Pictured above, veterinary surgeon Allison Latimer BVetMed, MRCVS, with Beauty

“At Stray Aid we 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, Veterinary Director, Stray Aid, Ltd

Below are some interesting stories for your information


Prevention is better than the cure

At Stray Aid we frequently see dogs brought to us as strays with neglected oral care, this frequently results in requirement of antibiotics and pain relief medication before treatment can even be commenced. Treatment for extreme cases of dental neglect (as seen in pictures below) very often leads to dental numerous extractions.



As humans we understand the need to keep out teeth clean and regular visits to the dentist helps to identify and prevent dental caries and related conditions. As responsible pet owners it is our job to ensure our pet has good dental hygiene.

Results of dental neglect in dogs:

Periodontal Disease

This is caused by the inflammation of parts of/all of the supporting structures of the teeth. This disease is caused by allowing food particles/bacteria to collect along the gum line, causing formation of plaque which in turn if left untreated turns into calculus. Calculus causes irritation to the gums leading to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), over time the calculus will eventually push down between the tooth and the gum causing separation which is then classified as irreversible periodontal disease.

 Increased risk of heart disease

There is evidence which shows a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. The evidence shows endocarditis which is inflammation of the lining of the heart and bacteria present in the mouth also being present around the heart valves. This bacteria has travelled to the heart via the gaps between the teeth and the gums and then entered the blood stream, which in turn will cause bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood stream).

The dog may require an anaesthetic to perform major dental work, however this can then be further complicated due to the heart disease now present, making an anaesthetic more dangerous.


Dogs can be good at hiding pain they are experiencing and therefore owners may think everything is good, like human’s dogs will eat around the sore area to avoid a painful tooth.

Signs of dental pain:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Drooling
  • Swelling/bleeding of the gums
  • Possible reduction in appetite

However the signs listed are not always present.

Broken jaw

Smaller breeds can suffer from a broken jaw caused by a simple jump due to periodontal disease e.g. Chihuahua, Lhasa apso, Maltese and Shih Tzu. Thankfully this does not occur regularly, however it is very serious and painful and can be very difficult to treat due to damaged bone structure resulting from the periodontal disease.

Dental Care

“Prevention is better than the cure.”

Preventing Periodontal disease will prevent unnecessary pain to your pet and will be cheaper for yourself.

  • Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth and gums to remove any food debris, exposing your pet to teeth cleaning as early as possible is advisable to allow them to get used to the activity.
  • Dental checks by a Veterinary Surgeon.
  • Dental treats help to scrape any food debris/plaque from the teeth and gum line, they are also a nice treat for your dog. However other hard treats and hard biscuits can work as effectively.

 Before and after pictures of bad dental hygiene, following dental cleaning under anaesthetic.

If you would like to contribute towards the running costs of our animal welfare centre, please visit the support us page on the website www.strayaid.org.uk



Tired and lethargic

Misty is a tri-colour Merle Border Collie found as a stray and handed in by a concerned member of the general public.

On arrival Misty was clearly over weight at 25.1kgs, she was very lethargic and had symmetrical patches of fur missing on her flanks (both sides of the abdomen) and hip areas. On examination the Veterinary surgeon believed misty’s condition was hormonal related and began treating her for and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Following treatment with the correct medication after 2 weeks there was a vast improvement in Misty’s health, her weight had decreased and she was much brighter in personality. In the time period of 10 weeks Misty’s weight had decreased to 20.8kg, her fur had re-grown and she is now a lively and happy dog.


Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland which is situated in the dog’s neck does not produce enough of the thyroxin hormone. Thyroxine is required within the body to control the metabolic rate, insufficient thyroxine production causes the metabolic rate to slow down which in turn can cause the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Mental dullness
  • Weight gain despite no appetite change
  • Obesity
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Increased shedding, hair thinning/loss
  • Thickening of the skin
  • intact dogs may experience reproductive problems.


Certain size/breeds appear to develop hypothyroidism more than others e.g.

Medium to large breed dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Miniature schnauzer, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Golden Retriever, Airedale Terrier and Irish Setters.

