the rescue centre. Please ring 0300 9994247 for details


Pets at Home Middlesbrough

Our volunteers will be at Pets at Home, Middlesbrough between 10-3 on Saturday 5th November. Please pop along and say hello, and learn a bit more about our charity


Awareness Day at Sedgefield Farmers Market

Our volunteers will be at the Sedgefield Farmers Market on Sunday 6th November between 8am and 12.30. Such an early start shows true dedication! Please come along and speak to our volunteers about ...


90s night at the Tythe Barn Club, Durham

The Tythe Barn Club in Durham are holding another Charity Night for Stray Aid, on Friday 11th November between 7.15-11pm. Live Vocalist Robbie Raines will be performing, should be a great night. On...


Charity Auction Night at the Black Horse, Tudhoe

Our volunteers will be holding a Charity Auction Night at the Black Horse, Tudhoe from 7pm on 13th November. These nights are great fun, the prizes are excellent and they raise much-needed funds fo...


Rock-a-Holics at Park Drive Cricket Club, Hartlepool

The wonderful Rock-a-Holics are performing at the Park Drive Cricket Club, Hartlepool TS26 0DA from 7.30pm on Saturday 26th November to raise funds for Stray Aid. They provide music to suit every t...

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Vets Diary




"At Stray Aid I provide health checks and cost-effective veterinary treatment to the dogs and cats rescued by the charity during their stay at our kennels.

Since Stray Aid opened its first rescue centre in Durham in 2006, it has been able to improve the profile of stray dogs and as a direct result many re-homeable dogs have been saved and given loving new homes.

Sue Bielby BVMS MRCVS President, Stray Aid, Ltd

Below are some interesting stories for your information: 


We are constantly surprised by the sights we see here at the rescue centre. When the tiny terrier was presented for routine spay, our vet felt there was something not quite right. The bladder seemed harder than normal and further investigations were obviously required. A sterile needle was inserted, and the tip could be felt grating against material with the consistency of stone! Bladder stones are not uncommon in older dogs, but the size of this one was really something worth seeing!

Bladder pre op Bladder with stone exposed Bladder with stone emerging

The little girl must be so much more comfortable now that this large stone has been removed!

Bladder stone

The poor dog herself only weighed 2.95kg, and the stone measured over 3cm! Thankfully the Animal Welfare Team can deal with such issues on site, and she is so far making a good recovery


When the litle Jack Russell terrier was brought to our kennels, she was rushed straight into the Animal Welfare centre, obviously very unwell. Her body temperature was low, she was very underweight, dehydrated, and with a masively swollen abdomen. An ultrasound scan in our veterinary surgery revealed a uterus full of pus, what we call a "closed pyo". Sometimes when the womb becomes infected the bitch develops a discharge, however sometimes, as in this case, the entrance to the womb gets blocked and the pus builds up inside. This can lead to septicaemia and death. The only cure is an emergency hysterectomy, which was carried out there and then.

JRT pyo JRT on drip

Thankfully due to intensive nursing, intravenous fluids, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories she was soon well on the road to recovery, and was rehomed a couple of weeks later. 

JRT feeling better

The council are not invoiced for the work that we do. When we first started Stray Aid, the attitude was that if euthanasia was cheaper than treatment then that was seen as the preferred option. Something that we most certainly did not agree with! If you would like to support the vital work that we do here at Stray Aid's Animal Welfare Centre, please visit visit

Of course, if she had been spayed, this would have been completely avoided. If you are not planning to breed from your dog, there are many reasons to consider having him or her neutered or spayed. An if you are planning to breed, please think twice. Rescues are overflowing with dogs as it is, do you really want to bring more puppies into the world?


Hopefully we all understand by now the damage that we can do to our dogs by throwing sticks or stones for them to fetch - sticks can pierce through the back of the throat, stones can get stuck in the stomach or intestines causing obstruction. However, sometimes our 4-legged friends find a way to cause themselves problems, which was the case with this little dog that came into the pound recently. She showed no outward symptoms of discomfort at all, but as time progressed she started to develop a swelling on the side of her face. And the reason soon became clear why!

Stick across roof of mouth

This poor dog had either been out scavenging while straying, or had helped herself to a little something from the barbecue! Either way, she had bitten just the perfect amount off of a skewer to wedge firmly across the roof of her mouth!

Stick removed Stick

Although the stick was quite easy to remove, a significant groove had formed in the roof of her mouth around it. Litter can cause so much harm, to both wildlife and our beloved pets, so please tidy up after yourself straight away!


I am often surprised by the attitude of people who ring the council dog pound, annoyed at the wardens who have found their dog and brought it safely to the kennels to await collection. "The dog is always getting out and knows its way home"! Really? What if it CAN'T get home? What if it gets stolen, or run over, or gets into a fight with another dog, like the poor girl who was brought in at 7pm tonight

Eyelid torn Eyelid stitched

Thankfully what makes Stray Aid so special is that we do whatever we can as soon as we can, and within an hour of entry this dog had been given a general anaesthetic, stitched back together, and placed in a recovery kennel with the medication she needs. Whether or not a dog knows its way home is irrelevant, the streets can be very dangerous for unaccompanied dogs.  


When a Jack Russell terrier was brought to the Stray Aid Animal Welfare Centre with a large gash in her shoulder, it was obvious that the injury was not fresh. From the smell and discolouration, the injury would have been caused at least a day or two before. The wound was bathed and the dog was put on antibiotics straght away. The plan was that with regular bathing and antibiotic cover, the wound would be safe to stitch after a few days, as the risk of trapping infection under the stitches would have been significantly reduced by then - in the same way that wounds in humans are not stitched immediately if infection is considered likely to follow. However, at the end of the 3-day monitoring period, it was obvious that mother nature was going to take care of this one!  

Jack Russell shoulder injury Jack Russell shoulder healed

By the end of the week, the healing process was well underway, as you can see from the photo above, and by the time she was anaesthetised for spaying a few days later, the wound had completely healed. This was one instance where careful monitoring and first aid/pain relief/wound management were all that was needed to get this special girl sorted and ready to find her forever home, which I am pleased to say she did, very soon after.


