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Appeal Archive > Critical Care Appeal

While Bristol Dogs and Cats Home has served the people and animals of Bristol for over a century and is well supported in the community, the services of the RSPCA Bristol Clinic are less widely known.

It is a common misconception that the Clinic is run by the National RSPCA, which is not so. The Clinic, like the animal home is independent from the National charity - governed by the Bristol Branch Trustees, the same group of people that run BDCH. In fact, most RSPCA Branches are separately registered charities like us – working closely with the National Society but operating in our own area and raising our own funds. Therefore we rely on the support of local people to carry out our vital animal welfare activities.

For anyone who has attended one of our Open Day events, you will no doubt have learnt all about our Clinic, but for everyone else, we thought it was time to highlight how lucky we are to have this facility in Bristol.

The Clinic

The largest branch veterinary clinic in the country, we treat thousands of animals every year and aim to ensure that no animal in the Bristol area suffers through lack of veterinary care, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

We have excellent facilities, including our own intensive care unit (ICU), laboratory and x-ray facility, allowing us to offer a wide range of medical, surgical and diagnostic procedures for our animal patients. Our dedicated veterinary team are firmly committed to animal welfare, providing the highest possible standard of care for every animal that passes through our doors.

Many of these are stray, sick and injured animals – a cat badly injured in a road traffic collision (RTC) or an elderly arthritic dog found limping in the street. Although most of our patients are domestic pets, we also provide first aid for wildlife casualties, from badgers and foxes to swans, ducks and hedgehogs.

Not only does the Clinic provide all the veterinary needs for the animals at BDCH, we believe that no pet should suffer because its owner cannot afford veterinary treatment. This is why we also offer low-cost veterinary treatment to pet owners on state benefits and very low incomes.

One of the most difficult yet rewarding parts of our work is caring for an animal that has been rescued from cruelty or neglect by National RSPCA Inspectors. Our vets have also helped the Inspectors gather veterinary evidence for prosecution cases, sometimes acting as witnesses in court.

As with our recent Staffie Neutering Campaign, Clinic staff often join forces with local Inspectors, Council Dog Wardens, Community Officers and other welfare charities such as the Dogs Trust to plan and deliver animal welfare initiatives, usually involving practical animal welfare work in the community.

Case Study - Amy

Amy was a stray cat that had been badly attacked by a dog. She was freezing cold, muddy and bedraggled. Her right hind leg had severe injuries where the dog had savaged her, and she was rapidly going into shock.


Treatment for shock needs to be carried out quickly, as it can be a killer. Warmth and intravenous fluids to support the blood circulation are the main priorities. Amy was put on a drip and nursed in one of our incubators, with an oxygen-enriched atmosphere and heater to warm her up quickly. At this stage she was also given some strong painkillers and antibiotics. Just 24 hours later Amy looked much more comfortable and was out of danger. She was never claimed, but we had no trouble finding her a new family through BDCH.



For animals in need of our care, the life saving equipment we use and require can be expensive and does not last forever. To ensure we can continue to help any animal in need of vital veterinary treatment we are launching our Critical Care Appeal to allow us to purchase essential equipment needed to run this important facility.

Here are some examples of equipment we desperately need:

• Good quality Stethoscopes, especially in need of 2 Paediatric stethoscopes – from £50-70
In constant use. Detects breathing problems but primarily used for listening to the heart. Vital equipment used in ICU and for anaesthetic monitoring - checking the heart rate is good to ensure the animals remains stable throughout its anaesthesia.

• Cat scales – £80
These are also used for rabbits, ferrets and small dogs as more sensitive for small animals. Regular checks for weight loss give early indication of health problems. This is especially the case in older cats as it can indicate diabetes, kidney or thyroid problems.

• 2 Drip Pumps & their kennel mounted stands – £500
Used in ICU to administer fluid through IV drips, ensuring accuracy. Provides energy and salts, vital if the animal is not eating or dehydrated. Especially important when treating shock as in Amy’s case. We can have 4-5 animals on a drip at any one time. It would be very easy to administer too much fluid, especially to small animals, without these pumps. Drip pumps save lives.

• Small Mammal Incubator – £300
Used during anaesthetics for rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, rats etc. Provides a warm, oxygen rich environment, helping reduce the high risk of anaesthesia to small animals. Also used post surgery to aid recovery, this intensive approach offers safer anaesthetic, safer recovery. The Clinic provides neutering services to Cotton Tails (an independent small animals rescue centre) so incubators are vital as we can neuter as many as 10-14 rabbits and guinea pigs in one morning. Incubators are also used to aid recovery in ill or injured small animals, such as a baby rabbit that spent the night in the cold after it was ‘stolen’ from its mother by a neighbour’s cat.

• Blood Pressure Monitor – from £800-1,200
This does exactly what it says on the tin. Used extensively for cats, especially older cats. Kidney disease and other conditions common in older cats create high blood pressure. Therefore monitoring their BP will provide the early detection of diseases.

Critical Care Appeal

By supporting this appeal you can help provide these animals with the care they desperately need, today and in the future. Your donation, no matter how big or small, will help us give these animals the greatest chance for a longer, healthier and happier life.

Please consider making a donation today. You can do this by completing a donation form, text CARE26 followed by the amount you wish to donate (ie CARE26 £10) to 70070, calling us on 0117 3003968 or you can make a secure online donation at

You can also join our Healthy Paws & Claws scheme – providing a regular gift which will help us provide for these animals for years to come. Please visit our website for more information.

Please, support our Critical Care Appeal today and help provide healing hands to poorly paws.

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