West Highland terrier Archie so stressed he ruptured infected anal gland

A much-loved family dog ended up covered in blood after the stress and noise of fireworks caused a rupture in his back end.

Like many pets, West Highland terrier Archie has always been terrified of the sudden and deafening noise caused by fireworks.

But last November was even worse than usual – leaving bewildered Archie more and more stressed as the days went by.

His normal reaction to the noise is to sprint around the house or hide behind the curtains.

So on the night he became ill, owner Anne Jackson wasn’t that surprised when Archie disappeared at speed up the stairs and didn’t come back down.

When she went to investigate, nothing could prepare Anne for the sight that greeted her.

“There was blood everywhere,” Anne said. “It was all over our bedroom, the spare room and the furniture. I’ve never seen anything like it.

“My first thought – and obviously I was panicking a bit – was that Archie must have impaled himself on something sharp.

“That’s how bad it was. It was only when I picked him up and got him wrapped up in a towel that I could see what had happened.

“He was bleeding from his behind but at that stage we didn’t know what was caused it.”

Anne, of Hornchurch, Essex, rushed seven-year-old Archie to the Vets Now pet emergency clinic in nearby Ilford.

He was diagnosed with a condition called anal sacculitis, which occurs when the anal glands become inflamed, infected or abscessed.

These can spontaneously empty or burst, especially under times of stress.

Archie the Westie for Vets Now article on dogs fireworks effects
The noise caused him so much stress that he ruptured an infected anal gland, causing extreme bleeding

Our emergency vets and vet nurses got to work on stemming the bleeding and cleaning up Archie’s wounds. He was also given painkillers and antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Laura Playforth, Vets Now’s professional standards director, said: “We see a lot of injuries to pets caused by them taking fright during fireworks and ending up in road accidents or other mishaps.

“But something like this is pretty unusual — and illustrates the amount of anxiety and distress which is caused to a significant proportion of animals by very loud fireworks.

“Our team said Archie was a lovely little character and we were all delighted to hear he’d recovered so well.”

Archie’s owner Anne added: “I’m not a killjoy and I totally agree that people should be able to celebrate special times of the year like Diwali, Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve by having a fireworks display.

“But the noise now is so much louder than it used to be. It’s like military explosions going off.

“And if it’s so noisy that it hurts the human ear, then how are poor animals going to feel? It’s always going to be worst for pets.”

Archie the Westie for Vets Now article on dogs fireworks effects
Archie's owner says she would hate for any other dog to suffer like Archie

“The other issue is that fireworks go off for days and days around the bigger events – and that’s what’s so hard to deal with as a pet owner.

“If you knew that it was only going to be one or two nights at a time it would be an awful lot easier.

“I don’t think people even realise the distress this causes to pets. So it’s not deliberate – and if people did realise then I’m sure most would probably stop.

“What happened to Archie was just awful. He’s been part of our family since he was eight weeks old as a puppy.

“It was just horrendous to see. I was totally shocked when the vet told me what had happened. Obviously the abscess had been invisible.

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“Archie’s case was totally out of the ordinary, he recovered fine in the end and he was soon back to his normal self: looking out of the window and barking at cats!

“But I would hate for any other dog to suffer like Archie did and anything that can be done to change the law to help protect animals definitely gets my support.”

The Vets Now clinic in Ilford — where Archie received treatment — was recently rated as an “outstanding” provider of pet emergency care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

It is one of more than 60 Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s premises have a vet and vet nurse on-site at all times.

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