We see all sorts here at the kennels at Coxhoe. This sweet dog was brought in with a rather embarrassing problem. We have no way of knowing how this injury was caused, but it was rather alarming to see the large split in his prepuce. This was months if not years old, and the skin had become stretched over time and was hanging down, with urine dribbling out of both the "normal" hole in the skin and also the large slit that had formed.

Albert before

Although he was able to pass urine, it was rather off-putting for this poor dog, and the way the flow of urine was diverted greatly increased the chance of infection. Surgery was really the only option.

Albert during op Albert after op

Thankfully the operation went well, and less than a week after such delicate surgery, our lad is having no trouble with his waterworks.

Albert standing

What a relief! Our vets not only perform life-saving surgery, they can also fix "Embarrassing Bodies"!

If you would like to contribute towards the valuable work we do here at the rescue centre, please visit the Support Us page of our website


Those of you who follow our website regularly, will have been amazed at the sheer numbers of dogs passing through our kennels. But did you know that a total of 1,429 stray dogs were brought to Stray Aid in the 12 months between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016? Of those, 750 were returned to owner. The remaining 679 were transferred to our charity. Sadly 12 of these dogs were not considered rehomeable for reasons of health or temperament, and had to be put to sleep, but the remaining 667 were perfectly rehomeable, and our committment was to get them into loving forever homes as quickly as possible, to make room for the next batch! Networking with other charities to ensure the best possible homes for our dogs, we are delighted to say that we have never needed to put a dog to sleep simply due to lack of space, although we have had to "kennel-share" more dogs recently than ever before. 

Every dog that has been rehomed by Stray Aid has been neutered, microchipped (thanks to Dogs Trust for their support), vaccinated and treated for fleas and worms. We have performed 184 dentals, removed 37 lumps, amputated 3 legs, repaired a ruptured cruciate, operated on 3 eyes, replaced a prolapsed lung lobe, the list goes on and on. It costs over £75,000 a year to run our Animal Welfare Centre. We have a whole new year coming up. Can you help us to keep on helping stray dogs in need?

For ways you can help, please visit the Support Us page on our website


When you agree to take any animal into your home, you have to accept responsibilty for it, and make sure you check it regularly. Not just a quick glance, but actually run your hands over it, at least once a week. It can be quite surprising sometimes, what can be lurking under all that hair!

Growth under hair Growth on neck exposed Growth removed now scarred

 A quick stroke of this dog (as we love doing here at Stray Aid!) revealed a growth lurking under its long hair. Although the growth was smooth and did not appear sinister, we thought it was better to be removed incase the collar aggravated it in the future. As you can see, the growth was successfully removed, ensuring that the new owners could forget about the lump and concentrate on enjoying their new dog. If you would like to support the work that we do every day here at the Animal Welfare Centre, please visit the Support Us page of the website


Here at the Stray Aid rescue centre, Coxhoe, we are firm believers in neutering. The main reason for this is that we see what goes wrong when this routine procedure is not performed. Apart from increasing the likelihood of the dog straying and being brought to the pound in the first place, as they often wander off with the intention of breeding, we also quite regulary see a range of tumours, fight wounds and infections.

Here we have a photograph of a normal uterus, with nice slim uterine "horns", and for comparison, the uterus of a dog that was brought to the centre with "pyometra" (pus of the womb) 

Normal uterus Pyo

Thankfully we were able to perform a hysterectomy here at the Animal Welfare Centre and she has made a full recovery. However, prevention is better than cure!

If you would like to help Stray Aid continue the work we do, please visit the Support Us page of the webiste 


When the gorgeous Labradoodle came into our centre as a stray, he had so much hair over his eyes that you could hardly see them at all. However, peering past the "curtain" to say hello, a strange pink swelling became evident in the corner of his eye.

Duke cherry eye

This is a condition called "Cherry Eye" where the gland that produces most of the tears for that eye actually prolapses (pops out) and can easily become damaged or infected. Thankfully in this case our vet Allison was able to successfully replace the gland, ensuring that his tear production keeps his eye moist and hopefully avoids further problems in the future.

Duke post op

Here at Stray Aid, we really never know what is going to come to our kennels next! Thankfully with our veterinary team in place we really can deal with most things. Please visit the Support Us  page of our website for ways to support the work we do


When we received a phone call from Middlesbrough council's holding kennels to say they had a dog with blood pouring from his head, we really did not know what to expect. As soon as we were contacted, we sent an animal ambulance out to collect him. The elderly terrier was brought straight to the veterinary clinic at our animale wlefare centre, where he was immediately assessed. He was in a collapsed condition, shocked, and caked in faeces and blood. The blood was coming from a large tumour which filled his ear canal. He also had a large tumour of his right testicle. He received a warm bath and pain relief, plus antibiotic for the infected tumour in his ear, and was immediately more comfortable.


Benji before bath Benji after bath

He was 13 years old and very frail, we were not sure if he would even survive a general anaesthetic, let alone whether or not our veterinary team could successfully remove the tumour. He was such a sweetheart, we knew we had to give it a try! Thankfully the tumour came out cleanly and he made an excellent recovery.

Benji ear tumour cleaned Benji during op Benji after op

And the best news is, the lovely lady who found him is going to give him his forever home! Another SAFE dog - Stray Aid For Ever!


A little Jack Russell was brought to the centre recently with a suspected mammary tumour, and from the photos you can see why. A large swelling was present under one of her teats.

Jack Russell hernia standing Jack Russell being held up

Gentle manipulation revealed that this was actually a hernia! This poor dog must have suffered a significant trauma - been kicked or had a very nasty fall, for instance - and the muscle under the mammary gland had been torn. This injury will have happened many months ago, as there was no bruising and adhesions had formed between the intestines and the body wall. No veterinary attention had been sought as there were no surgical scars. This could have been very dangerous for the dog, as her intestines were now sitting directly under the skin.

Hernia repair

Thankfully one of our veterinary team was able to successfully repair the muscle tear and the sweet girl has made a full recovery. If you would like to contribute towards the running costs of our animal welfare centre, please visit the Support Us page on the website



Here at Stray Aid's animal welfare centre, we try to do the best we can for each individual dog. When the elderly lurcher was brought in with a lump, it was important to find out whether it was something to worry about or not. Stray Aid has systems in place to try and ensure that we have as good an idea as possible what health problems our dogs are dealing with, and help them as best we can, within the restrictions that we work under.

