Dundee hospital sees average of 61 pets a day
A CHARITY which runs a Dundee pet hospital is celebrating its 100th birthday.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) was formed by animal welfare pioneer Maria Dickin in London in 1917 and has been treating animals in Dundee since 1939.
Having first opened in the East End of London, the charity now operates hospitals throughout the UK — including the PetAid Hospital in Hawkhill.
The Dundee service costs more than £678,000 a year to run and the charity relies entirely on public donations.
Andy Cage, senior vet at the PetAid Hospital in Dundee, said: “The story of the PDSA is a truly remarkable journey from such humble beginnings during the First World War.
“What emerged from one woman’s attempts to alleviate animal suffering has blossomed into the UK’s leading vet charity.
“Over the last century, we have provided an astonishing 100 million treatments to 20 million pets.
“Today, we look after pets across the country and play a lead role in pet wellbeing, not only through treating the sick and injured but through prevention and education.
“It costs £60 million to deliver our veterinary services alone and, with no Government funding, we rely entirely on the goodwill of our supporters.
“So I’d appeal to anyone who believes in the PDSA to visit our website and pledge their support — I firmly believe it’s the best way there is to support pet wellbeing.”
The PDSA’s first presence in Dundee was at 212 Overgate. The premises closed during the Second World War before reopening in 1946.
During 1957, the charity had to find alternative accommodation due to a redevelopment scheme in the area and premises were found at 40 Tay Street.
By 1971, the premises were modernised and saw the opening of the animal treatment centre — the first of its kind in Scotland.
Andy (pictured), who has spent 37 years as a vet at the Dundee service, has faced more than his fair share of unusual emergencies.
“We once had a stripper come in to get help for her constipated snake,” he said.
“We tried all sorts of ways to make it go to the toilet and somehow we managed it.
“There have also been a lot of cases of stick insects being stuck to sticky tape and we’ve had real problems trying to get the insects free without ripping legs off. “We’ve stopped taking in reptiles like snakes and iguanas. “We felt as though we were aiding and abetting people who clearly knew nothing about the animals. “We used to have a small range of drugs and used very outdated anaesthetic but that’s all changed now.” Today, the Dundee hospital provides more than 28,000 treatments every year and sees about 61 pets on an average day. But Andy believes that a lot of people are still unaware of the service that it offers. He said: “We had a doors open day recently when about 350 people turned up but most of them didn’t know what we did. “We’re making an effort in our centenary year to tell people about the range of services we offer, depending on people’s eligibility.” The PDSA, which turns 100 on Friday, now operates 48 hospitals across the UK, supported by a national chain of 130 shops.