Please don’t ignore ligature wounds

A voluntary charity is asking members of the public not to ignore ligature wounds after being called to a deer at 9.30pm last night (Wednesday 22nd July) at West Hoathly which had originally been found and cut free on Sunday (19th July).

"We were called out at 9.30pm to a baby fallow deer about 3 weeks old. The caller had rescued to the deer caught in stock fencing on Sunday and only found our details via the internet last night" said Trevor Weeks Rescue Co-ordinator, East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS).

"The baby deer unfortunately had suffered a ligature wound to its left rear leg as a result. The finder took the deer home and created a home for it in a stable hoping they would be able to release it. The deer unfortunately had not been seen by a vet." added Trevor.

WRAS decided to rush to the deer as an emergency.

It is a common mistake for people who find wild animals caught in fencing or snares to just cut them free and release them but if left untreated this can cause a slow and painful death. A ligature wound is one which applies pressure on the skin, in severe cases where casualties have been caught for a long time the wire or line can cut into the skin where a visible wound can be seen, but in most situations where animals have not been caught for long you will see very little evidence of a ligature wound but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

Ligature wounds can cause the blood flow to stop and the surface layers of skin start to die off. As the skin thickens pressure is also applied to the veins and arteries and as a result toxins can build up and infection can set in.

The foot of this deer was badly infected and blown up like a balloon as a result. We gave the deer emergency medication last night and the deer was rushed up to a specialist vets at St Tiggywinkles in Buckinghamshire this morning. Unfortunately the deer will loose its leg which may have been saveable if we had been called on Sunday.

"We do not blame the finder in anyway for this incident as we are well aware of the misunderstandings about animal injuries and who is willing to help wildlife casualties. All good animal caring vets are more than happy to help wildlife casualties where they can, and organisations like East Sussex WRAS will always help where they can. Voluntary groups like WRAS are suffering as a result of the recession however and are struggling to cope with the workload and lack of funds" said Trevor.

This fallow deer will need its rear left leg amputated and then should be releasable, but only into a domesticated herd of deer.

If anyone find a wildlife casualty caught in a snare or fencing they should call a rescue organisation for help as soon as possible and not cut it free, this should only be done once help arrives.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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