Wednesday, 23 December 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS from all at the Highland Seal Hospital

A Wonderful Christmas message from International Animal Rescue

A Wonderful message from our family at International Animal Rescue.
The last dancing bear in India is finally off the streets. This has been a long hard fought campaign.
Great news for Christmas and congratulations to Alan Knight OBE and all the organisations for all the hard work, its an incredible thing you have done, truly amazing.
If you havnt already checked out the amazing story or IAR's website then please do as without IAR and especially Alan our own hospital wouldnt exist.
Well done mate!
Here is the message I recieved from Alan today:

Alan and Raju - The last dancing bear - Raju - safe in the Sanctuary

Dear Jamie
Well we did it! Thanks to wonderful supporters like you, every last dancing bear in India is safely in our care. Our partners Wildlife SOS in India have worked tirelessly over the past seven years to achieve this incredible goal and we are indebted to them for guiding this project along the road to success, in spite of the tremendous obstacles and challenges they have faced along the way.
Today we join our partners at Wildlife SOS, at Free the Bears in Australia and One Voice Association in France to celebrate what we have achieved together. And we applaud the Indian Government and its hardworking officials at the Forestry Department for giving the project their full-hearted support and assistance.

The icing on the cake!
The BBC News channel is broadcasting a half hour documentary about the project on four separate occasions over the holiday period:
This will be an opportunity for us all to relive the bears' journey from a life of pain and suffering on the streets to contentment and calm in our sanctuaries. Do tune in if you can - and please tell your friends to watch too. What better way could there be to celebrate Christmas and the end to our Year of the Bear!
A heartfelt thank you for all your support during 2009. My best wishes for a very merry Christmas and a New Year filled with more animal rescue successes!
Alan Knight OBE
Chief Executive

Thursday, 17 December 2009

BOO update - swimming in her pen

Boo has relaxed over the days in care and while she still doesnt like to be handled she is not as stressed as she was and this is more than likely as she now feels better and has become used to the routine. Also as she now she has pain relief and food. She is actually very gentle and curious and when in the pen she will be around your legs like the other pups, feeling the waterproofs and trying to suckle/bite your boots. You can clean and disinfect the pen as long as you move slowly and deliberatly and dont try and touch her. She watches your every move and loves it when you put the shower on her. But if you pick up a towel, which she associates with catching her up, then you better be able to move like lightning out of the pen or, actually catch her. Once caught and the towel discarded she feeds fine and is relaxed. Thankfully its the towel she has a problem with and not me!

Feeding routine is changing day by day as she starts to heal and her swelling and bruising goes down.
She has had minimal handling, just twice a day to feed and medicate.
Today she spent the day in the pen filled with water, for Boo and her injuries we also add salt to the water to help with the healing process. Boo's wounds look sufficiently OK for them to start being wet for longer periods. As well as helping with healing the wounds, the swimming also helps with her digestion. As she is quite young and just weaned she would not be used to eating solids so swimming in the water and being active helps. It also will help with her digestion as it will take her body weight off her stomach area which has suffered severe trauma which must feel far better than lying on it in the empty pen.
We are very pleased with her progress so far, the wounds are slowly healing, she is less stressed which makes it easier to help her and she seems far happier. I use the word happy as she spent the day playing in the water and anyone who seen her said the same thing, she looks happy playing about.
Hopefully theres a bit of the video I took attached to this post so you can get an idea of what I mean.

