We soon discovered that the sweet shih-tzu was suffering with a painful condition called sarcoptic mange, which is highly contagious between dogs and, rarely, spread by urban foxes.
Left untreated, her skin was red raw and inflamed, with bleeding sores – and she had chewed away much of her fur trying to relieve the discomfort.
She was also riddled with fleas, making her even more itchy and frustrated.
We were shocked when Elsa arrived in our care. Her condition was so severe that she had almost no fur left on her body.
Vets quickly put Elsa, who had just had her second litter of puppies, on daily antibiotics and steroids, alongside soothing, medicated baths.
With such specialist care needed, it was important that Elsa went into foster care – and Animal Welfare Officer, Susie Winship, stepped up to the mark.
She was a mess. Her skin was red raw, bleeding, oozing, crusty and she was covered in fat, live fleas.
Thankfully, though, it wasn’t long before she started to improve with treatment and Susie’s TLC. Her fur began to grow back, and we saw her chirpy, happy soul emerge from sadness and pain.
But a further setback came when we discovered Elsa was struggling to walk due to issues with her hind legs.
However, it wasn’t until she was put under general anaesthetic to be neutered that the vet was able to give her a complete assessment and X-rays.
The tests revealed that Elsa’s hip joints were floating out of their sockets and cruciate injuries in both back legs.
But, following lots of assessments, vets decided to spare Elsa the trauma of invasive surgery as the issues were not causing her any pain.
It was therefore in Elsa’s best interests to rehome her just as she was, with support given to her new owners on how to manage and continue to treat her condition.
Elsa has now been in foster with Susie for more than 200 days while the team search for the perfect, understanding home for this adorable girl.
“Elsa has pretty much torn up the rule book so far, but she really is an awesome little dog and is going to make someone the best companion. She’s got such a personality, she’s absolutely hilarious."
Susie Winship, Animal Welfare Officer