A rescue dog has racked up £10,000 of vet bills because of a rare condition which means he can’t stop biting his own PAWS.
Adorable Cocker Spaniel George suffers from Acral Mutilation Syndrome which causes him to self-harm.
The three-year-old pooch can’t be left alone in the day and has to sleep in a cone collar to stop him gnawing on his legs.
George’s condition is so bad that he frequently draws blood and has already had to have a toe removed after nibbling it down to the bone.
The loveable dog’s permanent foster mum Laura Herbert, 33, has been forced to give up her full-time job in construction management to work at a dog-friendly pub.
Laura, who lives in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., said: “He came to me temporarily for two weeks.
“At the time I’d just been made redundant and had plenty of time to spare.
“I then got a full-time job but he has so many health problems, including the self-harm syndrome, I couldn’t keep doing it. I now work part-time as a barmaid.
“People think I’m mad but he’s such a lovely natured, adorable dog you just can’t help yourself wanting to care for him.
“Despite it all he is a happy dog.”
George first started showing signs of suffering from Acral Mutilation Syndrome as a puppy.
The rare genetic disorder leaves dogs with no sensation in their toes or legs meaning they often bite or gnaw them.
Charity Cocker and English Springer Spaniel Rescue (CAESSR) help Laura by paying for his vet bills, which have cost £10,000, and his £60-a-month food.
Laura added: “George has just come out of surgery because a toe he had badly chewed had to come off.
“We’ve started to call him an emotional terrorist because just when you think he’s in his last few days he just bounces back.
“All his treatment has cost CAESSR many thousands of pounds and he even has to have special food which is another £60-a-month, so the donation is very welcome.”
CAESSR, which was set up in 2010, has now received an £800 donation from Willows Veterinary Group in Northwich, Cheshire., to help with George’s treatment.
Founder Di Harrison said: “George came to us in March 2015 as a 10-month-old show type cocker.
“He was chewing his hind paws and drawing blood even when his owners were in the home.
“He had almost eaten away part of one of his toes.
“It was thought he was suffering pins and needles in his feet owing to a slight deformity on his spine. The chewing then became a habit.
“In over 30 years of looking after animals I’ve never seen anything like this before.
“At first we thought it was due to stress but we then suspected that it might be Acral Mutilation Syndrome which was later confirmed when samples were sent to a laboratory in France.
“Apart from the self-harm he’s also had lots of other health problems but he’s a real fighter and has come through everything so far.
“He’s such a lovely and friendly dog we wanted to persevere with his treatment.”
Richard Nolan, a senior small vet at Manor Court Veterinary Centre which is owned by the Willows Group, nominated George for the donation at his Christmas party.
He said: “Although I’ve never treated him myself, I’ve heard George’s story.
“It’s a very unusual case as Acral Mutilation Syndrome is a vicious circle which starts with itching and ends up with an animal chewing its own extremities.
“I’m aware that the treatment George has been having is very expensive so I’m hoping that our donation will make some contribution towards that.”