Boo Swimming showing off her scars

New Arrival - 16th December - Holly

(click on the pics to enlarge)

Just before lunch on Wednesday we had one of the locals knock on the hospital door and tell us there was a skinny looking pup, about 200metres up the road on Skarskerry slipway. Off Tracey and I went with a seal box and bag to take a look, and sure enough as soon as we turned the corner, there it was trying to shelter behind the little boatshed at the top of the slipway. It was very obvious that it needed to come in as it was as good as weaned with only the last remnants of white coat around its rear flippers and lower back but was very, very thin. A quick pick up and back to the hospital to give a thorough assessment.
We found we had a 3 to 4 week old female grey weighing in at a low 11.7kg.
She had puncture wounds on her neck and rear flippers. There were also three deep, bleeding more serious puncture wounds on her rear flippers and rear underside. She was very alert, though thankfully not too fiesty.She has been named Holly and will have the usual hydration fluid feeds before starting on routine fish feeds.
An easy rescue but a bit of a worry when they start coming to us.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

BOO update

On Arrival

front flipper edge Puncture to flipper

before shave after shave

On Monday we took Boo to the local vet surgery where she was sedated so we could clean the wounds a bit better and take a few xrays of the damaged flipper, thankfully nothing was broken though the puncture went straight in almost, if not to, the bone. While she was sedated I took a blood sample and swabs to send off.
Her whole underside from her ribs all the way back to her rear flippers are covered in wounds, some large, some small. Her side is also very swollen and bruised which is not suprising considering the size and depth of the main wound. Her tongue also has three bits out the end where she must have bitten it. This seems to be a common thing in grey seal pups up here where they get knocked around on rocks.
Her front flippers, as well as having the nails ground down she has ground down the edge of the flippers themselves, while this is relatively minor compared with her other injuries, it must be quite painful. It certainly looks it.
The wounds are many and will take a good amount of time to heal, but heal they should.
She needs a fair bit of extra care and a different routine to the others but fingers crossed she will make a full recovery.
Her demeanour improved over the weekend as she became used to her new surroundings and the routine, though she is still very aggressive when handled, which while dangerous is understandable considering what she has gone through and the pain she was in.
She has been given fish feeds the last couple of days and tonight for the first time she seemed more relaxed and swallowed them without biting the tails off. This is a good sign that she may soon start eating for herself as the less stressed we can keep her the quicker her recovery will be.
She loves being showered down and will sit under the shower all day if you will stand there. I have left her tap dribbling when cleaning but she is not interested in it, only the shower.

Sunday 13th December - Pup Release - Freddy and Jules

On Sunday the 13th of December our two common seal pups Freddy and Jules were finally released back into the wild.
They were ready to go around a fortnight ago but due to bad weather we had to wait for the right conditions. They were both looking fat and healthy with freddy finally hitting the 30 kilo release weight after a period when she lost several kilo due to us only being able to get large fish that she decided she didnt want, so she wouldnt eat them and only started picking up once we got her old favourites back. Fussy girl, thats Freddy for sure.Meanwhile Jules was up to 35 kilo as while she was held back for Freddy she just kept eating and eating.
Both pups made the trip down to our usual common release area on the Cromarty, arriving around 2 pm. Heather and I were joined by local medic, daily hospital volunteer and friend Tracey Myers with her two sons Elliot and Kyle and also our good friend, photographer, WDCS and BDMLR man and all round good guy Charlie Phillips. (the great pics on this post are his and the not so great are ours :)
Both pups were taken to the shore and as usual with a release , the tide was way out, so it was a long walk carrying the two fat pups, and with boxs opened and allowed to come out at their own pace. Freddy was into the water reasonably quickly while Jules wasnt quite sure. After a bit of coaxing and a last goodbye of she went. By this time Freddy was already out into the deeper channel in the middle jumping and diving, generally exploring and getting her bearings. Jules soon had the idea and was out in the deeper water exploring and was last seen porpoising out near the middle heading towards some pups further to the east.
They both seemed happy with their new surroundings and with a large population of commons in this area they should find some company within a very short space of time.

After being with them everyday for almost 6 months, people say it must be sad to see them go. Not sad I say, but happy, this is where they belong, not in a pool, so its good to see them go and especially see them happy so quickly. For sure I worry for them and I will miss them, but this is where they should be. We gave them a second chance and now its up to them.
We wish them all the best for a long and fruitful life.
See ya girls it was a pleasure knowing you!