Thankfully due to Misty’s condition is now being treated she has transformed into a different dog and is ready to find her forever home.

If you would like to contribute towards the running costs of our animal welfare centre, please visit the support us page on the website www.strayaid.org.uk


A simple groom helps

Wallace is a 10 year old German Shepherd Dog found wandering alone and therefore brought to us by the dog warden.

On initial examination by the veterinary surgeon is was diagnosed Wallace had an oozing sebaceous cyst on his left hip area and further cysts found between toes and on his thigh. Antibiotics were commenced to treat any underlying infection prior to surgery, giving the skin the best chance of healing.

On the day of surgery it took 1 ½ hours to remove all knotted fur from Wallace, groom any remaining fur and painstakingly locating all the cysts present on his body and preparing his skin for the surgery.

Sebaceous cysts

Sebaceous cysts are caused due to blocked Sebaceous glands under the skin, they present as swellings filled with a creamy substance. If left untreated they can become inflamed and infected, causing skin irritation to the dog. Older dogs tend to succumb to these cysts, however they can still be found in younger dogs and therefore should not be ignored.

Diagnosis of sebaceous cysts is enabled by the procedure of Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA), during this procedure a needle is inserted into the swelling and some of the liquid contents is aspirated and placed onto a slide to view under the microscope, 95% of lumps can be diagnosed via this method.

Sadly on the arrival of Wallace his coat was far from groomed, should he have been regularly groomed many of these cysts may have been detected before they amassed to the removal of 27 cysts and 5 ½ hours of anaesthetic.


It is very important to groom your dog for the following reasons:

  • Encourages them to enjoy hands on approach it reduces episodes of aggression.
  • Can cause skin irritations/ ear infections.
  • Matted fur can be good hiding spots for fleas and ticks.
  • Matting around the rear end of the dog can cause faeces to be trapped in the fur, therefore resulting in unpleasant odours and attraction of unwanted critters.
  • Extreme matting of fur can act like a tourniquet and restrict blood supply, causing necrosis           and may require amputation.

Wallace is a lovely friendly German Shepherd Dog who will be soon looking for his forever home.

If you would like to contribute towards the running costs of our animal welfare centre, please visit the support us page on the website www.strayaid.org.uk



Lumps and Bumps

Sheena was a 5 month old Lurcher puppy who was brought to Stray Aid by the dog warden. Upon arrival it was clearly evident there was a large infected area on the right side of Sheena’s neck. It was unclear how this area came about, there is a possibility it may have resulted from a bite wound left untreated.

Initially the Veterinary surgeon prescribed some antibiotics to try and reduce the inflammation, unfortunately this did not appear to be successful, the infected area increased in size and further protruded from the neck. The decision to surgically remove the mass was made, preventing any further complications in this young dog, giving it the best chance in life.

This ulcerated skin mass needed to be removed to prevent further complications and ill health for Sheena.

There are many kinds of lumps and bumps in dogs, however common ones include:

• Fatty tumours – commonly in middle age/older dogs, normally around the rib area, although can be appear anywhere on the body, they are not breed specific, however larger/overweight dogs are more prone to them.

• Sebaceous cysts – Caused by glands that produce oil for the skin becoming blocked, they appear like a pimple, which produces a white substance when squeezed.

• Warts – caused by a virus and tend to disappear by themselves (due to the dogs own defence system fights the virus), however older dogs may require surgery to remove them.

• Abscess – caused by a collection of pus under the skin, this may be caused by damage to the animals skin integrity e.g. a bite/scratch.

• Mast cell tumour – this is the most common skin cancer found in dogs.

Any lumps and bumps identified in your furry friend should be examined by your Veterinary Surgeon, this enables them to identify the cause and produce a treatment plan, to enable the best outcome for your pet.

Sheena was later on adopted into a lovely home, where she can become one of their family.

If you would like to contribute towards the running costs of our animal welfare centre, please visit the Support Us page on the website www.strayaid.org.uk

Look what popped out!

 Poppy  is a 3yr old female Pug found by the dog warden and brought to StrayAid. On arrival Poppy was found to have a very large vaginal hyperplasia with prolapse.


