Episode 7 Animal 24:7


Episode 7

Series following people dedicated to helping animals. This episode features a dog whose weight and couch potato lifestyle have put her life in danger.


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Transcript


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Britain's animals are under threat.

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All too often, our wildlife and domestic pets

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are the victims of cruelty, persecution and neglect.

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Fighting to save them is a dedicated band of people

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trying to protect and care for them right around the clock.

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This is Animal 24:7.

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'Today on Animal 24:7...'

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Come on, heffalump.

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'..crisis for the pooch who's piled on the pounds.'

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Her breathing's compromised due to the extra weight she's carrying.

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Every step will literally be an effort for her, to be honest.

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'A police raid at an owl-lover's home faces a major setback.'

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He's had an owl put his claw straight through the vein. The hole's about that big.

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'And a tiny fragment causing huge problems for Ralf.'

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The fact is, it's like a stone in the shoe,

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and you wouldn't want that in one of your joints.

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To many people, the classic image of animal cruelty

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is when a dog has been starved.

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Its ribs are showing and it can hardly move.

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But, as this next story shows,

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the problems can be just as bad when a pet is given too much food

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and becomes really fat.

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'We're often warned about the consequences of a junk food diet.

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'Obesity rates are on the rise and a couch potato lifestyle

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'can have serious health implications.

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'But it's not just people that can be affected.

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'Our pets are, too.

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'The latest complaint is in Preston.

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'Inspector Mandy Barr has been told that a dog is so fat, it can barely walk.'

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Hi, I'm from the RSPCA. Someone's called concerned, saying it's really overweight.

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'Inside, though, the size of the dog is not the only problem.'

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Ooh, look at her ears. That's not normal.

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-'There's a whole host of issues.'

-She is quite matted underneath.

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'And it seems to be all because the dog doesn't get out and about.'

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Her feet look quite bad, as well, and I can't tell if her nails are there. I just don't know.

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'Mandy's seen enough. This dog, Rosie, needs help. The family is persuaded to let her go.'

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It's not her dog. It was dumped on her last year. But she's looked after it so she is responsible.

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'Rosie is so overweight, she can barely walk.'

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-DOG BARKS

-Are we going to try and lift you up? Come on, then, Rosie!

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'Mandy has to use all her strength to get Rosie to the van.

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SHE GROANS

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'And outside, the sorry state of this King Charles is clear to see.'

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Come on, heffalump.

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'Rosie's a huge bundle of fat and matted fur.'

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She's really heavy, but she's also reluctant to move,

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because she's overweight, and she's panting quite a lot.

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So she just sort of flops down after a couple of seconds of moving.

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But, yeah, she's quite hefty. A lot of that will be the fur, as well. But she is very overweight.

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'Rosie's size will be putting plenty of strain on her heart, as well as her legs.

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'She needs to see a vet to find out how much she's suffering.'

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Come on, then, fatty!

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'Once again, Rosie is unable to walk.'

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Come on, then, sweetheart.

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'Vet Claire Shaw is on hand to check her over.'

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She's got quite a bit of wheezing and crackling on her chest there.

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Cos she is quite large, that could be a lot of referred noise from the upper airway.

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'Examining Rosie is not an easy task.

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Her paws are... I can't tell whether her nails are there or not.

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And her back end, there's actually faeces within her fur at the back.

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That claw is curled right the way round.

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'Claire soon discovers it's not just weight which is holding Rosie back.'

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There's a claw here that's also cracked and actually broken off.

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On her hind feet, as well. These are quite difficult to see.

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The claw has actually grown round and into the pad. That's obviously not just happened.

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'All of Rosie's claws are painfully overgrown.'

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For the claws to go round like that, you're looking at a few months, at least.

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'This is a direct result of her couch potato lifestyle.'

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Most dogs that get regular exercise don't need their claws trimming

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cos they'll naturally wear down through walking on hard surfaces.

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But ideally, all dogs should have their claws checked at least every three months, really.

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These have certainly not been looked at

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since they've had the dog, unfortunately.

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-Rosie. Ooh, you've got a nasty tooth there, haven't you, sweetie?

-Very nasty tooth.

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'And whatever Rosie's eating is rotting her teeth.'

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I've removed quite a large chunk of matted hair and food

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and I've found tooth roots are exposed there

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and quite a lot of discharge and infection around the roots, so those will need extracting.

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-'And, on the other side...'

-Ooh.

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'..her tooth decay is even worse.'

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I've examined the right-hand side of her mouth

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and a large plaque of what looks to be matted food and discharge there.

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'The verdict on Rosie is damning. She has a series of chronic problems

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'caused by lack of exercise, poor grooming and a bad diet.

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'She needs immediate treatment.'

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The kindest thing would be to put her under anaesthetic and have a look at her teeth when she's asleep.

