Emergency vets say four-month-old crossbreed is fortunate to be alive

A dog-on-dog attack is something every owner dreads, especially one with a puppy. Sadly, for Emma Baker-Robinson, the nightmare became a reality when her four-month-old crossbreed Ernie was set upon in a local park.

Emma, and her boyfriend Simon, were walking Ernie near their home in Salford, Greater Manchester, when a bully kutta appeared, seemingly from nowhere.

“It just picked Ernie up in its mouth, biting him and throwing him around,” recalled Emma. “We tried to drag the dog off him but it was off its lead so the owner couldn’t pull it back. Simon tried pulling at its collar, but ended up being bitten on the hand so he was bleeding as well.”

An image of a puppy injured in a dog attack, sitting on his owners lap for Vets Now article on dog attack
Emma with puppy Ernie before his horrific ordeal

Eventually, the couple, along with the bully kutta’s owner, managed to separate the two dogs — but by then Ernie had suffered horrendous injuries.

“His side had blown up like a football and was very weak from all the bleeding.

“He was also covered in mud because he’d been dragged across the ground so much,” said Emma, recalling the ordeal in horrific detail.

“We took Ernie to the local vets but he was in such a bad way they didn’t think he’d make it through the night so we were really stressed and upset.”

Because his injuries were so severe, Emma’s vet referred Ernie to the Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Manchester, which is one of Europe’s leading centres of excellence for emergency and critical care.

He was transferred by ambulance in the hope of saving his life — leaving Emma and Simon to get a taxi.

“We were so lucky in that the taxi driver who had taken us to our own vets, took us all the way to the Vets Now hospital and didn’t charge us,” Emma explained. “He’d witnessed how bad Ernie was and knew we needed to be with him. It was so lovely of him.”

An image of Ernie wrapped in bandages after being attacked by a dog for Vets Now article on dog attack
Emergency vets weren't sure if Ernie would make it through the night

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When Ernie arrived at the hospital he was in a critical condition. He was weak from losing a lot of blood and suffering severe lung injuries.

Helen Rooney is head hospital nurse at Vets Now in Manchester. Her team delivered all the hands-on nursing care and support and Helen heaped praise on everyone involved in saving Ernie’s life.

She said: “Ernie spent the night on oxygen therapy in the intensive care unit being cared for by our dedicated night team. The following day he underwent reconstructive surgery with one of the referral surgeons and had several ribs removed to repair the bite wound to his chest.

“Thankfully, Ernie is a fighter and he made it through. We’re all very relieved to see he’s now on the road to recovery and hope he will be back to his usual, playful self soon.”

An image of a puppy who had been injured in a dog attack fully recovered and happy for Vets Now article on dog attack
Staff at Vets Now Manchester hospital managed to save Ernie's life

"The Vets Now team in Manchester were amazing. They saw to Ernie straight away and kept us updated with every step of his treatment."

Emma Baker-Robinson Ernie's owner

Emma said she was hugely appreciative of all the staff at the hospital. She added: “They were simply amazing. They saw to Ernie straight away and kept us updated with every step of his treatment.

“We understood the reality of the situation and how severely Ernie was injured, but we were kept updated with every slight change which helped put our minds at ease.”

Ernie is now well on the road to recovery. However, despite his fighting spirit, Emma said the ordeal has affected how she cares for him.

“I’m really worried about taking him to the park and how he will react to other dogs, but also about him approaching other dogs even if they’re play fighting.”

The Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Manchester — where Ernie 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 59 clinics and hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.