Vaginal hyperplasia is caused by an increase in vaginal mucosa resulting from hormonal stimulation (oestrogen), Vaginal hyperplasia with prolapse are more common in younger dogs.

There are 3 types of hyperplasia;

Type 1 hyperplasia: the vagina is slightly protruding although does not protrude the vulvar opening.

Type 2 hyperplasia: the vaginal tissue protrudes though the vulvar opening.

Type 3 hyperplasia: the vaginal tissue has protruded through the vulvar opening and is exhibiting externally as a doughnut shape.

Poppy was diagnosed with a type 3 vaginal hyperplasia with prolapse.

The Veterinary surgeon attempted to replace the prolapse, however it was too large to be manipulated into place. A solution of cold water and sugar was applied to the affected area to assist with reducing the swelling by drawing fluid from the area. Unfortunately the prolapse still remained too large to be able to be replaced into the normal position.

A treatment plan of anti-inflammatory medication and application of haemorrhoid cream was commenced. The anti-inflammatory medication reduces any inflammation within the tissue therefore reducing the size of the prolapsed tissue, the haemorrhoid cream acts upon the blood vessels in the area causing them to temporarily narrow and reduce the swelling. Poppy was also spayed during her time with StrayAid which also assists with reducing the prolapsed by removing the ovaries that produce the oestrogen hormone, ensuring that the condition could not recur.

Over a six week period  Poppy’s prolapse gradually reduced and returned back to its normal position.


Throughout  all of Poppy’s treatment she remained a very loving and happy dog, thankfully she has now be re-homed with a lovely lady willing to give her the loving home she deserves.

An itch too far! 

Candy came to us via the dog warden as a stray dog, she was a very calm and loving dog with eyes to melt your heart. Her skin condition was poor causing her to be very uncomfortable and constantly scratching which then presents a risk of introducing infection.

Candy’s skin was dry and inflamed around her face and ears, extending down her neck to her abdomen, also involving areas of her abdomen and legs


In various places around the ear flaps crusts had developed from candy scratching and causing further trauma to her already fragile skin. 

Candy was diagnosed with a skin condition called Mange, caused by a parasitic mite (see below).

candy scabies mite

There are two types of mange which effect dogs, sarcoptic and demodectic. Sarcoptic mange is the most common (known as canine scabies) this type is also highly contagious and can easily be passed between dogs, humans can catch sarcoptic mange from infected dogs however the mites are unable to complete their life cycle on humans and therefore any symptoms are short lived.

Mange is caused by tiny mites which burrow beneath the skin and lay their eggs, these eggs hatch within 3-10 days and develop into adult mites which then go on to reproduce.

candy after1
candy 2

Candy was treated with appropriate medication to reduce the inflammation in her skin and resolve the itchiness and gradually over a 3 month period of time her skin healed and her fur returned. Showing Candy to be the beautiful dog she is.

Candy was later adopted by a lovely lady wishing to give her a forever home. 

A Very Distressing Sight.

When we heard that a pug was being brought to Stray Aid under distressing circumstances, we really did not know what to expect. When poor little Alvin arrived at the kennels, he had already been taken to a local vet and had some eye ointment for a severe infection, and underlying problems were detected. When our vet checked him over, she was appalled! Poor little Alvin. Instead of the usual bright, happy little eyes that pugs have (the top left photo shown below), he had two shrivelled little marbles sitting in his eye sockets. Pugs are quite prone to corneal ulcers, a horribly painful condition, and if left untreated the eyeballs will actually rupture and shrivel down to small hard lumps. This had happened to Alvin not once but twice!


As Alvin’s eyes were completely blind, and because his eyelids were filling with pus due to the change in shape of the eyeballs, the only option was to remove the eyes and eyelids, taking away the source of infection and pain. 

Once the healing process was complete, Alvin had already touched the hearts of those he had met and he was rehomed straight away, with some doggie friends to show him around. As you can see, he is much loved, safe and comfortable.

What Lies Beneath??