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She will need numerous extractions, though.

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'But putting a dog this fat under anaesthetic comes with huge risks.

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'Later...'

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That's what we've just clipped off its ear, which is just all mat.

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'And Ralf the horse faces a risky procedure.'

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You can't overestimate the importance of getting the anaesthetic right.

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What's going on in his joint won't kill this horse,

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but if something goes wrong with the anaesthetic, it could.

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Owls are beautiful and majestic birds

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and though usually associated with living in the wild,

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they can be kept in captivity if you have the right paperwork.

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But that's not the only thing to consider.

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If you own such a bird, they are powerful and have sharp talons, which can be dangerous.

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'It's early morning in Plymouth.

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'A team of officers are preparing to mount a raid.'

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A lot of the decisions in terms of exhibiting

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will be decided on what we actually find there.

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'A local man is suspected of illegally keeping owls.

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'Sergeant David Knight of Devon and Cornwall Police is heading up the briefing.'

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No birds will be handled by anybody unless absolutely essential.

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'It's also thought that the suspect has been opening his property to the public without a licence.

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'This is illegal.'

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-How many birds are we expecting?

-We can have up to 200.

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'And it's not just the number of birds that could make this job difficult.'

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It's going to be muddy out there, so it'll be slippery under foot, so be careful.

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We won't be touching animals, so we shouldn't worry about bites or scratches.

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Right, are there any questions?

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'The team is now fully briefed.

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'Officers from the National Wildlife Crime Unit, RSPCA

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and police force set off in convoy.

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'Leading the way is the council's animal welfare officer, Jackie Taylor.

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'She's had dealings with this bird owner before.

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He's, erm, changeable, I think is the word I'm looking for.

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He might be OK, he might not.

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We have to identify every bird that's there.

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We have to make sure that they're all healthy and well.

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And we have to double check each piece of paperwork, should there be any,

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against each individual bird that's there.

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Blood samples will be taken and microchips will be inserted.

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'Straight away, there are clues this owner may have been opening as a business.'

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It's obvious that he was open.

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'Inside, there's a variety of aviaries and sheds housing dozens of owls.

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'There's also a caravan where owner Brian Hooper lives.'

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We're here to execute a warrant.

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'It's the job of the police to explain.'

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What we'll do is search your property, have a look at your animals.

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Why do you want to see my birds? You don't trust me?

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No, it's because we need to make sure that they've been recorded correctly.

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Yeah, that's OK. It's not a problem.

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'Brian is keen to cooperate. The team can now get to work.'

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They've gone in, they've executed the warrant,

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he seems quite happy with us all being here, which is nice.

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And they're going to get a site plan of what's here

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and then start identifying birds one by one

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whilst checking welfare, taking bloods, microchipping, all that sort of thing.

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'But initial inspections reveal problems with the way these birds are living.'

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We're checking each individual cage

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to make sure there's no signs of any welfare issues.

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That one is slightly worse.

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'There are now real concerns that Brian has too many owls and is struggling to cope.'

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It's difficult to assess a condition of a bird unless you touch it,

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because of feathers and things. A bit like a hairy dog.

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Some long-haired dogs look quite fat but they might be really thin.

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So it's the same sort of thing with birds.

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'Jackie is now keen to get close up to see if the birds themselves are suffering.

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'Brian brings his owls out one by one.

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'Vet Chris Gardner begins assessing each and every bird.'

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IBR closed ring, 37986Z.

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'They're scanned for chips and a description is taken.'

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C00Z.

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'This will then be checked against Brian's paperwork.'

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Looking through the caravan, we've found some documents and certificates

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and bits of paper that are relevant to his keeping the birds.

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We're just going through a few of those to check against the list of birds that we've found

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that were recorded with the experts.

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'It's not illegal to own owls, but if any of these birds have been taken from the wild,

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'Brian will be breaking the law.

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'Everything seems to be going to plan.'

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-NA7.

-OK.

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'Then suddenly, a setback.'

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-I've had worse than this.

-Yeah, but that's gone right through your vein.

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'Owls have incredibly sharp talons and one has ripped into Brian's hand.'

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-That's going to need stitches.

-No! It isn't big enough for that.

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It is big enough for that. It's not a little tiny cut.

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'With Brian unable to handle the birds, the operation is at a standstill.

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'An ambulance has arrived.'

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He's had an owl put his claw straight through the vein. The hole's about that big.

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'The paramedics will now decide how seriously Brian has been injured

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'and whether this operation has to be postponed.

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'Later, Rosie begins her fat-fighting classes.'

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She does really enjoy it. She will pant a bit, because she's not used to it,

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but when she gets going, she's wagging her tail the whole way.

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She's so excited to be out and she just wants to enjoy herself.

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Like most of the animals we treat, horses can get sick,

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and when they do, they need the very best medical attention.

