x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Rescued Saluki 'worst starvation case I've ever seen', says vet

The severely malnourished Saluki is said to have a 50 per cent chance of survival.

This young Saluki, found in Bur Dubai on Saturday, has a 50 per cent chance of survival. Supplied: Dr Lukasz Juszkiewicz
This young Saluki, found in Bur Dubai on Saturday, has a 50 per cent chance of survival. Supplied: Dr Lukasz Juszkiewicz

DUBAI // A starving Saluki found on a Bur Dubai street is in such an emaciated state that even if it survives its skeleton will never develop to normal size.

The seven-month-old bitch should weigh 14kg but is just 6kg, its ribs are protruding and it has open wounds on its head and rump.

The vet treating the animal says it is the worst case of starvation he has seen, and gives the animal a 50 per cent chance of survival.

The dog was found by a member of the public, who took it to the Modern Veterinary Clinic in Al Wasl Road yesterday.

“The animal was admitted with signs of extreme dehydration and extreme muscle loss,” said the vet, Dr Lukasz Juszkiewicz.

“She looks like she was just left alone because she has not been eating for a long time. She has symptoms of pneumonia.

“She’s super small. She’s at a time in her life when she’s supposed to grow quickly, her bones are supposed to grow in length, but they are devastated so she’ll stay small.

”The dog is being fed intravenously and given antibiotics because it is at an age when pneumonia is life-threatening.“We tried to feed her with a spoon but she’s too weak,” added Dr Juszkiewicz.“This is starvation to extreme limits, to really life-threatening limits. Those wounds are not because someone hit her, it’s because she’s been lying somewhere for so long.”

The dog was found by Fatima Intabli on Saturday evening as she was walking her two dogs near her home. It was lying in a sandy hole next to the wall of a villa.

“It seemed like she had been lying there for quite some time,” she said. “It was very clear that she was mentally torn apart because she wouldn’t move and was lying all curled up in a very awkward position.

“She looked very skinny and it was very obvious she had not been fed or given water for a very long time. So I brought her home.”

Ms Intabli has rescued many other distressed animals in the past.“I tend to take them to Modern Veterinary Clinic,” she added. “They are very helpful and they try to do their best with every case.

“So many cases have passed through me and it seems I should be immune to it, but every time this happens I cannot stop wondering why people do that, it’s really devastating.”

Dr Juszkiewicz said of Ms Intabli: “It’s great that we have those types of people, they are very sensitive and they care about animals.”

The Saluki is the traditional hunting dog of Arabia, and was used by nomadic tribes to bring down gazelles in the desert. It is one of the oldest dog breeds, and is known as the Royal Dog of Egypt because mummified remains have been found in Pharaohs' tombs.

csimpson@thenational.ae