Vet firm helping to treat poisoned swans

Two of the swans that were treated at Robson and Prescott in Morpeth. Picture by Helen Kane.
Two of the swans that were treated at Robson and Prescott in Morpeth. Picture by Helen Kane.

A Morpeth veterinary practice is assisting with efforts to restore a group of poisoned animals back to good health.

More than 30 swans have been found either dead or very sick on the River Wear in Chester-le-Street since 2015 began.

Post-mortem examinations on the dead birds revealed that there were high levels of lead in their systems.

Most of the ones still alive have gone to local vets, but others have been sent for treatment at Robson and Prescott’s state-of-the-art facilities in Whorral Bank, Morpeth.

It initially dealt with three of the swans and they have all improved. They are now continuing their recovery at a bird sanctuary in Berwick.

Two more arrived last week and they are currently undergoing the same treatment programme.

Head veterinary nurse at Robson and Prescott, Laura Petts, said: “The swans came in with muscle weakness and they were put on a course of intravenous fluids. They also received specific medication to treat signs of poisoning and blood samples were taken.

“We make sure they take on the right amount of food and water to aid their recovery.

“The three that arrived first responded well and the next stage was some physiotherapy to get their limbs moving again and improve their muscle strength.

“They are now at the bird sanctuary and hopefully, they will make a full recovery.

“Our vets, nurses and hydrotherapist have been looking after the swans in one way or another, so it is certainly a big team effort.”

RSPCA chief inspector Michelle Charlton said that the charity is working with the vets, The Swan Trust, the Environment Agency and the police on this matter.

She added: “We are very concerned about the death of the swans on the River Wear in Chester-le-Street.

“The results of tests being carried out on the birds seem to be showing high levels of lead, although we don’t know if this is the cause of death or where the lead is coming from at the moment.

“The public can help us by being vigilant in river areas and contacting us if they come across anything that they think might be being dumped into the water.”