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But these guys present a particular challenge in comparison to most of our pets.

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Their sheer size.

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Well, today I'm at one of the biggest vet clinics in the Northwest of England

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seeing how they cope with the scale of this problem.

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'Wright and Morten has a team of six equine vets who deal with

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'several hundred cases every week.

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'The hub of their operation is their high-tech horse hospital near Congleton in Cheshire.'

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-So where is he?

-Just in a stable over here.

-Oh, there he is!

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'Today, Francesca Squire is visiting her 16-year-old Hanoverian, Ralf...'

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He's beautiful, isn't he?

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'..before he undergoes a critical operation.'

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So, tell me, why is he in here in the first place?

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At the end of April, I noticed that he was slightly uneven, a bit lame.

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We were hoping it was just ligament strain, but it turned out that he has a chipped bone in his fetlock.

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'The fetlock is a joint just above the hoof

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'which is critical for a horse's mobility.

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'It's vital vets operate to improve Ralf's movement and stop the pain.'

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Let's have a walk away first.

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'First, surgeon Cedric Chan wants to assess the extent of his lameness.'

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That's fine. That's great. OK.

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-Shall we do that again, please?

-What are you looking at as he walks up and down?

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We're looking for any signs of lameness.

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When the lame leg hits the ground, the head nods up. And that can tell us which leg is lame.

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-Does the head come up cos it's a bit like us going, "Ooh!"

-Yeah, absolutely. Exactly like that.

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'Ralf is lame in his right leg.

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'As he's led away, Francesca is now becoming nervous about his first ever operation.'

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-How do you feel?

-A bit sick. But I'm sure he'll be fine.

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There's always a risk with anaesthetic, like with humans.

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There's a bigger risk with horses, especially large horses.

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-So will you be a bit queasy until you get the call this afternoon?

-Yeah, I might have a stiff drink!

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'Ralf is prepared for the surgery.

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'Next door, I'm amazed to discover that the cause of his lameness

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'is a tiny piece of bone.'

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If you look very closely at the front here,

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you can see a little tiny fragment of bone.

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That's a chip fracture that's come off.

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You can see just where my arrow is there.

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That's actually come away from the top of the proximal phalanx.

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So the best thing for this horse is to take it out so that the joints settle down again.

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'Ralf is one of the largest horses the vets have operated one.

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'And as he waits for surgery, I meet the hospital's smallest ever patients.

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'These American miniature horses often suffer from overgrown hooves.

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'Vet Claire Phillips has been called in to help solve this common problem.'

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These ponies are often kept on straw or shavings beds a lot of the time

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and then in grassy fields, so he's not having any opportunity to wear his feet down in a normal pattern.

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So we get abnormal foot growth, which we'll need to trim back.

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The bones within the foot can take an abnormal position,

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so we want to check the position of that bone today by a radiograph.

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'At just 24 inches tall, Starburst and Dandy really are minute.

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'Owner Sarah Jane thinks small is beautiful.'

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Why do you have such a small horse? Presumably you can't ride it. Do you have it in your living room?

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Well, they've been in the kitchen on several occasions,

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-but not in the lounge, not yet.

-SHE LAUGHS

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'Today it's Dandy's turn to have his hooves X-rayed.'

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We need to bring him round towards the front of the machine, where the X-rays come out.

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'To get a really clear image, he needs to keep still.'

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Super. That's one foot done.

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'After some gentle coaxing, the X-rays are complete.

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'It's time to assess the results.'

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We have an image of his right foot. We can see he's got a really long horny section of foot.

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His foot is already, at his age, becoming a little bit horned.

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So you were absolutely right to bring him in at this stage.

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'These X-ray results will now be sent to the farrier, allowing him to trim the hooves properly.

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'And as far as little Dandy's comfort is concerned,

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'that will be a big step in the right direction.

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'Across the hospital, the team has reached a vital point in preparing Ralf for his operation.'

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This is one of the parts they worry about most with horses, the anaesthetic,

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because they are so big and they can get a bit scared as they go down.

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'For Ralf's safety, he's given the drugs in a padded area.

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'Around one horse in every 100 dies during an anaesthetic.

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'It's vital the team works quickly to complete the procedure.'

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OK, off we go.

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'Moving more than half a tonne of horse requires the helping hand of a mechanical winch.'

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Keep going, keep going, keep going.

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'Plus another five team members to guide Ralf into position.

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'To limit the time required for Ralf's recovery,

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'Cedric will be performing keyhole surgery.

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'Once Ralf's leg has been prepared,

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'Cedric is ready to make his first incision.'

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Cutting.

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'By inserting a camera probe inside the joint,

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'Cedric should be able to find the fragment.'

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-You seem to need quite a lot of oomph to get it in.

-You do, yeah.

