Why access to veterinary support should not be taken for granted

Bella is recovering from injuries sustained when someone doused her in boiling liquid, either water or oil. PHOTO © Lisa Cant-Haylett

One day last December I noticed my cat Bella seemed a bit under the weather. She wasn’t displaying her usual behavior as a very active, outdoor cat. 

She sat huddled in a ball and as any person privileged to having grown up surrounded by dogs, cats and other animals, it didn’t take long for me to realise something was amiss.

Careful examination revealed a small puncture wound on her right back leg. It was almost not visible but from experience I knew that left untreated, it would probably develop into an abscess. The initial visit to the vet with Bella did not seem out of the ordinary – the vet found the wound had, in fact, developed into an abscess so he lanced it to let it drain.

That was that, or so I thought. I wasn’t overly concerned  as it seemed to be a “run of the mill” cat bite and I assumed Bella had been the victim of one of the many strays that lurk around our property.

A few days later, I discovered Bella’s injuries were far worse.

Petting her leg my hand met a 10 cm long ridge of raw tissue, where there should have been skin and fur. She was terribly burned. I rushed her to the vet and he confirmed my fears when he said she had been badly burned by some sort of boiling liquid, water or possibly oil.  

We haven’t been able to find out when, and who would have done such a cruel thing.

Bella has since been in and out of the hospital for the past over a period of almost four weeks. She has undergone surgery in an attempt to treat her badly wounded back leg. 

When I spend time with Bella, I am aware of how incredibly fortunate she is to have received such careful treatment. The ready access I have to veterinary services is a reminder never to take that access for granted.

Many pet owners and their companion animals are far less fortunate than I am. 

However, that is where IFAW is making a difference in the lives of these owners – providing them with the means to alleviate the suffering of their beloved companion animals when the need arises, and access to treatment.

It is only thanks to the generosity of IFAW’s donors that millions of cats and dogs in some of the poorest communities around the world have been helped over the years.

Grateful thanks from a recovering Bella and me.


Read more about IFAW efforts to help animals in need around the world. 

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
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