Jack Russell needed life-saving treatment after escaping dog attack in Gateshead

Lucy and her owner Janine Webb
Lucy and her owner Janine Webb -Credit:PDSA

A 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier needed life-saving vet treatment after she suffered injuries that could have become life-threatening when she was attacked by another dog.

Janine Webb, from Gateshead, was out on a routine evening walk with her pet Lucy when a roaming dog with no owner in sight attacked the smaller terrier. After she was freed by two passing police officers, it was clear that she had been seriously injured and needed emergency veterinary treatment.

Recalling the attack, Janine said: "We only managed to take a few steps out of my garden when the dog who had escaped, darted over, and latched onto Lucy.

"I tried to get Lucy away, but the dog shook her like a rag doll. I quickly realised that he wasn’t going to let go."

Janine took Lucy to Gateshead's PDSA Pet Hospital, where she received overnight emergency treatment. As Janine receives benefits, she was able to access the PDSA's treatment for free.

Lucy with owner Janine Webb at home on the sofa
Lucy with owner Janine Webb at home on the sofa -Credit:PDSA

She continued: "I was heartbroken leaving the Pet Hospital alone. It was the first time we had ever been apart, and I was terrified that we may have said goodbye for good."

Faith Willsher, a vet surgeon at the hospital confirmed the severity of Lucy's injuries, saying: "On first examination, she had very prominent bite wounds along her back, some of which were deep. She was admitted for pain relief, antibiotics, a drip, and sedation so we could further assess her wounds."

"Luckily, X-rays showed no internal injuries. However, three deep wounds had caused Lucy’s skin to rip away from the muscle over her back.

"If left untreated, as well as being extremely painful, they risked becoming infected, which could lead to life-threatening sepsis. All three wounds were carefully cleaned under anaesthetic and stitched up. A drain was placed under the skin to help clear any fluid build-up and prevent infection."

After a second night in hospital, Lucy was able to return home though she had to regularly return to the pet hospital to have wounds clean and dressings reapplied. Unfortunately, the wound became infected despite antibiotics and regular check-ups, a common side effect of dog bites.

The vet had to remove a large amount of infected skin and a special dressing was applied to protect the area and help manage the infection. One month after the incident, PDSA vets signed Lucy off from further treatment.

Lucy with owner Janine Webb on the sofa
Lucy with owner Janine Webb on the sofa -Credit:PDSA

Vet Faith offered some advice on what to do if dogs become embroiled in a fight whilst out on a walk, ahead of warmer weather where dogs are more likely to come into contact with one another. She said: "A well-socialised dog will not normally be actively aggressive towards other dogs and won’t go around looking to attack others.

"But any dog can become aggressive if they are afraid and feel there is no other way out of the situation. This can be due to a current perceived threat or even past experience making them uncomfortable.

"Although it can be distressing if a dog becomes aggressive, try not to panic. Panic can make the circumstances worse – and if you try to pull your dog out of harm’s way both of you could end up with some nasty injuries.

"Instead, making a loud noise from a distance can help to distract the other dog, but don’t shout at or make eye contact with them, as this can make them feel more threatened and worsen the situation."