ADVANCED surgical techniques have led to a glut of amputee dogs abandoned by their owners, a pet charity warned yesterday.
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) says it is looking for good homes for three-legged dogs which have been thrown on to the streets by their owners.
Anna O'Donnell, assistant manager of the SSPCA's dog and cat home in Cardonald, Glasgow, said accidents and injuries which would previously have killed animals or meant they were put to sleep are now survivable thanks to better veterinary techniques.
Although most dogs and cats can manage well despite losing a leg, some owners get rid of them.
Ms O'Donnell said the Cardonald home was looking after a trio of three-legged dogs.
On Wednesday, a young mongrel bitch called Keisha was dumped in the reception area of the dog and cat home by a man who claimed the animal's owners could no longer look after her. Staff said he fled when asked to get the owners to fill in a form to allow the dog to be put up for adoption.
Ms O'Donnell added: "The surgery on her leg was only done about six weeks ago. She has gone through all this surgery and now ended up being abandoned."
Ms O'Donnell added that another of the three-legged homeless canines, also a mongrel, was found wandering on the railway line behind the SSPCA home.
She said: "We think someone might have have dumped it on the line. It could have been killed."
Cardonald is also home to a year-old Dobermann bitch, Kim, who has also lost a leg.
The SSPCA is bracing itself for an Easter rush of abandoned animals as owners who bought pets for Christmas dump them for the spring holiday season.
The charity wants to rehouse as many as possible of their current dog guests to make room for new arrivals.
Ms O'Donnell said: "At one time, three-legged dogs used to get the sympathy vote and we'd rehome them pretty quickly.
"But now - through advances in surgery, better anaesthetics and better infection control - there are so many of them surviving when once they'd have been put to sleep. We struggle to re-home them."
She added: "The tragedy is that a dog will manage absolutely fine on three legs."
Dr Brendan Corcoran, of Edinburgh University's Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies' Hospital for Small Animals, confirmed that surgery for animals had improved massively over the past few years.
Dr Corcoran added: "It's night and day compared to ten or 15 years ago and the advancement in surgical techniques, pain management and post-operative survival rates is very close to what you would expect in human medicine.
"The quality of life of dogs which have gone through surgery has also increased greatly."