RSPCA: Essex bulldog Rocco needed urgent surgery ‘to just live a normal life’

A British bulldog in Essex who was “plagued” with health problems needed major surgery “to just live a normal life”.

Rocco came into the care of Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield, Essex in November 2021. He had lots of health problems and needed two major operations to help him.

Danaher’s animal welfare manager Sam Garvey said: “When Rocco arrived with us he was sadly suffering from a lot of discomfort due to his eyes and he had compromised upper airways that was seriously affecting his breathing.

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“He had surgery to help remove some of the skin around his eyes to prevent rubbing on his cornea and he also had his nostrils widened and some of his soft palette removed to help with his breathing.

“He felt much better after the surgery and was, as a result, a happier, healthier dog which was wonderful to see. It didn’t take long after his operations for him to bag himself a new home and he’s now loving life with his family.”

The RSPCA has launched a campaign to encourage people not to buy breeds of dog which cannot live healthy normal lives.



Rocco had to have major surgery on his eyes and nose

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “It’s heart-breaking that Rocco was struggling to carry out simple everyday tasks without discomfort. His eyes were rubbed sore and he struggled to catch his breath.

“Thankfully he’s now had surgery to ease these problems but it’s wrong that he needed major surgery simply to live a normal life.

“For years we have deliberately been breeding dogs in our pursuit for extreme body shapes including shorter, flatter faces. We’ve created generations who struggle to breathe, struggle with heat regulation, are chronically tired and can’t exercise without collapsing, and have to sleep with their head propped up on a pillow or with a toy in their mouth, just to help them breathe.

“In dogs, particularly, this has become such a huge welfare concern that we are left with only one option; to urge people not to buy them at all.

“Unfortunately, it is too risky to buy these pets because it is practically impossible to find a healthy one. This is a growing animal crisis and urgent intervention is required.”

The RSPCA this week launched a new campaign, Save Our Breath, urging the public not to buy breeds who cannot live normal lives due to the irresponsible way they’ve been selectively bred.

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