Betty and Wilma
Betty and Wilma were rescued from a puppy farm in Carmarthernshire, Wales in May 2016. The capital of puppy farming in the UK.
The puppy farmer was downsizing due to an upcoming license inspection as she was keeping too many dogs, more than her license permitted.
Betty and Wilma are Basset Hounds, a breed with a high price tag for their puppies. Bassets are calm dogs with a beautiful, friendly and loving nature.
During the handover of the girls the breeder picked them up by the scruff of the neck and practically threw them into the car. These dogs weigh around 20kg so you can imagine the strain on their poor bodies being picked up in that manner.
The husband said they were his favourite dogs so goodness only knows how he treats the dogs that are not his ‘favourites’.
He said that a Beagle had bitten one of the Bassets on the face and she didn’t need antibiotics.
The girls safe at last
Once the breeder had left and we had time to see the girls properly it became apparent that Betty had a serious problem with the wound on her face. It was yellow and green which indicated an infection.
They were both very nervous and were physically shaking in the crate in the boot. I decided the best thing to do was to get to our local vets as soon as possible.
3.5 hours later I arrived at the vets with the girls. My partner met me there to give me a hand to get them into the vets- as usual for ex breeding dogs they did not have collars or harnesses on.
They were terribly scared of men, they barked and howled at the vet and my partner. I got them inside for them to be checked over.
Both were absolutely covered in faeces, it was caked on all over their bodies. Their teats touched the floor indicating they had endured many litters over the years. They also had ribs sticking out and were 3kg underweight.
Both girls had hair and shavings matted into her teeth, bald elbows and knee joints and patches of fur missing.
It quickly transpired that the lump that was oozing pus on her face was a dental abscess, not an injury as we were told. The abscess had got so bad that it had grown right through her face. She was started straight away on antibiotics but would need a dental as soon as that infection had subsided. The pain must have been tremendous.
Wilma was vaccinated immediately but Betty had to wait until after her infection had been dealt with.
Both girls were wormed and treated for ear mites and infections.
They had their dentals a couple of weeks later also and later Betty was vaccinated.
We waited for a season and then they were both spayed afterwards. Wilma had a phantom pregnancy so had to wait a while longer.
Betty is so scared at the vets she has to be carried in, even now. She will urinate over whoever is carrying her and again on the vet table. The vets always come to the house to see her for her check ups so she doesn’t have the stress of going there.
She will not walk on a lead and drops to the ground in fear. Luckily we have a lot of land so she gets plenty of exercise at home.
Betty is a real Mummy’s girl, she jumps up at me and loves cuddles. Her favourite thing is to sit on my lap! Yet she still will not follow me to certain parts of the house.
Wilma is a little better but her fear is displayed in an respiratory rate increase. She is more confident and will walk with me on the lead and loves to explore the garden and paddocks.
Wilma’s heart condition
In 2017 Wilma was at her check up when the vet heard a grade 2 heart murmur. Around the same time she was displaying symptoms of a heart problem such as shortness of breath and pale gums
It had come on quite suddenly so she had a scan, x ray and an ECG. The general practice vets referred her to Pride referrals in Derby to see a cardiologist as they couldn’t find anything obvious.
She was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension- I’m told they rarely pick this up as the symptoms are vague. She was also diagnosed with Tricuspid Valve Disease. She initially had tests with the cardiologist every three months but its now every 6 months as she’s doing very well on her medication.
This means the puppies produced by Wilma will more than likely also have heart defects and leaky valves.
Happy and loved
The girls will never be able to exhibit ‘normal’ behaviour. In the back of their minds every single minute there is an element of fear.
We keep them to a routine which makes them settled and they have a great time doing some typical Basset things such as rolling in fox poo!
Betty loves a belly rub!
Wilma with her friend Shiver- another ex-breeding girl.