Sunday, 13 December 2009

New arrival 11th of December-Boo

A member of the public called head office about an injured pup on Riess beach,Tracey Myers and Jamie responed to the call from head office and set out to check the pup.On assesment they discovered the pup had extensive bite marks and lacerations covering her abdomen and back.So the pup was transported to the hospital for a detailed assesment and treatment.Pup weighed in at 25.5kg and around 4 weeks old and was female, her injuries are pretty horrific as you can see from the photos.The photos are of the wounds after they had been cleaned and debrided she is going to the vets on monday to be sedated so that we can x-rayed her rear flipper,blood sample and check the depth of her wounds.Jamie named the pup Boo and she feeling alot better this evening after pain killers and anti-biotics over the weekend.Update tomorrow after her visit to the vets. Heather

Sunday, 6 December 2009

new arrival - 4th December - Blossom

A resident from Dunbeath contacted head office about a seal pup that had been watched all morning alone on a beach at Dunbeath not too far south of the Hospital.

Local medic Jane Gunn went out to have a look and confirmed it to be a skinny weaned grey seal. Jane then drove the pup to the Hospital for its assessment. Thanks Jane.

We found we had a grey seal female, approx 3 weeks old and while weighing 15.5 kilo was very malnourished as well as very dehydrated. This didnt stop her being very fiesty, which is normal until they get used to their new surroundings.

She was called Blossom, and will start with hydration fluid for the first 24 hours followed by easing her onto fish. There were no physical injuries besides a superficial graze to the chin so all going well she should progress quickly.

New Arrival - 27th November - Amadala


Medics from Stornaway were called out to a young grey seal looking very underweight.

The young seal was picked up by Sandy and Stacey and held overnight at Sandy's before boarding the morning ferry to Ullapool. Sandy did a great job of tubing the pup hydration fluid and monitoring its temperature through the night. She also made the round trip to Ullapool and back. A big effort, a long night and a long trip, thanks Sandy.

Once in Ullapool the pup was picked up for the next leg of the journey by Sue , who also made a huge effort driving from home near Aviemore to Ullapool, then taking the pup north to Lairg before handing it over to Andrew from Golspie who then drove the pup north to Helmsdale, from where Jim Thompson came the last leg arriving at the hospital around 2pm. Along journey for the little pup and a major effort from all those involved in getting the pup to us. Thank you all.

Now for the pup itself, upon examination we had a grey seal female, white coat at approx 8 - 10 days old. She was weighed at 15.4 kg. She was thin and had some deep lacerations to her underside. These lacerations were right in the folds of skin running across her stomach area. Very hard to deal with as her white coat was covering the area. Once cleaned and assessed she was started on hydration fluid for the first 24 hours to make sure everything was functioning, then she will be given fish soup rather then milk as she is not far off weaning and the transition to solids will be easier with fish soup rather than milk, which she will barely have time to get used to.

She is a fiesty and always alert pup and starting to look a bit scruffy now her coats starting to come off.


New arrival - 20th November 2009 - Chewbacca

Head office received a call about a pup on Keiss beach near Wick. Local medic Kirsty Rose went to assess the pup and upon finding a thin weaned grey trying to get as far away from the water as possible, called back reporting that it should be uplifted. Another local medic Karl, went out with the necessary transport box, uplifted and then brought the pup to the hospital for assessment.
On assessment we found we had a weaned male grey seal, very malnourished weighing in at 13.8 kg and around 4 weeks old. No real injuries, just the usual scrapes. He was very dehydrated so as usual started on hydration fluid.

After 24 hours Chewbacca was started on his routine fish feeds and is putting on weight and progressing well. He has settled in well and swims most of the day eating his fish in the water and playing continouisly. Once of his antibiotics and wormer he should be fit to go to the outside pool.