Lurcher cyst

As the dog was already anaesthetised for spaying it was decided to remove the lump and check to see if there was any chance it could be cancerous.


The good news is that, once it had been removed, it was inspected and discovered to be a harmless cyst, and her wound is healing well.

If you would like to support the Animal Welfare centre and the work we do, please visit our website Support Us page


When the call came in that a lurcher was badly injured at the side of the road near Bishop Auckland one Sunday morning, presumed to have been run over, our Animal Ambulance attended straight away. A small crowd of people surrounded a beautiful Saluki, who was lying injured at the side of the road. It was obvious from a distance that her leg was badly injured, as her wrist was the size of a tennis ball and there was a "step" above it, where the wrist had moved in relation to the radius and ulna. Thankfully one of the people who had stopped to help her was in the process of applying a splint, using a piece of wood found at the scene. I hope the young man who was part of a small crowd watching, who stole our vehicle's emergency first aid kit from the back of the ambulance while we were busy attending to the injured dog was not too disappointed to find it did not contain the prescription drugs he was presumably hoping to find.

When the dog was further examined back at the charity's animal welfare centre, it became apparent that the leg could not be saved, as the ends of the radius and ulna that had been smashed off along with the wrist were too short to be re-attached. We stabilised the leg and made her as comfortable as possible for a few days as we tried to find her owner. We did take a phone call from someone claiming to be the owner, who basically told us that a 3-legged working dog was no use to him and hung up.

After waiting another few days incase the phone call was a hoax, but with no other owners coming forward, we made the decision to proceed with the amputation.

Tasha broken wrist Tasha showing broken bones Tasha post op

The operation was a complete success and Tasha adapted very quickly to life with 3 legs. She is being transferred to the Saluki Welfare Fund in Skipton on 26th October. They will make sure that she finds the best possible home.

Tasha dressing Tasha standing post op

We are very fortunate to have these facilities available to us. If you would like to help Stray Aids's animal welfare centre continue with the vital work it does, or if you could contribute towards replacing the stolen vehicle emergency first aid kit, please visit the Support Us page of our website, 


As bonfire night approaches, this is the time of year when thoughts turn to fireworks. I can remember as a child the excitement and delight I felt watching fireworks displays. It never occurred to me for a second that other creatures might be scared. However, looking at the situation now, it is perfectly natural that an animal would be terrified of sudden flashes of light and loud bangs. Over the years, fireworks seem to have become more and more powerful, and the bangs can be heard from a long way off.

Thinking back to last year, we actually had people shutting their dogs in the yard and then wondering why the terrified animals had leapt the fence and run off. This happened not just once but on several occassions. Please make sure you walk your dogs before dark, and bring your animals (cats AND dogs) in before dark. Close the curtains early, turn the telly or radio up, and provide a safe hiding place. If your pet wants to hide in the cupboard or behind the settee, provide a covered crate or bed where it can hide in comfort. Let your pet choose their own safe place, don't try to force it. Try to stay calm, if your dog starts running around then just ignore the behaviour, don't either make a fuss of the dog or tell it off.

Small animals such as rabbits who live outside should have their hutches partly covered with a thick blanket, to muffle sound and provide a hiding place. Extra bedding should be supplied such as hay so the animal can burrow in. If you are buying fireworks, please look at lower-noise products.

Please remember our little friends, the hedgehogs. If possible, do not build your bonfire until the day you will be lighting it and poke around in it just before lighting to make sure there is nothing hiding inside.


The importance of performing routine flea and worm treatment, even if you are not aware that your pet has any parasites, cannot be over-emphasised. Fleas in particular can breed at an alarming rate, and it doesn't take long for them to take over your pet, or sometimes even your house!

A stray lurcher was brought to us, crawling with fleas, 20 mins after applying Advocate this is what we found!

Fleas in water bowl mork and mindy bed mork and mindy bed close up

Dying fleas were jumping off in every direction, even into the water bowl, or dropping straight onto the blanket. Each of the spots you can see is a flea, some large and some small deppending on the stage of the flea's life cycle. The red colour looks like blood because it IS digested blood. Fleas actively suck blood from their "hosts" and then pass digested blood as flea faeces, which is the small gritty black bits that are often the first thing you see on a pet with a mild flea problem. With a severe infestation like this one, fleas were easily seen running all over the poor dog. With this level of infestation, the host can easily become anaemic, as was the case with this dog.

It should be remembered that fleas lay their eggs off the host, so the bedding where the dog had been living must have been riddled with fleas. If you use routine flea control with a reliable, good quality flea treatment, this simply cannot happen. If you don't treat regularly and find that your pet has fleas, it is VITAL to treat your entire house and wash all the pets' bedding or it will keep getting re-infested.

Your pet can carry roundworms for months or even years without showing symptoms, while still shedding eggs into the environment (these are too small to see with the naked eye). Fleas can carry tapeworms, which can also be caught from eating uncooked meat, vermin etc. If tapeworms are present, you will often see segments being passed, either on the faeces or crawling round the dog's back end. No-one wants to see that! So please treat your pets routinely and keep them safe.

If you would like to contribute towards the routine anti-parasite treatments that we give to ALL our rescue dogs, please visit the Support Us page of our website for ways you can help our charity and our dogs


When Corinne, the beautiful greyhound, attended our animal welfare centre, with a limp, it became clear that the cause was related to a toe, which was unfortunately not sitting at quite the right angle! This type of injury is often associated with the Greyhound Racing industry, where dogs are travelling at high speeds on a track and then go into a bend, putting undue force on the toe. This can be a career ender for "good racing dogs"In some cases, this is just what we call a "knocked-up toe" where the toe is angled upwards but the dog still stands on its pad. Unfortunately in Corinne's case, the toe was knocked over to the side so when she put her foot on the ground the joint was in direct contact, causing significant discomfort. Unfortunately the toe could not be re-positioned so there was only one solution - amputation.