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So let's see what we can see.

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'But finding the rogue bone is not the only pressure on the team.'

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You can't overestimate the importance of getting the anaesthetic right.

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What's going on in his joint won't kill this horse,

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but if something goes wrong with the anaesthetic, it could.

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'After gaining access to the joint, it's not long before Cedric finds the problem area.'

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So you think this could be the fragment?

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This could be part of it. If it's hard, it is.

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'Using special pincers, Cedric is soon able to remove it.'

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We're just pulling the fragment out now. And there it is.

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'It's only when the lights are raised that I can fully appreciate

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'just how minute the bone is.'

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So this tiny little flake here, smaller than a grain of rice,

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was what was causing all the problem.

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But, the fact is, it's like a stone in the shoe,

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and you wouldn't want that sitting around in one of your joints.

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'With the surgery complete, Ralf is winched back into the padded room.'

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Keep going, keep going. Hold it.

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'Getting a horse back on his feet can be dangerous.

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'There's a real risk Ralf could fall and break his leg.

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'Thankfully, after 45 minutes...'

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Here we go.

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Ooh, he's up. Wobbly but up.

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'For the whole team, it's been a job well done.

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'And, thanks to the keyhole surgery,

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'Ralf should have no more pain and be able to walk more easily.

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'Coming up, a serious blow for bird lover Brian.'

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If she's blind and she's got bad feet,

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I think the outlook isn't that great for her in terms of quality of life,

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so I would say think about putting her down.

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A good diet and daily exercise are vital to our pets

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and it's down to us as their owners to make sure they're kept trim and healthy.

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But if they're denied this, a whole host of problems can arise.

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The King Charles spaniel rescued from a house in Preston

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is the perfect example of how pets can suffer.

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'Rosie is in a bad way.

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'Her teeth are black, her nails are bent double...'

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We can see that one was quite bad, wasn't it?

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'..and her coat is a matted mess.

0:21:580:22:00

'Now there's one final indignity.'

0:22:020:22:05

-Shall we weigh her?

-Yep.

-Are you feeling strong?

0:22:050:22:08

'Mandy and vet Claire Shaw decide to share the load.'

0:22:080:22:12

She's 18 kilos. She should probably be more like 11, I would say.

0:22:120:22:17

She's a big stamp of a cavalier. You get little ones, but she is a big cavalier, anyway.

0:22:170:22:23

-But even with that taken in to consideration...

-She needs to lose 50 percent of her weight.

-At least.

0:22:230:22:29

'And as she slowly hobbles away from the scales,

0:22:290:22:33

'the consequences of this extra weight are vividly illustrated.'

0:22:330:22:37

Her breathing is compromised due to the extra weight that she's carrying.

0:22:370:22:41

Every step will literally be an effort for her, to be honest.

0:22:410:22:46

Coupled, as well, with the matting around the feet,

0:22:460:22:50

it's almost like walking in sand all the time, your feet are constantly slipping and sliding.

0:22:500:22:55

It might be that once she's all clipped off

0:22:550:22:58

and she has lost weight, that her mobility does return.

0:22:580:23:02

'Rosie can hardly move. Her whole body is under strain.'

0:23:020:23:06

I'm just going to have a feel of her hips and knees

0:23:060:23:09

before we take her through for her blood sample.

0:23:090:23:12

Ohh, you're a heffalump!

0:23:130:23:16

On her right hind here, she has got a luxating patella.

0:23:170:23:20

The patella is basically the kneecap.

0:23:200:23:24

In these little guys, the groove that the kneecap sits in can be slightly shallow,

0:23:240:23:28

so it slips in and out of joint and that can sometimes cause a little bit of lameness.

0:23:280:23:32

Again, any animal that's carrying any extra weight,

0:23:320:23:35

if they've got a problem like that, it will be exacerbated.

0:23:350:23:38

'Rosie is going to have to go on a crash diet

0:23:390:23:42

if her aching joints are going to have any chance of improving.

0:23:420:23:46

'But the priority today is to try and make her feel a bit more comfortable.

0:23:470:23:52

'Her teeth and claws need to be fixed and her tangled coat needs to be shaved.

0:23:540:23:58

'It's a big job, so Rosie's going to need an anaesthetic.'

0:23:590:24:04

-It's Inspector Barr from the RSPCA.

-'Mandy has to speak to her owner.'

0:24:040:24:10

Right, just to let you know, I'm at the vets now.

0:24:100:24:12

The vet needs to keep her in. She needs to have some work done on her teeth and her fur.

0:24:120:24:17

When did she last eat? Last night?

0:24:170:24:20

Brilliant. Will you agree for her to have an anaesthetic?

0:24:200:24:25

The vet's saying she needs it doing.

0:24:250:24:27

OK, I'll let the vet get on with it, then. All right. Thanks. Bye.

