A couple of days ago Rueben reported seeing a pack of wild dogs with two injured pack members. One had a snare around his neck and one – sadly – had completely lost a leg. I went out immediately to take a look and see if there was anything I could do. Unfortunately the one who had lost a leg is beyond my help. It seems he was caught in a snare and chewed his own leg off to get out…. Yes, you did read that correctly. My immediate reaction of disbelief when I saw it was swiftly followed by anger at the immense cruelty of snaring. This only increased when I managed to get a look at the dog with the snare around his neck…
I tried to dart him, but could not get a shot at him that day, and in any case it was getting late, so the following day, Rueben found the pack again early (thank goodness for the collar) and we spent the best part of the day trying to get close enough to get a dart in. Unfortunately when dogs have been injured, they often become, understandably, very wary of humans, and they kept a long way out of range. We tried motorbike, foot and vehicle and eventually I managed to get a dart in him when they stopped at a water point to drink.
The wound was even more terrible than it had seemed. The poor dog’s neck was almost half cut off….
I called for some help and by some miracle had sufficient phone signal to get a message through to a vet to ask for advice. We removed the snare, cleaned up the wound and did what we could.
Luckily, the whole procedure went extremely well. The dog slept soundly throughout and only started to come around once we had finished everything. (The brown in the photo below is the betadine solution with which we cleaned the wound).
After an injection of the reversal drug, he made an extremely good recovery and soon joined his pack again. I hope he will make it – he’s only a 10 month old pup, and deserves more of a chance than that! Fortunately wild dogs are extremely resilient and I have seen dogs with similar wounds recover fine, so his chances are not too bad. I will let you know how he does.