A woman had to put down her beloved four dogs because a rescue she was fostering exposed them to an extremely rare disease.
Wendy Hayes, 61, decided to take in Moosha, believed to be a German Shepherd cross, from a rescue company which helps strays from Ukraine and Belarus, but later contracted the illness herself.
A pregnant Moosha arrived at Wendy’s home in Stoke-on-Trent on March 20 and had started aborting her puppies within three days.
It appears the animal had Brucella canis, a bacterial disease which often causes mass abortions in dogs and perhaps even rabies.
Wendy said: ‘It was pretty horrific. [Moosha] was literally walking around the house dropping her puppies, there was blood all over the house.’
The grandma tried to save the puppies and ended up coming into contact with Moosha’s blood and birthing fluids.
This is how Wendy believes she became the first-ever person in the UK to contract the illness.
Wendy’s local trading standards office suspected Moosha may have had rabies so they sent Wendy a 21-day ‘stay at home’ notice.
It was only after Moosha was allowed to leave the house on May 13 that Wendy noticed she was not feeling well.
She had a fever, chills, shivers, bad shakes, severe headaches, severe back ache and low blood pressure.
Wendy went to her GP and ended up being taken to the infectious disease ward at Stoke hospital, where doctors realised she had Brucella canis.
Already immune-compromised, Wendy had to be kept in hospital for more than two weeks.
Even after she was discharged, nurses had to come and administer five lots of antibiotics for two and a half weeks.
Tragically, it turned out that Wendy’s 13-year-old Jack Russel Benson, her 11-year-old Patterdale cross Douggie and her nine-year-old dog Max had all contracted the disease as well.
Tiny, a four-year-old pug, did not test positive but she had been in contact and was considered a high risk.
All four of them had to be put down.
Wendy is angry with the rescue company and the Government for ‘letting it happen and not testing’.
It is not a legal requirement for dogs to be screened for Brucella canis before coming into the UK.
Public Health England last year highlighted that dog importers should have the option to voluntarily screen dogs coming from countries where the disease is endemic.