0:24:270:24:31

'The treatment can now begin. Mandy goes to complete the paperwork.

0:24:360:24:40

'Claire prepares Rosie for her operation.

0:24:420:24:44

'But with a dog this obese, there's no telling how she's going to cope with anaesthetic.

0:24:490:24:55

'Her breathing is already affected by the extra weight.

0:24:580:25:02

'She'll have to be closely monitored.

0:25:020:25:05

'Claire begins with Rosie's rotten teeth.

0:25:100:25:13

'Meanwhile, nurse Emma gets to grips with her matted mane.

0:25:140:25:19

'One by one, her bad teeth are removed.

0:25:210:25:25

'And huge lumps of tangled and dirty hair are shaved from her body.

0:25:260:25:31

'It's a bit like sheep shearing.

0:25:310:25:34

'But as the clumps are removed, the other serious problem is uncovered.'

0:25:340:25:39

The claw's grown round.

0:25:390:25:42

This is what happens when your claws get too long, they just grow.

0:25:420:25:45

This has grown that far that it's actually twisted along itself and wound back into the pad.

0:25:450:25:51

'Every step Rosie took will have been in agony.'

0:25:510:25:54

So I'll just clip that off.

0:25:540:25:56

'Emma continues with Rosie's coat.

0:25:580:26:01

'Slowly, the knotted hair is all consigned to the bin.'

0:26:010:26:04

That's just what we've just clipped off its ear, which is basically just all mat.

0:26:040:26:09

'The emergency procedures are over

0:26:110:26:14

'and a woozy Rosie begins to slowly come round.'

0:26:140:26:17

Does that feel better, sweetie pie?

0:26:170:26:19

'Now Mandy returns to see her latest patient transformed.'

0:26:220:26:26

-Hiya.

-Hello!

-Just want to see how she's getting on.

0:26:280:26:31

She's had teeth out, total clip, she has ears now and we've clipped all the nails.

0:26:310:26:37

-And she's looking 100 percent happier.

-She looks a different dog.

0:26:370:26:41

'This is only the first stage of Rosie's transformation.

0:26:420:26:45

-'She needs to lose weight, but this will take time.'

-Bless you, sweetheart.

0:26:450:26:49

'And after interviewing the owner, Mandy thinks she knows why Rosie has been piling on the pounds.'

0:26:490:26:55

She admitted that she was being fed supermarket packet ham,

0:26:550:26:59

chicken, turkey and cheese slices.

0:26:590:27:02

That was her diet, cos she wouldn't eat dog food.

0:27:020:27:05

That's not a suitable diet for a dog, so it will affect the general health

0:27:050:27:09

and the skin and the fur, but the main problem is the weight.

0:27:090:27:13

'Rosie has now been signed over to the RSPCA.

0:27:130:27:17

'She had a life of luxury dining and a lazy lifestyle,

0:27:170:27:21

'but it's going to be a different story from now on.'

0:27:210:27:25

She will be forced to eat normal dog food. She will eat it.

0:27:250:27:29

Yeah, she needs to go back onto a suitable light diet and get some of that weight off

0:27:290:27:34

and gradually increase her exercise to get that weight off her.

0:27:340:27:38

'A month later. Rosie's fitness and weight-loss regime is well underway.

0:27:410:27:48

'She's under strict supervision at the RSPCA's care home in Halifax.

0:27:480:27:52

'Chris Walker has been helping her to fight the flab.'

0:27:550:27:58

She's lost about three or four kilograms while she's been with us,

0:27:590:28:03

but she's still got quite a way to go. It will start dropping off more slowly now,

0:28:030:28:08

so in another couple of months, she might be at her ideal weight.

0:28:080:28:11

'For a dog used to lounging around on the sofa all day,

0:28:110:28:15

'these daily walks came as a bit of a shock.

0:28:150:28:18

'But now she's slowly beginning to get used to a more active way of life.'

0:28:180:28:22

She does really, really enjoy it. She will pant a bit,

0:28:220:28:26

because she's not used to it, but when she gets going, she'll be wagging her tail the whole way.

0:28:260:28:30

She's so excited to be out and she just wants to enjoy herself.

0:28:300:28:34

'Rosie still has a long way to go, and she also needs to find an owner

0:28:390:28:44

'willing to help her lose more weight and keep it off.

0:28:440:28:47

'Still to come,

0:28:580:29:01

'will Rosie ever ditch her couch potato lifestyle?'

0:29:010:29:04

Rosie's really lazy. I get up in the morning and she's laying on the sofa.

0:29:040:29:09

I have to lift her downstairs and then she will walk outside,

0:29:090:29:12

does what she has to do, then she gets back up on the sofa.

0:29:120:29:16

Now back to Plymouth, where officers are investigating a bird lover

0:29:200:29:24

suspected of keeping owls illegally.