Sad News regarding Vader 18 November 2009

Unfortunately things didn’t work out as planned for Vader as posted previously.
On the Tuesday he had a long journey down to the Glasgow Veterinary school.
Once there we met up with Shaun Clements and Patrick Pollock, both well experience with seals and their vet needs. We took some further x rays from various angles so they could make sure the bone could be plated and also to decide the best way to do it. We were joined by Damien Chase who would be performing the surgery the following morning. Vader was then bedded down in the stable buildings and fed. He seemed fairly relaxed considering his new environment. I was joined by Patrick around 11pm to give Vader his night feed as he wouldn’t be having anything until the following afternoon.
At around 8.30am I began helping prep Vader for surgery and while he was sedated he seemed to be unstressed with what was going on around him. Once he was under and ready for surgery he was taken for a CT scan to get a proper look at the area that was broken. Once into surgery everything was stable and going to plan until we got to the area of the break. This is when things took a turn for the worse with it being clear that the bone was still badly infected. This meant that it couldn’t be plated and normal options for a domestic animal such as an external fixator or amputation were not options for an animal returning to the wild. He would not have tolerated an external fixator and probably damaged himself trying to get it off, as well as being a hygienic nightmare even with our protocols and standards he would still get filthy. The surgeons also had grave doubts that the radial nerve that allows him to move the flipper would work again. This meant that even after putting him through all of this recovery that if he couldn’t move it he would be euthanaised. We took the only decision left for Vaders welfare and that was to put him to sleep while he was still under on the operating table.
A decision not taken lightly but the best for Vaders welfare.
Certainly a sad day, as it usually is when we have seals come in that need to be euthaniased and broken bones such as this its sometimes the only option, but with Vader more so because there was a bit of hope and we were all optimistic about his chances.
He remained at the Vet School for a post mortem and his skeleton will remain with the school for further study which will surely help any other seal that may need treatment so its nice to think Vader will help others and his short life wasnt in vain.
A huge thank you must go out to everyone at Glasgow University Veterinary School for their above and beyond work for Vader. I would like to thank especially Damian Chase the surgeon from the small animal hospital, Patrick Pollock and Shaun Clements for all the work they put in to helping Vader and for getting it all organized over a weekend when they could have been doing something outside of work. Also a big thanks to James Barnett our consultant Vet for getting the ball rolling.
Thanks from everyone at the Seal Hospital.
Vader was a tough little seal and hopefully we gave him some comfort whilst with us.
A privilege knowing him, for sure
I have attached a few photos to show the work that went in to helping Vader and the incredible standard of care he received.
Jamie Dyer

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Lord Vadar more news

Vadar had more extensive x-rays last night which showed 1 break in the flipper and the other suspected break was actually a growth plate.He is going for a C.T scan this morning so the vets have a clear picture of the break before his surgery.He is doing well if not a bit grumpy (nothing unusual for Vadar).The Vet school have been amazing and we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone as they are doing all of this for free.Keep those fingers crossed as with all surgery there are risks involved.I will keep you posted.

Lastest news 17th Nov

The hospital has been very busy and it doesnt look like thats giong to change for the next few months.Here is a quick update on the pups,
He is a great pup eating more than 2kilos of fish a day and still wants more,he is 19.7kg now He had routine blood tests taken ,when we get the all clear from blood tests he will be ready to go outside.
Is doing very well,she is eating for herself in the water and is gaining weight now 12.3kg she is looking much rounder.Blood test results pending ,she will move outdoors after she has gained more weight.
It is with a heavy heart i have to say that our lovely boy passed away.He was doing well but got an infection that flared up over sunday morning and he died on sunday evening.This all happened so quickly,it was i shock to us all. We have sent him for a post mortem and will let you all know what it finds.
He was taken to the vets in Wick for some x-rays as his right flipper and shoulder were very swollen. Our main worry was a fracture and he has 2 fractures.He is at the moment at Glasgow Vet School with Jamie having more x-rays with the hope that the breaks can be repaired,keep your fingers crossed we'll know more in a few hours.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

