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Redbridge vets call for tougher laws after stress from fireworks left Hornchurch terrier in bloodbath

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:32 25 October 2019

A West Highland terrier from Hornchurch was so stressed when hearing fireworks that he ruptured an infected anal gland. Picture: Vets Now

A West Highland terrier from Hornchurch was so stressed when hearing fireworks that he ruptured an infected anal gland. Picture: Vets Now

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The story of a Hornchurch terrier suffering from a ruptured abscess is one of many reasons why Redbridge vets are calling for tougher laws on the sale of fireworks.

Dogs on bonfire night. Picture: Vets NowDogs on bonfire night. Picture: Vets Now

Vets Now is urging the government to change firework laws amid concerns that pets are being put at risk.

A beloved family dog in Hornchurch ended up covered in blood after stress from fireworks caused an abscess in his rear end to rupture.

The West Highland terrier, Archie, had always been afraid of fireworks.

His owner, Anne Jackson, said that last November was worse than usual with Archie growing increasingly stressed as the days went by.

One night he disappeared at speed up the stairs because of the noise.

"There was blood everywhere," Anne said. "It was all over our bedroom, the spare room and the furniture.

"I've never seen anything like it.

"My first thought - and obviously I was panicking a bit - was that Archie must have impaled himself on something sharp.

"That's how bad it was. It was only when I picked him up and got him wrapped up in a towel that I could see what had happened.

"He was bleeding from his behind, but at that stage we didn't know what had caused it."

Anne rushed seven-year-old Archie to the Vets Now pet emergency clinic in Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge.

He was diagnosed with a condition called anal sacculitis, which occurs when the anal glands become inflamed, infected or abscessed.

These can spontaneously empty or burst, especially under times of stress.

The emergency vets and nurses got to work stemming the bleeding and cleaning up Archie's wounds.

Hornchurch terrier Archie. Picture: Vets NowHornchurch terrier Archie. Picture: Vets Now

He was also given painkillers and antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Laura Playforth, Vets Now's professional standards director, said: "We see a lot of injuries to pets caused by them taking fright during fireworks and ending up in road accidents or other mishaps.

"But something like this is pretty unusual — and illustrates the amount of anxiety and distress which is caused to a significant proportion of animals by very loud fireworks.

"Our team said Archie was a lovely little character and we were all delighted to hear he'd recovered so well."

Anne added: "I'm not a killjoy and I totally agree that people should be able to celebrate special times of the year like Diwali, Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve by having a fireworks display.

"But the noise now is so much louder than it used to be. It's like military explosions going off.

"And if it's so noisy that it hurts the human ear, then how are poor animals going to feel?

A West Highland terrier from Hornchurch was so stressed when hearing fireworks that he ruptured an infected anal gland. Picture: Vets NowA West Highland terrier from Hornchurch was so stressed when hearing fireworks that he ruptured an infected anal gland. Picture: Vets Now

"It's always going to be worst for pets."

Vets Now carried out a poll which revealed that 96per cent of more than 7,000 respondents said they support tighter controls on fireworks and 73pc said their pets were scared of the noise they create.

Sainsbury's recently announced its decision to stop selling fireworks from all its 2,300 stores and Vets Now is hoping other retailers will do the same.

Amanda Boag, clinical director at Vets Now, said: "To reduce the distress caused to pets we urgently need a review of fireworks regulations to prevent supermarkets and other retailers from selling them for private use.

"We'd also like to see their use restricted to licensed public events, which are well publicised in advance, around traditional dates only."

The call to change the law so fireworks are less frightening for animals is backed by the RSPCA and pressure group Firework Abatement (Fab).

Fab founder Julie Doorne said: "We are sick and tired of seeing and hearing stories about animals and people suffering because of the use of fireworks.

"It is high time the government and MPs listened to the people on this issue and urgently reviewed firework regulations.

"It is the only way to prevent any needless distress or suffering."

Visit vets-now.com/fireworks-and-pets/ to find out more about the campaign.

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