27th Jun, 2022

Coventry RSPCA branch appeal raises £2,500 for major ear op after illegal cropping left bulldog in chronic pain

Editorial Correspondent 15th Mar, 2021 Updated: 17th Mar, 2021

A RSPCA branch in Coventry has been inundated with donations towards specialist surgery for an American bulldog left in “unbearable pain” and partially deaf after illegal ear cropping.

Two-year-old Lexi, will now be able to undergo the £2,500 ear operation following a successful fundraising appeal.

Coventry & District RSPCA branch says it is “wonderful news” and confirmed that any extra money raised will go towards her recovery and to help other animals in their care.

When an RSPCA inspector brought Lexi into the charity’s city branch in January, she was suffering chronic pain after an ear condition was left without treatment.

Dave Budd, from the branch, said: “Poor Lexi had been found in poor conditions where she’d essentially been left to care for herself.

“She was suffering from a chronic ear condition. Had it been treated in its early stages by her owners then it wouldn’t have progressed to be so serious and Lexi wouldn’t have been in such severe discomfort. There was no relief from the agony, which left her scratching at her ears and crying in pain.”

Lexi was seen by numerous vets and tried a number of medications to ease the condition and make her more comfortable, but her ears were so swollen and damaged from the infection that the ear canal has virtually closed, leaving her partially deaf.

Dave said: “Sadly, vets have decided that the only option is major surgery – called total ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy, or TECA for short – that involves completely removing the ear canal and tympanic bull (middle ear), leaving only the pinna (or ear flap) remaining.

“While this procedure will make Lexi completely deaf, it will eradicate the pain.

“Lexi has also had her ears cruelly cropped earlier in her life which will make the surgery even more challenging and will increase the risk of infection during her recovery.”

Lexi is currently being looked after by a fosterer and shown she is a loving, playful and affectionate dog who loves nothing more than playing with her toys, having tummy rubs and curling up to snooze with her favourite toys.

Ear cropping has been illegal in the UK, under the Animal Welfare Act, since 2006. It is a practice in which a dog’s ears are cut or removed completely in order to achieve a certain ‘tough’ look, and the RSPCA is seeing more and more dogs arriving in its care having had the procedure.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Dogs – often large breeds such as dobermans, cane corsos, or bull breeds, like Lexi – will typically have their ears cropped when they’re puppies.

“As the procedure is illegal here, many dogs are imported with cropped ears from countries such as Russia and the USA – where it is widely practised – or may have it carried out ‘underground’ here, often without any anaesthetic or pain relief. The wounds can often become infected and can take months to heal, leaving dogs in excruciating pain.

“Cropping can also lead to life-long health and behavioural problems. Dogs can be left incredibly head shy and have sensitivities around being touched near their ears or may struggle to trust people after being subjected to such brutality. Others find it difficult to communicate with people, other dogs and other animals.

“Ultimately, ear cropping is incredibly damaging for dogs, which is why it’s illegal in the UK. The procedure has absolutely no benefit at all for the dog and is done purely for cosmetic reasons. Over the past six years, we’ve seen a 621% increase in the number of reports of ear cropping at the RSPCA and we believe this may be being driven by more dogs being imported with cropped ears which is why we’re now backing a campaign calling for a ban on the importation of cropped dogs from overseas.”

To read more about Lexi’s ear operation appeal go here.

If you would like to support the charity’s work in Coventry, go here.

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