Desperately ill Cockapoo Archie saved by Vets Now emergency vets

A couple fear their cockapoo puppy may have been the victim of a deliberate poisoning.

There have been reports of dogs exercising in Glasgow parks being targeted by sick-minded people with a grudge against owners who do not clean up after their pets.

Now Martyn and Laura Senior have been left wondering if their beloved cockapoo Archie has become the latest victim after he spent a week fighting for his life.

The warning comes in the wake of RSPCA figures which showed a 73% rise in deliberate and accidental poisonings of dogs over the past five years.

Archie's owners Laura and Martyn bought the puppy as a wedding gift to each other

The couple bought six-month-old Archie as a wedding gift to each other, but their joy at having their first pet turned to heartache when he suddenly became seriously ill.

Archie was rushed to Vets Now’s pet emergency hospital in Glasgow, which provides 24/7 care for pets, but kidney and liver test results led staff to warn Martyn and Laura that Archie may not survive.

It’s only now, with Archie back home and on the road to recovery, that Laura can bare to relive the trauma.

She said: “Around the area we live there have been reports of people leaving out dog food laced with toxins. Maybe Archie could have eaten some? It just shows how much you need to watch dogs all the time – although it’s hard when they’re puppies and into everything.”

Image of Archie in Vets Now hospital for Vets Now article on poisoning in dogs
Archie's owners believe he may have been poisoned while walking in his local park

Laura added: “Initially Archie had become a bit ill and lethargic and we took him to our usual vet and they gave him some medicine, but then he became violently sick – I’ve never seen anything so bad – so we went to Vets Now.

“The vets couldn’t pinpoint what had caused his illness. At first, they thought it could be leptospirosis, an infection dogs can catch from other animals such as rats, or that he could have eaten something toxic.

“It was particularly bad for my husband, Martyn, because he’s a doctor so he could tell just how bad things were.”

As little Archie continued to fight for his life, specialist veterinary staff carried out more tests and ruled out leptospirosis as well as Addison’s disease, which occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce the right hormones.

Laura said: “Vets Now phoned us three or four times a day to keep us updated and we visited Archie every day as well. I can’t explain how much that helped us and mentally it must have helped Archie too. Every time we went in he would lift his head and lick us and that was the Archie we knew.

“I think a lot of people might have given up in that situation, but my message is don’t give up too soon because Archie was dying. The vets did everything they could to make him better and eventually it worked.

“It was the longest week of our lives. We didn’t ever think we were going to get Archie home, but after all the treatment and all the time and effort by the vets he was able to come home on medication which feels unbelievable.

“Archie is our first dog but when we thought he was going to die Martyn said: ‘How can the best year of your life become the worst’. So we had the best Christmas ever with Archie and all the family. He’s just so cheeky and so playful and cuddly. We’re so lucky to have him back.”

Vets have been unable to diagnose definitively what made Archie ill, but the evidence suggests he had ingested a dangerous toxin.

"My message is don't give up too soon because Archie was dying. The vets did everything they could to make him better and eventually it worked."

Laura Senior Archie's owner
Vets have been unable to diagnose definitively what made Archie ill, but evidence suggests he had ingested a dangerous toxin.

Related to poisoning in dogs

Whatever the cause of Archie’s illness, Laura is delighted to have him home. She’s now planning to take him to Neilston Primary School, where she teaches, to thank pupils for their support during her traumatic week.

She said: “My class have been incredible. I didn’t take any time off work as I wanted to be in school, but one day I did break down and the kids were amazing. They’ve been asking questions about Archie every day and now call him the class mascot.”

In September, the RSPCA made a national plea about accidental and deliberate pet poisonings after recording 213 cases in 2012, 283 in 2014 and 368 last year.

Owner's Martyn and Laura were allowed to visit Archie while he was in emergency care

Specialist vet Scott Kilpatrick, who works in the Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow, said staff were delighted Archie had returned to full health.

He said: “Archie is such an adorable puppy and clearly meant the world to Martyn and Laura. He was desperately ill when he was admitted and required a significant amount of intensive care during the seven nights he was in hospital.

“It seems we’ll never know exactly what made him so ill but he’s clearly a fighter because he fought through it. We’re all very relieved he’s recovered.”

The Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow – where Archie received treatment – is regarded as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the UK.

It’s one of three Vets Now hospitals across the UK that are open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur. All of Vets Now’s 58 clinics and hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.