A dog owner had to battle to free his Maltese Terrier from the jaws of another dog after it was viciously attacked and needed an emergency operation.

Seven-year-old Ralphie was left with horrific gaping wounds after the sudden, unprovoked attack. Owner Dave Suter was miles from home and, with no vets to turn to on a holiday, he feared for the life of his beloved pet.

But architect Dave rushed Ralphie to the Vets Now clinic in Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire, where staff carried out an emergency operation and were able to save his life. Dave, who lives in Northampton, had been visiting family in Milton Keynes when the shocking attack happened.

“My son lives in this really lovely community with very nice houses, and it was just the last thing I’d ever have expected,” said Dave, 68.

“I’d popped out of his house to get some things from my car and Ralphie followed me out into the drive. This large dog came from the next-door neighbour’s house and had a sniff at Ralphie. I didn’t think anything of it at first, but suddenly it went for his throat.

“He missed, but got hold of Ralphie by his shoulders and started shaking him like a rag doll. It must have only been for a few seconds, but it seemed like minutes.”

Urgent help needed

“I got hold of the dog’s head and tried to open its mouth, but I couldn’t get it to let go. Then a friend of my son came running from the house and very bravely stuck his head right in there and got Ralphie free. When we put Ralphie down, the dog attacked again and bit him on the back that time. It was all utterly horrific and the whole thing was captured on my son’s home security cameras.”

With Ralphie badly mauled and suffering from massive open wounds, Dave needed help urgently and managed to get in touch with Vets Now. Our Barton-le-Clay clinic is one of more than 60 clinics and hospitals across the UK that are open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.

“I had him wrapped in a towel and he was whimpering in pain whenever we hit a bump in the road on the journey,” said Dave. “I was almost in tears as I thought I was going to lose him.”

A white Maltese terrier walking in a grass field
Maltese Terrier Ralphie suffered extensive injuries that were treated by our skilled Vets Now staff

A major procedure

The highly skilled staff at the clinic swung into action the moment Ralphie arrived.

“Ralphie had extensive wounds around his shoulders and his back,” said vet Raquel Amils-Arnal. “When we operated, we also found a rupture in the abdominal wall. So, it was quite a major procedure involving cleaning, draining, and reconstructing muscle. Happily, Ralphie came through the operation well and we were able to give him ongoing pain relief and monitor his recovery.”

After three days of post-operative care at the clinic, Ralphie was well enough for Dave to collect him and continue the recovery at home.

“He’s made an amazing recovery within a few weeks, and you would hardly know anything had happened to him,” said Dave. “His scars are healing, the fur growing back and I can’t thank Vets Now enough for all the amazing work. The care was absolutely first class.”

All of Vets Now’s premises always have a vet and vet nurse on site.

We also offer an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available. While the service is not suitable for life-threatening emergencies, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns you might have.

If your pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, Vets Now will refund the online consultation fee, so you never pay twice.