0:29:240:29:26

It's believed Brian has been rehabilitating injured wild birds

0:29:260:29:30

but not releasing them back into the wild.

0:29:300:29:33

It's also suspected he may have been opening to the public without a licence.

0:29:330:29:37

But as the team began their search of the aviaries,

0:29:370:29:40

there was a major and quite unexpected setback.

0:29:400:29:44

Do you want to put your phone down a minute so we can check your hand? There's just one puncture wound.

0:29:470:29:53

'Brian's been badly injured by the sharp talons of one of his own birds.

0:29:570:30:01

'Paramedics finally manage to staunch the blood and bandage Brian's hand.'

0:30:050:30:10

Ready to go again now?

0:30:100:30:13

'Now the operation of inspecting and identifying these owls can continue.'

0:30:130:30:18

Most of them are fine. I've seen the odd one with a little bit of foot damage, but generally fine.

0:30:190:30:25

'But for Alan Roberts from the National Wildlife Crime Unit, there are other issues here, too.'

0:30:250:30:32

The issue here is whether they've come from the wild

0:30:340:30:38

and they could have been rehabilitated.

0:30:380:30:40

If they're injured and they could've been rehabilitated, that is a problem for him and the birds.

0:30:400:30:46

'There were also real concerns that with so many owls,

0:30:480:30:51

'Brian may be struggling to cope.'

0:30:510:30:53

273572.

0:30:550:30:58

'And soon the team comes across one bird that gives them real cause for concern.

0:30:580:31:03

'This is Snowball. He's 12 years old, he's blind

0:31:050:31:10

'and he's suffering from a bacterial infection known as bumblefoot.'

0:31:100:31:14

She's got the weight on her feet all the time.

0:31:170:31:20

'It's a common illness amongst captive owls.

0:31:200:31:23

'It's caused when a bird spends too much time standing on its feet.'

0:31:230:31:28

What do you think I should do with it?

0:31:290:31:31

Well, if she's blind and she's got bad feet,

0:31:310:31:36

I think the outlook isn't that great for her in terms of quality of life,

0:31:360:31:39

so I would say think about putting her down.

0:31:390:31:42

'Brian hasn't meant to be cruel to any of his owls.

0:31:430:31:48

'And, as the news of Snowball's condition hits home...'

0:31:480:31:51

I really think you're doing the right thing for the animal.

0:31:510:31:54

'..it becomes clear to all the officers that these birds mean the world to him.

0:31:540:31:59

'With a heavy heart, Brian agrees to have Snowball put to sleep.'

0:32:020:32:06

-I won't be there when you do that.

-I'm so sorry, Brian.

-Just take it.

0:32:080:32:13

'Animal welfare officer Jackie Taylor tries her best to soften the blow.'

0:32:140:32:20

-I hate doing things like this.

-So do I. That's why I couldn't do it.

0:32:200:32:23

-Cos it's my pride and joy.

-I know it is.

0:32:230:32:25

-I really know it is.

-I live my life for these birds.

-I know you do, Bri.

0:32:250:32:30

-We go back quite a long way, don't we?

-Yeah, yeah.

-Sorry, love.

0:32:300:32:34

-Bless you.

-I'll be all right.

0:32:340:32:37

-Yep. I'll be fine.

-We did the right thing for the bird.

-Yeah, yeah, I know.

0:32:370:32:41

'Despite the upset, the officers must conclude their operation.

0:32:430:32:48

'After a thorough search, they believe Brian may be keeping some birds illegally

0:32:490:32:54

'and are also suspicious that he may have been opening to the public.'

0:32:540:32:58

Do you understand, if you don't turn up on this date, you could be liable for arrest?

0:32:580:33:03

I've never done it before, but I'll be there.

0:33:030:33:06

'The team have all the evidence they need to put their case together.

0:33:060:33:10

'Brian will now have to be interviewed at the local police station in six weeks' time.

0:33:120:33:17

'Seven months later.

0:33:220:33:25

'The charges of opening to the public have been dropped,

0:33:250:33:29

'but Brian was cautioned for taking a bird from the wild

0:33:290:33:32

'and for selling an owl without the correct paperwork.'

0:33:320:33:36

Hi, Brian. How are you?

0:33:370:33:40

'At the original inspection, there were also concerns about the conditions the owls were living in.'

0:33:410:33:46

It's smelling a bit better, isn't it, Bri?

0:33:480:33:51

'So today, Jackie Taylor and PC Martin Staley

0:33:510:33:54

'are coming back to check up on Brian and his birds.'

0:33:540:33:58

We just need to check food, water, cleanliness,

0:34:010:34:04

that you're keeping up with everything we discussed last time.

0:34:040:34:08

Next, next.