Corinne toe Corinne toe after

As you can see, with the toe gone, the pain also disappears! She still has 3 good toes on that foot, which is more than plenty to allow her to lead a normal, happy life. If you would like to help us continue to help our dogs, please visit the Support Us page on our website


When this dog was brought to our Animal Welfare Centre, it was hard to miss the fact there was something wrong! One huge mass was hanging down from her back leg, and several other masses were obvious on both back legs.

Staffie lump Staffie lump close up

As you can see, the biggest lump was so huge that it had been rubbing on the ground as she had been sitting down. There was only one solution to this problem, which our Animal Welfare Team was happy to oblige!

Staffie post op Staffie post op 2

As you can see, the lumps were carefully removed and the scars will heal with time. If you would like to contribute towards the Animal Welfare work we do, please visit the Support Us page of our website,


Some of the dogs that arrive at our Animal Welfare Centre are just plain neglected. It takes just a few minutes a day to groom a dog if you keep on top of it. If you don't have a few minutes a day to spend with your dog, why not find a new owner who does?

Bedlington matted Bedlington hair

Above is a picture of a Bedlington terrier that was brought to our rescue centre, and the hair that was removed by our Animal Welfare Supervisor. And look what we found underneath!

Bedlington after

The poor soul looks rather bewildered but soon became much happier, being free from filthy matted hair for the first time in months or even years!

Unfortunately our clippers did not survive their ordeal, so if you would like to donate towards some new clippers or other grooming equipment, please visit the Support Us page of our website


Some of the issues we see here at the Animal Welfare Centre take more than just veterinary skill to put right. I need to warn you that some of the images are quite graphic, but the best way to understand the work that we do and the problems we have to deal with.

Rottie choke chain


Rottie chain digging in


 When this Rottweiler was brought to the centre, the smell alone alerted us to the fact there was a serious problem. A piece of blue rope appeared to be tightly wrapped round his neck but he was not prepared to let anyone near it for a check-up. He must have been in so much pain.

Under anaesthetic, the extent of the horror was revealed. The blue rope was attached to a metal chain lead, which had been clipped round his neck as a make-shift collar. This was far too tight, but once on it would have been impossible to undo. The dog must have been left like that for many days, because the chain had dug into the flesh and a severe infection had set in.

First things first, the chain had to be removed. Our centre manager used a grinding wheel, plus a lot of patience and great care, to cut through the thick metal chain. The sparks were quite literally flying.

Rottie chain off


Rottie chain off cleaned


 We all heaved a sigh of relief when the chain came off, and went about the business of fixing the dog. The dead and infected tissue had to be removed, creating a fresh wound, which we were then able to stitch. When he woke up he was certainly much happier! It was a few weeks before we were able to put a lead on him but he thoroughly enjoyed his walks on the harness.

Rottie neck healed


Thankfully he made a full recovery and was subsequently rehomed. We are often surprised by the sights we see here at Stray Aid. If you would like to support the vital work we do, please visit the Support Us page on our website,


When this tiny Yorkshire terrier, weighing only 2.5kg, was brought to the kennels, her eyes were completely stuck shut. Her eyes had clearly been discharging for some time, and the combination of pus and matted hair meant that she physically could not open her eyes

Yorkie eyes stuck shut Eye with pus Yorkie eyes

She was good as gold having her eyes gently bathed and the crusting and matted hair slowly removed.

Yorkie fluorescein Yorkie eyes open

A quick check, by applying some special stain, revealed that although the delicate surface of the eye had been damaged by the presence of pus and infection in the surrounding skin, the cornea had not developed an ulcer - yet. I love the look on her face once her eyes are open - Hello world, you're still there!

Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications were then started straight away. Thankfully due to the prompt veterinary attention provided at our Animal Welfare Centre, we have every reason to believe her sight has been saved.

It costs £1,000 a week to run our Animal Welfare Centre, which receives no Government funding and relies heavily on donations. If you would like to support the work we do for our strays, please visit the Support Us page of our website,


Yet again, we have been shocked and saddened, this time by 2 new arrivals to our Animal Welfare Centre. 2 identical black lurcher pups, no more than 3-4 months old, were brought in on Friday 12th June. These poor babies were desperately underweight and covered in tiny scabs which were causing intense itching. A quick skin scrape revealed scabies mites, a nasty parasite which spreads easily to other dogs but also to humans.

Puppy mange Puppy mange 2 Puppuy mange 3

These pups will need to be kept in isolation in our Animal Welfare Centre, fed a special diet to correct the malnutrition and allow the skin to heal, and receive regular mange treatments until the mites have gone. If you would like to contribute to the treatment of these neglected puppies, and help them make a speedy recovery, please visit the "Support Us" page of our website,, for ways you can help.


Here at Stray Aid’s Animal Welfare Centre, we are presented with a wide range of injuries. When this lurcher was brought in with a comment that it had been hit by a car, we didn’t know what to expect. We were quite relieved to find out that only 1 back paw had been injured, however the extent of the injury was quite horrifying.

Holly de-glove Holly before

Photos show a “de-gloving injury” where the skin has been stripped away by contacting the hard surface of the road, just like taking off a glove. These injuries are very serious and if not treated correctly can result in loss of a limb.

Thankfully this dog was brought to us in time. Following a series of dressing changes, every 2-3 days at first, over a period of 4 weeks, the wound eventually healed. This beautiful dog, which we called Holly, went on to make a full recovery and found herself a lovely home.

Holly dressing change Holly dressing Holly healing


As you can see, she was an incredibly happy girl who deserved every chance, and Stray Aid were delighted that we were in a position to do the very best for her. Every week, it costs around £1,000 to run our Animal Welfare Centre, which is vital to the charity to provide the care our strays need. If you would like to help us in the essential work we do, please visit our website , Support Us, for further details


Some of the sights we see here at Stray Aid make us sad, others make us angry. The following story did both:

A tiny little dog, weighing just under 3kg, was brought to the kennels with suspected "breast cancer" (mammary tumours). She had clearly had at least 1 litter of pups. On examination, there were 2 swellings under her tummy, but they were actually inguinal hernias! These are gaps in the muscle in the groin, where sometimes little pads of fat enter the space. In the case of this little dog, she had loops of intestine pushing through! This is a potentialy life-threatening situation because, if one of those loops of intestine had got trapped, it could have been "strangulated" resulting in infection, septicaemia and possibly even death.

