A sight for sore eyes

18 Apr

I found this article in today’s Herald Sun about the shar pei bread’s need for plastic surgery in order to save their site. It is with some sadness that I note that irresponsible owners often “dump” these dogs when they realise the large medical expense for the required surgery. On the other hand, there are dog lovers, such as Amanda Booth, who have dedicated their time and energy to help save these abandoned pooches. Dashing Hound salutes you!

A sight for sore eyes

Kelly Ryan

ROLY poly designer dogs are undergoing radical facelifts to remove their deliberately bred folds of floppy flesh.

Almost all shar pei bred in Australia are forced to have plastic surgery to save their sight.

More than eight out of 10 of the distinctive dogs suffers eye deformities that require going under the knife for a nip and tuck.

But owners who pay up to $2500 for one of the designer pups are instead dumping the animals at alarming rates when they discover they have to fork out another $2000 for their pet to have the saggy skin tightened around their eyes.

While other animal breeds suffer genetic conditions needing surgical correction, none is beset with the high rate of eye disorders that afflict the shar pei.

Retired Melbourne grandmother Amanda Booth is using her life savings to pay $15,000 a year to rescue and re-home as many of the dumped dogs as possible.

President of the Shar Pei Rescue Inc group which she established three years ago, Ms Booth said hundreds more dogs were put down and she blamed greedy breeders.

Amanda Booths "Rumple" checks herself out in the vanity mirror after surgery. Picture: Ben Swinnerton Source: Herald Sun

“Some breeders are simply failing in their duty to warn prospective owners of some of the veterinary and personality problems associated with the ancient Chinese breed,” Ms Booth said.

Vet Scot Plummer from the South Eastern Animal Hospital said heavy skin on their head forces a shar pei’s eyelids to turn in, causing their eyelashes to scratch their cornea, leading to blindness.

He performs 50 entropion surgical procedures on the rescued dogs in which he cuts skin from the eyes to give a dog the appearance of having had a nip and tuck.

Ms Booth wants new laws to try to breed out dogs whose litters require entropion surgery.

Queensland sister and brother Rumple and Stiltskin underwent the surgery last week after being surrendered at 16 months.

They are recovering with Ms Booth until they are adopted.

Readers can donate to the cause or adopt a shar pei at http://www.sharpeirescue.com.au

ryankel@heraldsun.com.au

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/a-sight-for-sore-eyes/story-fn6bfkm6-1226040605410

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