0:34:080:34:09

Oh, look at that lovely, fresh water. Beautiful!

0:34:090:34:14

That's more like it.

0:34:150:34:18

It has improved. We just need to keep coming back and nagging you, I think.

0:34:180:34:22

'Jackie is pleased with the improvements

0:34:240:34:27

'but she's concerned to hear that Brian's numbers have grown again.

0:34:270:34:31

'He now has 91 birds.'

0:34:310:34:34

-Brian, you've got to look at the bigger picture.

-Yeah.

0:34:340:34:36

The more they expand, the more you need to expand.

0:34:360:34:40

'It seems Brian just can't stop himself when owls are in need of help.'

0:34:400:34:45

Eventually, you've got to say, "I've got 91, or 95, I can't have any more."

0:34:450:34:50

-So what number are you going to cap at?

-About now.

-About 91, 95?

-Yeah.

0:34:500:34:56

-Yeah?

-But when you say that,

0:34:560:34:58

if I get a phone call in the night, "I've got an owl here,

0:34:580:35:02

"I can't manage it, I can't deal with it, my husband's just died..."

0:35:020:35:05

-You're going to go and get it.

-Yeah.

0:35:050:35:08

'But for now, at least, it seems he's in a better position to offer them a place to live.'

0:35:100:35:16

I'm very satisfied with the efforts that he's making.

0:35:160:35:18

There are still minor improvements that need to be done

0:35:180:35:21

but he's getting there slowly considering he's a one-man operation with, now, some outside help.

0:35:210:35:26

'Although Jackie's satisfied with the improvements,

0:35:320:35:35

'she's determined to keep an eagle eye on the situation.'

0:35:350:35:39

We can keep an eye on the numbers increasing or decreasing over the years or months

0:35:390:35:43

so that we don't end up with this massive explosion of 300 birds in six months' time

0:35:430:35:48

because nobody's been back.

0:35:480:35:50

'It's been a long journey, but now Jackie and Brian can part on friendly terms.'

0:35:500:35:56

-Much happier.

-Much happier.

0:35:560:35:59

Well done, you.

0:35:590:36:01

'They'll continue working together to ensure Brian's beloved owls

0:36:010:36:05

'get the care they need.'

0:36:050:36:07

It's very tempting to give your dog a treat every now and then,

0:36:130:36:17

but too many can cause them to become terribly overweight.

0:36:170:36:21

Rosie the King Charles spaniel was just one such dog.

0:36:210:36:25

Her weight ballooned after living on a diet of cheese and prime cuts of meat.

0:36:250:36:30

After being rescued by the RSPCA, she's on a big weight-loss regime.

0:36:300:36:35

But it seems teaching an old dog new tricks is not easy.

0:36:350:36:39

'Three months ago, Rosie the cavalier was in a pitiful state.

0:36:500:36:53

'She had become so overweight, she could barely stand.

0:36:530:36:57

'Her hair was a matted mess and her nails were painfully overgrown.

0:36:590:37:03

'Today, she's in much better shape,

0:37:100:37:13

'thanks to the help of new owner Nicola Lowrie.'

0:37:130:37:16

Once I saw her, I just had to have her. She's just gorgeous.

0:37:160:37:20

It's a bit of a challenge, as well. I just want to help her.

0:37:210:37:24

'The weight is coming off Rosie slowly

0:37:260:37:29

'but it's a regime that has to be managed carefully.'

0:37:290:37:32

We can only walk her twice a day for 20 minutes,

0:37:320:37:35

just light walking,

0:37:350:37:38

and gradually increase that,

0:37:380:37:41

see how she does.

0:37:410:37:43

She's got to lose the weight gradually

0:37:430:37:46

and then, hopefully, she might be normal, hopefully.

0:37:460:37:52

'And it's becoming clear that this is one dog who does enjoy taking things easy.'

0:37:530:37:58

Rosie is really lazy. I get up in the morning and she's laying on the sofa

0:37:590:38:04

and she will stay on the sofa until I lift her down

0:38:040:38:07

and then she will follow me... She may follow me downstairs,

0:38:070:38:11

or usually I have to lift her downstairs,

0:38:110:38:14

and then she will walk outside, does what she has to do

0:38:140:38:17

and then she gets back up on the sofa.

0:38:170:38:19

Come on.

0:38:220:38:24

'Like most couch potatoes, Rosie takes some convincing

0:38:240:38:27

'about the benefits of getting fresh air.'

0:38:270:38:30

Good girl. Good girl!

0:38:300:38:33

'But Nicola's determined to help her fight the fat.

0:38:330:38:36

'If only Rosie would make a bit more effort.'

0:38:360:38:39

Fetch it! Fetch it!

0:38:390:38:42

-'Nicola's certainly getting fit.'

-Come on!

0:38:420:38:46

'But that's not really the point.'