Suzie hernia  Suzie hernia repair   Suzie hernia repaired

 It was vital that this hernia was repaired as soon as possible, which we were able to do in our Animal Welfare Centre. 

What really upset us was that this poor dog had actually had a litter of puppies. Firstly, the increased pressure of the puppies on her intestines as they grew inside her massively increased the risk of her hernia strangulating, or the hernial ring could have stretched and become even bigger. The other thing is that inguinal (and umbilical) hernias are often inherited so there would be a very high probabilty that some of the puppies would also have the same defect. 

Irresponsible dog breeding, by people who don't understand the implications, has a lot to answer for. Please do not breed from your bitches unless both dog and bitch have passed a full veterinary health check before appropriate mating, and that you are prepared for the fact that things could go wrong at any stage during pregnancy and whelping. You should also be confident that you will be able to find good homes for all the puppies.


One of the best things about being a veterinary surgeon is that you never know what is going to come through the door next. When an emaciated Saluki lurcher was brought to Stray Aid’s Animal Welfare Centre recently with “something pink sticking through a cut under his front leg” I assumed it would be a piece of muscle. However, a closer look revealed something that I had never seen before in over 30 years of veterinary practice. The pink object turned out to be part of his lung!



Jimmy standing


Jimmy's lung close up


So after a quick phone call to the restaurant where I had booked my birthday lunch, to say I was going to be late, the poor dog was taken straight to our operating theatre. He was so thin that in an ideal world we would not have even considered giving him an anaesthetic, however some things just can’t wait. The lung tissue was fresh and healthy, and had to be replaced before it became damaged. Once he was under anaesthetic, I cautiously started to explore the 1-inch gash in his armpit, to reveal a tear in the muscle between 2 of his ribs. As I started to extend my incision, it became clear that the muscle tear disappeared quite a distance along his chest wall – in the end a 4-inch tear was exposed. It could only be assumed that the dog had run unto some sort of sharp metal spike, and if the angle of entry had been slightly steeper he would not have escaped with his life.

27 stitches later, he was put into a recovery kennel, on a drip. I met up with family for my birthday meal, then rushed back to see if he was still alive. Not only was he still alive, he had pulled his drip out and was barking to be let out!! 

He was transferred to one of our isolation kennels, under a heat lamp, where he could be more closely monitored. He tried to climb out, up the mesh side of his kennel, 24 hours after life-saving surgery!! So we had no alternative but to put him back into our stray kennels and monitor him constantly, but he has never stopped eating and (still touching wood) he has never looked back!

Jimmy 5 days post op


This dog, who we now call Jimmy, undoubtedly owes his life to the care of Stray Aid’s Animal Welfare Team. It is an honour to work with such caring people, without their on-going vigilance and care the outcome could have been very different. 

If you would like to help Stray Aid help dogs like Jimmy, and support the amazing work of the Animal Welfare Centre, please visit the Support Us page of our website for further details.



We have recently returned from a most interesting Congress down in Bornemouth. The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH), which we recently became a member of, is an organisation set up to provide support and advice for smaller charities and not-for-profit organisations who care about animals. They provide us with a Code of Practice, to ensure best practice in animal welfare for those member charities. Their annual congress is an opportunity for us all to share our experiences, and to learn from the bigger charities.


The purposes of the Association are to:


  1. Develop good practice and influence others working in the rescue and/or rehoming of dogs and cats.
  2. Address common problems and issues.
  3. Explore and, where appropriate, negotiate price reductions through economies of scale.
  4. Exchange information and provide mutual support where practicable, which may include the movement of dogs and cats between organisations.
  5. Combine resources to encourage workable, welfare enhancing legislation.
  6. Exchange knowledge in construction and refurbishment of facilities.
  7. Where appropriate and agreed, represent the views of members to a wider audience.
We are very privileged to be part of this ever-growing association. Our charity is not perfect, but it was refreshing to find out that even the bigger players still have some way to go! One of the big things that set us apart was that most of the other charities were telling us to not take in quite as many dogs for now.......most of them take dogs handed in by their owners, and just put others on the waiting list until they have space, not a luxury that we have at Stray Aid. If a dog is straying in County Durham or Hartlepool, they will always be welcome with us. We have exciting plans for some extra kennels, currently in the hands of the Durham City Planning Office.
If you can't keep your dog any more, please ring round other local rescue centres and get it handed in, don't just kick it out onto the streets. Working together, we can really make a difference to the welfare of unwanted dogs.
If you would like to support our new kennel project, please visit the Support Us page on our website for further details 


We have talked before about the importance of seeking PROPER veterinary treatment for your dog. Here is an example of what can go wrong if you don't.

When this poor dog came to our centre as a stray, our animal welfare assistant was horrified to see that the skin around her eyes had dried forming thickened, dry “spectacles” which were rubbing on her eyes. The surface of her left eye in particular was dry and inflamed, with a “bruise” and cloudiness extending across it. There was a thick green discharge from the eye. If left untreated, she could have lost the sight in that eye, and possibly even the eye itself.

Our veterinary team were consulted and treatment was started straight away. She was given anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, and a soothing cream was applied to the surrounding skin.

 After just a couple of weeks her eyes were much more comfortable - and she wouldn't hold still!

As you can see from this final photograph, her eye is now clear and moist (light is reflecting from the back in this photo so don't worry, it's not cloudy!), and the hair is growing back in the skin surrounding her eyes. This beautiful dog has now made a full recovery, and been transferred to another rehoming centre.

