'Shocking' find after 700 grams shaved from dreadlocked dog

Lucas is now recovering after multiple surgeries due to what was found under his coat.

Over 700 grams of “severely matted fur” has been shaved from a tiny dog, prompting a warning to pet owners that failing to groom can be life-threatening.

Pictures show Lucas, a Maltese cross, blanketed in dreadlocks, which "shockingly" were clogged with hundreds of grass seeds. He will not be returned to his owner after being rescued by the RSPCA last month from the Kwinana region, a coastal community 100km south of Perth.

In the weeks that followed, Lucas was forced to undergo multiple surgeries to remove grass seeds. His carers told Yahoo News Australia they had wormed their way into his body, creating abscesses — one had even penetrated his eye.

Left - Lucas covered in dreadlocks. Right - the hair removed from Lucas
Lucas had more than 700 grams of matted fur shaved from his body. Source: RSPCA WA

Without surgery, seeds can become embedded deep in the skin and even cause death.

Video captures the moment Lucas has his dreadlocks shaved

Video supplied by RSPCA shows the remarkable moment Lucas was shaved bare, giving him relief for the first time in months.

How common are dreadlocked dogs?

This case is by no means an isolated occurrence in Australia. In the west, the RSPCA has reported attending to increased numbers of affected dogs, many who have gone for months without grooming.

After attending to a number of separate incidents across the state the charity is considering prosecuting the owners of two Maltese-crosses, two Lhasa Apsos and a toy poodle over alleged animal cruelty.

“It’s not just about looks – when a dog’s fur gets long and matted it can lead to discomfort, pain, restricted movement and eye, ear or skin infections,” RSPCA inspector manager Kylie Green said.

“All dogs require washing and grooming, and ignoring these needs in a high-care breed can quickly become a welfare concern.”

Left - Another dog with matted hair. Right - close up of a dogs paws with long nails.
Authorities are concerned about the high number of dogs being admitted which are desperately in need of grooming. Source: RSPCA WA

What to do if you can’t care for your pet

Lucas has almost recovered and will be listed for adoption very soon, the RSPCA advised.

Ms Green has urged owners to consider whether they can accommodate the grooming needs of long-haired breeds before purchasing them.

She’s urging anyone struggling to care for their pet to reach out to friends, family or the RSPCA. “Please don’t let your pet suffer,” she said.

If you need to report animal cruelty in Western Australia, you can contact the RSPCA on 1300 278 853.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.