One of the things that makes our work so interesting, is that we have no idea of any history for our stray dogs. So when the young staffie was presented to our vet with a lump on his elbow, she really had no idea what to expect! Close inspection revealed a surgical scar running over the lump, was it a growth that had been removed previously and had returned? What else could it be?

Allison made her first incision, and then looked deeper, and all became clear!


This poor dog had previously been operated on, possibly an old fracture, and had a surgical screw inserted into the elbow. Over time, the body had surrounded the small screw head with tissue causing a significant lump. Although the joint was slightly stiff, the elbow had otherwise healed well. Our vet removed the screw:

Elbow screw

Our vet cut away the reactive tissue that had been causing the lump and stitched the wound closed again. A short course of pain relief and he was as right as rain!

Two Sides to Every Story!

Very often when dogs are brought to our rescue centre, they are suffering from some degree of neglect. When you are lucky enough to have a dog in your family, it is so important to check them regularly. Eyes, ears, teeth. And yes, more personal areas too. Check for signs of blood in pee and poo, look for growths under the tail, in mammary glands and testicles. And get any changes checked out by the vet asap. The 13 year old terrier brought to us recently had a fairly obvious increase in size of one of his testicles.

Testicular tumour

On surgical exploration, a large tumour was revealed in one testicle, with hormones produced by the cancerous cells causing the other testicle to shrink. Both testicles were removed, but castration when much younger would have avoided this unnecessary risk to his health.

A “Hole” Lot Of Trouble!

A little Jack Russell was brought to the centre recently with a suspected mammary tumour, and from the photos you can see why.…read more

A 3-Legged Race!

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.…read more

A Pain In The Neck!

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…read more

A Sticky Problem

When this tiny Yorkshire terrier, weighing only 2.5kg, was brought to the kennels, her eyes were completely stuck shut…read more

ADCH Promoting Animal Welfare

We have recently returned from a most interesting Congress down in Bournemouth.…read more

An Eye For Trouble!

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.…read more

Bad Hair Day!

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.…read more

Better Off Than On!

When Corinne, the beautiful greyhound, attended our animal welfare centre, with a limp, it became clear that the cause was related to a toe.…read more

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…read more

Cyst-ems In Place!

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.…read more

Dental Dilemma

Did you know that dental care for dogs should always start when they are puppies?…read more

Duke’s Dilemma

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.…read more

Elsie’s Lump

Elsie, an elderly crossbreed, was brought to our vet with a rather suspicious thickening in the skin.…read more

Facts About Kennel Cough

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?…read more

Gloves Off!

Here at Stray Aid’s Animal Welfare Centre, we are presented with a wide range of injuries.…read more

Hear ‘Ear!

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.…read more

Interesting Facts

Those of you who follow our website regularly, will have been amazed at the sheer numbers of dogs passing through our kennels.…read more

Kara’s Story

Kara came in as a stray with a very large lump on her underside…read more

Little 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.…read more

Lumps and Bumps!

When this dog was brought to our Animal Welfare Centre, it was hard to miss the fact there was something wrong.…read more

New Coat for Bobby

One of the most common skin diseases diagnosed in the stray dogs brought to our kennels is sarcoptic mange (scabies).…read more

No flies on THIS lurcher!

Here at Stray Aid, we often despair about the state of the dogs brought in to us.…read more

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…read more

Not Such Fun For Animals

As bonfire night approaches, this is the time of year when thoughts turn to fireworks.…read more

Phoebe’s Happy Ending

A beautiful lurcher found straying was brought to our kennels at Coxhoe by council wardens…read more

Please Get Help For Your Dog

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.…read more

Poor Baby!

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

Poor Little Mites

Yet again, we have been shocked and saddened, this time by 2 new arrivals to our Animal Welfare Centre…read more

Remember To Check Your Pets!

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.…read more

Responsible Dog Ownership

Those of you who check our website regularly may have noticed the vast numbers of dogs being brought to us…read more

Routine Checks

When you agree to take any animal into your home, you have to accept responsibility for it, and make sure you check it regularly.…read more

Routine Maintenance

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.…read more

Sorry State

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.…read more

Sticks and Stones!

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.…read more

Sue’s Happy B