Our animal welfare team has been able to provide daily treatment for this dog over the 4 weeks she was with us, and she has now been moved on to another rescue centre. She is a good example of what can go wrong if you don’t seek prompt veterinary advice, and what can be achieved if the required resources are in place. We need your help to continue the vital work we do, helping our stray dogs. If you would like to contribute towards vets fees, please visit the Support Us page of our website 


Those of you who check our website regularly may have noticed the vast numbers of dogs being brought to us. Some days we have no dogs at all brought in, on other days we have several. I notice that on the 15th April we had 7 dogs brought in! Young, old, big and small. Some microchipped, some wearing collars but NONE of them wearing a collar and disc, which is actually required by law. I should just point out, having your pet microchipped does not give it the right to stray, it only makes it easier for us to let you know where the dog is. A collar and disc would tell a finder where the dog belongs, and it could be returned to you promptly, probably by the well-meaning member of the public who found your dog and called the warden in the first place! 

Here at Stray Aid Rescue Centre, Coxhoe, we are happy to microchip dogs free of charge, with chips kindly donated by Dogs Trust. Microchipping of dogs becomes compulsory in April 2016 so please ring 0300 9994247 and arrange to get your dog chipped in plenty of time.

 It is an offence under the Control of Dogs Order 1992 for your dog to be in a public place without a collar and tag with the owner’s name and address on it, even when the owner is in charge of the dog.

 Your dog may not “like” having a collar on, there are many different types so if it doesn’t like a leather collar then a lightweight nylon collar might suit better. If the disc or name tag keeps coming off, it is better (and cheaper in the long run) to pay a bit more for a good quality disc with a strong split ring, than have to pay for 3 or 4 cheaper ones, and a stay in a council pound!

 If the dog keeps getting out, please try and work out how, and make every attempt to stop it. If it jumps over, or squeezes under, or gets through, your fence, it is probably a good time to mend the fence or at least not leave the dog unsupervised in the garden until you can get it repaired. The fact that a dog may be “always getting out, he knows his own way home/the neighbours just bring him back” etc. does not make allowances for your dog getting attacked by other dogs, getting run over, or being stolen and sold on. In addition, your dog may foul in the street, committing a further offence.

 Please supervise your dogs at all times, and keep them safe from harm.


Did you know that dental care for dogs should always start when they are puppies? If you get your pet used to you rubbing your finger across its teeth and gums first, followed by a tasty treat, then they soon learn that there is nothing to fear. Then get some special dog toothpaste (human toothpaste is NOT safe to use, as it usually contains Xylitol, a sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs), which is usually either beef or chicken flavoured. You will hopefully find that they quite enjoy the treat and find the whole process quite enjoyable. Gradually introduce a soft toothbrush with dog toothpaste, so that the young animal knows there is nothing to be frightened of. Make sure you talk calmly to your dog, reassuring him that all is well, and do NOT tell him off if he gets restless or upset, just leave him for a while, and then try again later with toothpaste on your finger. This will make cleaning teeth in adult dogs much easier.

An added bonus to daily cleaning is that dogs used to having their teeth cleaned are less frightened of the vet looking in their mouths! Daily brushing means that you will detect any problems, such as a smell on the breath, bleeding gums, or even growths, very quickly and can seek prompt veterinary advice.

Charlie teeth

The dog pictured above is only 10 months old. You can clearly see that plaque and tartar are already starting to form around his molars. We scaled (cleaned with a dental scaler) and polished his teeth and gave his new owner advice on dental hygiene. Some dental chews can be very effective. In addition, some dry food is specially formulated to assist with teeth cleaning, and dry food is generally better at cleaning teeth than wet food, which tends to stick to the teeth allowing bacteria to multiply. 

More than 85% of dogs over the age of 4 will have some degree of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a painful inflammatory condition where bacteria building up underneath the tartar actually attack the gums, ligaments and bone surrounding the teeth. This results not only in the teeth becoming loose over time, but there is also a risk that bacteria will enter the bloodstream, potentially damaging internal organs, in particular the kidneys, liver and heart. 

Teeth Yorkie

This 8-year old Yorkie is a classic example of what can happen if teeth are left unattended! His teeth were scaled and polished here at Stray Aid’s Animal Welfare Centre, 4 teeth had to be removed but the rest were healthy underneath the tartar. As is quite common with smaller breeds, he refused to eat dry food and would not let anyone near his mouth to clean his teeth so training had to start from scratch, getting him used to having his teeth brushed. We had to start with him licking cheese spread from our fingers, then progressing to chicken flavoured toothpaste. It takes time and great patience and some dogs who were not taught early enough will resist all attempts to have their teeth brushed.

 Finally, pictured below, is the result of 14 years of neglect. As you can see if you can bear to look at the photograph, the teeth are leaning forwards as all the supporting structures have been eaten away by bacteria. Stray Aid’s vet had to remove every single tooth from this poor dog, although it was a very straightforward procedure as all the teeth were loose to start with! A week of antibiotics before the dental work began, plus another week following the operation, and the toy poodle in the photograph went on to be successfully rehomed. 

Teeth poodle

Operations like these would cost the dog's new owner many hundreds of pounds at a High street vets. Apart from the obvious discomfort the dog was suffering, the unsightly appearance and disgusting smell would have made him very difficult to rehome in the first instance. Here at Stray Aid, we took great pleasure in providing the veterinary care he needed, ensuring that he was comfortable, and much nicer for both our volunteers and his new owners to cuddle! If you would like to contribute towards the cost of materials and support our Animal Welfare Centre, please visit the Support Us page on our website for ways you can help.


Here at Stray Aid, we get lots of 4-legged visitors. However, last week we were inundated with 8-legged visitors - TICKS!! 3 terriers were brought in last week, who had been living rough for a while, and they were literally COVERED with ticks! We took the biggest adults off straight away.


If one or two ticks are detected, it is OK to remove them. Please take great care, and use a proper "tick lifter", because if you just try to pull them out then you can easily leave the tick's head in, which will often become badly infected.


In this case, because there were literally dozens of ticks, in all stages of development, we applied Frontline, which kills ticks within 24-48 hours. Then our animal welfare team very carefully combed out all the dead ticks, pictured on the comb below. 

Ticks on comb


Please remember that if you find and remove a single tick on your pet, there could easily be more so please treat with an effective product straight away so that any smaller ones hidden away will be killed and drop off after a few days.

Not only do ticks cause discomfort to your pets, they also spread diseases, in particular Lyme disease, which can also affect humans. 

Please check your pets' coats regularly, you never know what you might find!