New arrival 15th of November

We got a call from SSPCA Inspector John McAvoy regaurding a pup found stranded on the Kintyre Penninsula. SSPCA auxilliary Caroline picked up the pup and delivered it to John where it stayed overnight. The pup was then relayed to the hospital John taking the first leg from Oban to Inverness, then Linda (Inverness co-ordinator) oversaw Heather (medic) transfer the pup as it was her first call out,she took the next leg to Golspie. Where Colin took the last dash to the hospital. On arrival the pup was alert and active but very thin and tiny. The pup was covered in bites and weighed a shocking 9.3kg. She was given hydration fluid and had her wounds treated, antibiotics injection and blood samples taken for analysis. Pup has a very pale silver coat and was given the name Leia.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

New Arrival 10th of November

The new arrival was from Berridale Braes. He was spotted by a local lady who kindly alerted us to the distressed pup.When the pup arrived at the nursey he was a weaned pup 13.3kg very emaciated and quite a vocal little terror. After a full assessment he was dubbed Lord Vadar due to his demeanor and vocal range. He has started on his antibiotics and has just completed his 24hr fluid therapy so it will be an interesting feed later tonight we will see how he likes his fish feed.

Monday, 9 November 2009

A manic weekend.

The weather was pretty stormy last week so we expected more calls for pups in distress and we were very busy. First pup arrived on saturday afternoon. He came from Sandwick beach near Thurso, he was a thin white coat pup and sadly had to be put to sleep.He had been born without eyes and could not be rehabliltated and put back to the wild so the ethical desision was to let him go.

The next call was for a weaned pup on Scrabster beach. Pup is a tiny 10.7kg and short in length, although she's tiny she is a fiesty girl and is progressing very well. Initially on fliuds for 24hr she is eating herring very well.We named her Poppy which seemed fitting as is was Rememberance Sunday.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Another New Arival

Around 5 pm I had a call from Jim Thompson saying there was a pup near Kiess which is near to Wick at the Sub Sea 7 instillation. It is a pipeline manufacturing plant that makes the offshore pipelines.We arrived there to find a white coat pup that had somehow travelled around half a mile upstream after getting through a fenced off section of stream and had then turned and travelled down a dirty muddy road next to the pipeline railway for about 300 metres.He had a bad swelling and puncture mark over his ribs and a nasty cut next to his eye.Once at the hospital we assessed him, he was given a pain killer/anti-inflammatory injection as well as anti-biotic and fluid therapy, fed and then bedded him down for the night.We called him Walter after the man who looked out for him all afternoon after a farmer had seen him in the morning. He weighed in at 14.6 kilo and was filthy covered in mud and oil,he is very alert and active considering his adventures.

A Halloween Pup

Jamie recieved a call on Friday evening from a member of the public regarding a small grey seal pup that had been lying next to the ferry pier to Seil Island, south of Oban. Being over 5 hours away he called, what used to be local, SSPCA officers to help with assesing and if needed, to uplift.After assesing the pup on the Saturday morning it was uplifted by SSPCA John McAvoy, then relayed by SSPCA Dawna Connelly to Inverness and then Jim Thompson collected the pup at Inverness and arrived at the hospital at 10.30pm Saturday night. He has been called Pumpkin and is a male around 10 days old, weighing in at 13.6 kilos. Malnourished with only minor cuts and scrapes.Fiesty and alert.
The pup was called Pumpkin, he was given fluid therapy for the first 24 hours along with anti-biotics, vitamin and iron supplements. He is a well behaved boy with a good singing voice. Pumpkin is now on to eating fish with minimal assistance this is unusual for young pup.The first time he was stomach tubed he willingly swallowed it down and did so each time he was given the fluid therapy, this led us to try very small gutted fish instead of the usual trimmed fillets of herring. He is a smashing little Pumpkin but he will still try to bite your ankle as you step out of his pen.