0:38:460:38:48

I hope that we'll be able to go on longer walks.

0:38:490:38:52

I hope that she'll chase a ball and that I won't have to always fetch it.

0:38:520:38:56

I just hope she doesn't get so tired so quickly.

0:38:560:39:00

'It's clear Nicola is going to have her work cut out.

0:39:010:39:05

'But it's not only Rosie's weight that she needs to keep on top of.'

0:39:050:39:09

Good girl!

0:39:090:39:11

'This is the local dog grooming parlour.

0:39:140:39:17

'Dozens of canines arrive every day for their hair and beauty appointment.

0:39:170:39:22

'Today, Rosie's been booked in to join the list of dogs getting a wash and blow-dry.'

0:39:240:39:29

I think she's really looking forward to it.

0:39:290:39:33

We're just going to get her looking really nice now she's lost quite a lot of weight.

0:39:330:39:38

She's having everything. She's having her claws done,

0:39:380:39:41

she's getting everything, she's going to be clipped right back.

0:39:410:39:44

'Rosie finds walking much easier these days.

0:39:460:39:50

'In charge of her grooming today is Louise McConaughey.'

0:39:580:40:02

The first thing I'm going to do is clip Rosie before she goes in the bath.

0:40:020:40:07

It keeps the dogs healthy, it keeps the coat nice

0:40:070:40:10

and the skin in really good condition.

0:40:100:40:13

Especially with spaniels, you do have to keep on top of their ears,

0:40:130:40:16

cos they can have ear problems with the hair that grows in there.

0:40:160:40:20

'Time for the trim. Rosie's hair begins to come off,

0:40:200:40:24

'revealing a much more slender figure.'

0:40:240:40:26

Most dogs to enjoy being groomed.

0:40:260:40:30

Just like ourselves.

0:40:300:40:32

Most people like to have a bit of a pamper at the hairdressers and most dogs are just the same.

0:40:320:40:38

'Her paws get special attention, too.

0:40:380:40:42

'And it's a much easier job than three months ago.'

0:40:420:40:44

I'm just going to take all this hair away from Rosie's toes.

0:40:440:40:49

It can cause a lot of problems.

0:40:490:40:52

The feet can get quite matted and they can get a lot of knots under there,

0:40:520:40:56

which is quite uncomfortable for the dog, as well.

0:40:560:41:00

And it can make them quite sore.

0:41:000:41:02

'After the haircut, it's time for a shower.'

0:41:050:41:08

Obviously, regular bathing and grooming

0:41:110:41:14

does keep on top of any flee problems

0:41:140:41:18

or any other parasites that the dog may get.

0:41:180:41:21

'And after a quick rub-down

0:41:210:41:24

'and a blow-dry,

0:41:240:41:27

'it's time for a manicure.

0:41:270:41:29

The majority of them are not too bad. They just need the ends taking off.

0:41:310:41:34

There's one in particular that is really short,

0:41:340:41:37

so whether she's been having a bit of a chew at that herself...

0:41:370:41:40

There is the odd one that is quite long

0:41:400:41:43

that she will need to keep an eye on.

0:41:430:41:45

Well, that's it for Rosie today.

0:41:470:41:50

She's behaved very well to say she's never been groomed before.

0:41:500:41:53

And hopefully she'll not be as nervous the next time she comes.

0:41:530:41:58

'The makeover is complete and now Nicola has come back to collect her pet.'

0:41:590:42:04

-Hello!

-Your mum's here now!

-Hello, good girl.

0:42:040:42:08

-How was she?

-She's been fine.

0:42:080:42:11

She's been really good considering she's not been to see us before.

0:42:110:42:15

A bit nervous round her head, but hopefully that'll improve...

0:42:150:42:18

-She looks so gorgeous.

-..when she's been to see us a few more times.

0:42:180:42:21

'It's been a day of royal pampering for this King Charles spaniel.

0:42:210:42:27

'And those all-important before and after shots

0:42:280:42:32

'reveal Rosie's transformation has been truly remarkable.'

0:42:320:42:37

-There you go.

-Thank you very much.

-And we shall see you in a couple of months.

-Yep.

0:42:380:42:43

-Thanks a lot.

-OK.

-Bye.

-See you later.

0:42:430:42:46

If you think you know of a case of wildlife crime

0:42:490:42:53

or a creature that needs immediate protection,

0:42:530:42:55

remember, there are dedicated professionals out there who will answer your call around the clock.

0:42:550:43:00

They are the people we meet on Animal 24:7.

0:43:000:43:04

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:060:43:10

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:100:43:14

The story of the dog whose weight and couch potato lifestyle have left her life in danger. Wildlife officers raid a property where dozens of owls are being kept, and presenter Tom Heap spends the day at a large equine veterinary hospital in the North of England.


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