No flies on THIS lurcher!

Here at Stray Aid, we often despair about the state of the dogs brought in to us. And it is not uncommon to see lurchers who are in a dreadful state. However, we never get hardened to the harsh reality of the neglect they have suffered in their past lives.

When the dog (pictured below) was brought to the site, our veterinary team was asked to examine it straight away:

Emaciated lurcher

For your information, he weighed just under 15kg, at least 7kg (a stone) underweight. What really upset us was his pressure sores:

Pressure sore

This poor dog was so thin, he had no muscle or fat to protect his joints when he laid down. He must have been lying on a hard surface, with little or no bedding, for many weeks or even months. As he laid down and stood up, the bones of his stifles (knees) and hocks (heels) rubbed on the hard floor. He must have turned from one side to the other, as both sides had deep painful wounds.

The most distressing thing about this poor lad, is that flies had actually laid eggs in the deepest wound on his stifle. In another day or so, when these eggs hatched, he would have been crawling with maggots.

We cannot stress strongly enough:

If you make the conscious decision to have a dog (or any living creature), you have a responsibility to that animal.

Please ensure it has enough to eat and drink, and has a comfortable bed to lie on, and gets plenty of exercise. Please check your dog regularly, and if you see any wounds, please try to find out how the animal has become injured, take steps to prevent further injury, and seek advice on appropriate treatment for your pet.

If you decide to take a dog in, there is both a legal and a moral obligation on you to ensure its needs are met, allowing it to live a happy and comfortable life.

If you would like to help support the work Stray Care vets do every day at Stray Aid’s dedicated Animal Welfare centre, please visit the “Support Us” page on the website.

                                                               Phoebe's Happy Ending

A beautiful lurcher found straying was brought to our kennels at Coxhoe by council wardens. She was unable to use her left  front leg due to a previous injury which meant that her wrist could not straighten even under general anaesthetic.

Phoebe Phoebe 4


Her leg was making it awkward for her to stand up and lie down. She had already adapted, as you can see from the photograph of her standing, her right leg is taking all the weight directly beneath her, and it was agreed by both Stray Aid’s veterinary surgeons that the useless leg should be amputated. 

Phoebe post op Phoebe 14

Although the operation seems quite drastic, it means that this beautiful girl, now named Phoebe, would be able to find a new home without the risk of complications arising.

Thankfully, a lovely lady who met Phoebe along her journey decided that she was the perfect addition to her 2-legged and 4-legged family, a 3-legged dog! In the picture below, she is meeting the stunning Wolfie who has agreed that she will fit right in to their loving home.


 There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a beautiful dog like Phoebe, who has had such a tough start, going on to a fantastic new life. We are very grateful to her new family for giving her this second chance.

Elsie's Lump

Elsie, an elderly crossbreed, was brought to our vet with a rather suspicious thickening in the skin. Without further investigation, it was impossible to be sure whether this was sinister or not.

Elsie before Elsie after Elsie lump


When the hair was clipped, 2 small puncture wounds became visible. It was decided that, although probably a reaction to this previous bite injury, it was safest for Elsie if it was surgically excised, to ensure it did not become malignant in the future. As you can see from the photos above, this thickening has been cleanly removed. Elsie has made a full recovery, and been transferred to Jerry Green Dog Rescue at Thirsk, along with presumed daughter Rita who was picked up on the streets with her.  

 Bran's Post-op Complications

On arrival at the kennels, it was immediately clear to our Animal Welfare Supervisor that the stunning young lurcher we now call Bran was in need of urgent veterinary attention. He was clearly lame on his back right leg, and the muscles had wasted. She took Bran straight to the charity's vet who, on closer examination, noticed a small scab on the skin which, once removed, revealed the end of a piece of surgical wire!! Further investigation was required and as the charity does not have the necessary x-ray equipment, we put out an urgent appeal through our veterinary contacts, to get the help Bran needed.

Bran Bran xray Pin and wire

Our vet nurse, who works part-time for Sheriff's Highway vets in Gateshead, contacted their orthopaedic vet Graeme Armstrong, who kindy agreed to x-ray Bran's leg at NO cost to the charity! They used their state of the art equipment to produce a digital image, pictured above, and the problem became immediately obvious to Graeme. The x-ray showed a previous injury, known as tibial crest avulsion, which had been surgically repaired using a pin and wire. Whilst Bran was anaesthetised, Graeme was able to remove the pin and wire as they were now part of the problem rather than the solution. Stray Aid is extremely grateful for the help and advice freely given by Graeme and the staff at Sheriff's Highway Veterinary Group. Bran is currently doing well in Stray Aid's Animal Welfare Centre, on strong antibiotics and pain relief, being cared for by the charity's veterinary team. Any donations towards the cost of his on-going treatment as we try to clear the deep-seated infection from his bone, and save his leg, are of course always appreciated!

New Coat for Bobby

One of the most common skin diseases diagnosed in the stray dogs brought to our kennels is sarcoptic mange (scabies) This condition is caused by a tiny mite burrowing into the skin, causing intense irritation. These mites can also live on humans so gloves should be worn when handling affected dogs. Another name for scabies is "fox mange", as the mites are commonly found on foxes and also, sadly, the lurchers and terriers that have been used (illegally) to hunt them.

Pictured above are "before and after" pictures of Bobby,an 18-month old lurcher who came in in a dreadful state. He received a spot-on treatment straight away, repeated at regular intervals, to kill the mites. He also had several baths to kill the bacteria and yeasts that had invaded his damaged skin. A few weeks of treatment and Stray Aid TLC, and just look at him now! 


Did you know that wherever dogs meet, such as out on walks (even if there are no other dogs about at the time), training classes, boarding kennels or stray dog pounds, they run the risk of picking up Kennel Cough? The name is a sweeping term for a highly infectious cough which can be caused by one of a number of bacteria or viruses, only some of which can be vaccinated against so a vaccinated dog can unfortunately still get "Kennel Cough". Kennel Cough symptoms range from a mild, dry cough to a severe cough similar to whooping cough in children. Owners often describe a choking, as if there is "something stuck in the dog's throat". In the worst cases, infection can spread to the chest causing pneumonia. Infected dogs can cough for weeks, and are highly infectious. If you suspect your dog may have kennel cough, you should isolate the dog and seek prompt veterinary advice.


Not Hungry Jack?


Our staff and volunteers have strong bonds with the dogs we care for. These dogs arrive as strays with no history, so the powers of observation are vital when trying to target health problems with our dogs. Jack the beautiful collie x staffie was the picture of health and happiness while he stayed in the council dog pound, pound staff got to know him and his seemingly endless appetite!

Jack passed his health check with a gold star and happily moved over into the rehoming kennels ready for adoption.             


Suddenly a change in Jack became apparent, volunteers began informing pound staff that Jack wasn't eating, he would attempt some soft meat and physically wince when dry food was put in front of him. Staff knew this didn't sound like the food loving Jack they knew and loved so quickly checked him over, upon looking at his teeth they noticed some blood, sore gums and a crack in one of his teeth. He was taken straight to Sue, our resident veterinary surgeon, who confirmed a slab fracture to one of his molar teeth. A painful flap of tooth had broken off, held in place only by the gum, exposing the sensitive tissues and nerves below every time he tried to chew, making it extremely painful for Jack to eat. Jack was booked in for a full dental in our on-site veterinary operating suite the very next morning, where Sue was able to remove the offending tooth (pictured below), and also scale and polish the remaining teeth. Jack is now feeling much better, and thanks to the swift actions of the team, he soon recovered from his unexpected visit to the dentist!




Sundance's Story


On Saturday 30th August 2014 our vet got a call from the neighbourhood wardens regarding a little dog with a poorly leg. He was in a front garden in obvious pain. Vet Sue and manager John went out in the centre's ambulance to collect the injured stray and brought him back to the centre. Further investigation revealed the dog had sustained a broken elbow. Our vet supported the leg with a cast to protect the elbow from further damage and supplied ongoing pain medication to help him cope until the problem could be dealt with. No owner came forward to claim him so seven days later ownership transferred from the council to the charity.                     


Paul Wilson from Wilson Veterinary Group came to our animal welfare centre and performed the operation to remove the dog's leg. Named "Sundance" by staff who had grown to love the young dog. The operation was performed in just over an hour and within two hours Sundance was awake, it took a few more hours before he began to test out standing but he's making good progress. We'll keep him for another 2 weeks before removing the stitches and placing him up for adoption, by which time he should have adjusted well to life on three legs. 



Wash and Squash

Vinnie was just a young pup, full of fun and games when he arrived. The poor pup had been out scavenging when he'd found an old tuna tin, when he'd tried to lick the tin the lid clamped down on his poor tongue! Vinnie needed a general anaesthetic in order to remove the tin. If he had not been found in time, he would have starved to death. 

Vinnie was very lucky, his life was saved because he was found and brought to Stray Aid where our vet was able to help. It didn't take long to find him a family!

Vinnie & tuna tinVinnie & tinVinniehappy

Vinnie Happy

Please remember to “wash and squash” any tins that have contained food, and remove the lids completely. Even traces of food left inside can tempt animals to lick them out. Also wildlife can get their heads stuck inside tins, they cannot eat and slowly starve. Please remember, REMOVE THE LID, then WASH AND SQUASH!!


Looks like Spring might be on the way at long last! But it never comes alone......As the weather warms up, parasites become much more active. The two most common parasites to look out for at this time of year are ticks and fleas. 

Ticks are often (but not exclusively) found in the countryside, especially in areas with sheep and deer. Ticks feed from the blood of the animals they attach to, then drop off when full. This way, they pick up disease from one animal and then re-attach to another, spreading infections such as Lyme disease which can cause kidney problems, fever, lethargy and swollen joints. If you see a tick, please do NOT try to pull it off, use a tick removal hook which will ensure that the head is removed. If the head is left in, a reaction or possibly infection can occur. A reliable tick treatment should also be used regularly, this will not prevent the tick from attaching but it will be killed as it feeds, which is helpful for those ticks that are not detected by the owner.

Fleas are always around but become much more active in the warmer weather. If your dog becomes itchy, look through his coat. You may see a dark reddish-brown flea running across the skin at the base of the hairs, or you may see dark specks on the skin which, when brushed on to damp kitchen towel, cause red staining - this is flea dirt. Fleas lay their eggs on the ground or on the dogs coat, which then drop off wherever the dog goes, the eggs then develop into larvae all over the house! If you find adult fleas and flea dirt, it is advisable to also use a household spray, as well as a reliable flea treatment.


Poor scamp

Scamp is a 4 year old Lhasa Apso cross.
Anyone who's owned a Shih Tzu or Lhasa before will know they require regular grooming in order to be happy, comfortable dogs.

Scamp has probably not been groomed an a long time! He arrived covered in matted hair, he couldn't see very well and it was uncomfortable for him to walk.


Shaving the little dog took almost two hours for two people. His face alone taking an hour and a half to remove excess hair from his ears, mouth and neck.


Vet and volunteer eventually found the dog under all that matted hair, they couldn't believe how clean and healthy he looked, no fleas and only one sore, having expected to find a  lot worse. 


We tried to ensure Scamp kept some hair to keep him warm. The matted hair weighed in at an astonishing 500g. Scamp now feeling lighter with more freedom to move enjoyed a good scratch when he woke up. 

Kara's Story


 Kara came in as a stray with a very large lump on her underside, obviously causing her discomfort. Sue removed the lump to discover it weighed a whopping 600 grams!  Kara lump removed  Kara now feeling fit and healthy, her stiches healed she's still looking for her forever home!

 After being all stitched up Kara began antibiotics and recuperation ready to go to a new forever home!

Kara also suffered from eye and ear infections which are currently being treated.

   After being with us for some weeks now Kara is still looking for her forever home, her stiches healing wonderfully, her eye and ear infections all responding well to treatment.

After weeks in kennels Kara did finally find herself a forever home. Kara joined her new home in February 2013 and just over a year after joining her dad David, sadly Kara passed away. We can find joy in the fact she enjoyed a year of love and happiness after being adopted and hope she's running free over the rainbow bridge enjoying her final retirement.