Stray dog with swollen head as collar embeds into skin makes epic transformation

A stray dog left with a swollen head twice its size has been rescued and has since made an incredible transformation.

The poor mutt was spotted dragging his head while wandering the streets of Baitang, southeast China's Fujian province on December 5.

Local residents believed the dog was injured and called Putian City Animal Protection Association who later sent volunteers to capture the canine for inspections.

Volunteers named the pooch Datou, meaning Big Head, because of his worrying condition.

Footage shared to the animal shelter's Douyin account shows Datou resting by a wooden footbridge.

He struggles to keep his eyes open and holds his head up due to the extreme swelling in the head.

When rescuers capture the dog, they find a red collar strapped to his neck so tight that it has embedded into the flesh.

A volunteer gently holds onto Datou's head and removes the string-like collar in the hopes of relieving the pain.

Huang Qian, director of Putian City Animal Protection Association, exclusively told Daily Star: "We believe Datou became a stray at a young age, but we are not certain if he was abandoned or went missing from his owner's house.

"The collar was strapped to the tightest and it remained stuck at the same slot as he grew before it slowly embedded into his neck."

She said the rescue team took Datou to the nearby Aibao Animal Hospital where the veterinarians treated the wound.

But his condition left the vets and rescuers worried. They couldn't place a dog cone on him as the wound was right on the neck.

"The vets also found a blood clot in Datou's brain," Qian added.

"They gave him anti-inflammatory injections to reduce pain and discomfort before letting the swelling heal on its own."

In a follow-up video, hospital staff shave Datou's fur around the neck and clean his wound in the treatment room.

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The doctor told Qian that the healing process would be lengthy because they couldn't put any dressing on the wound and Datou continued to lick it from time to time.

Miraculously, two weeks later, Datou has shown his first sign of progress. The swelling has gone down and his head seems to have reduced to a normal size in the latest clip.

The incredible pooch is seen happily wagging his tail while chowing down a meal.

Datou's story has been widely shared on Chinese social media and Qian is now hoping to find a new home for him.

She continued: "We are hoping to send him to our shelter after the treatment so that we can start looking for a new owner for him.

"We have received more than 100 applications asking to adopt Datou but the successful candidate will have to be based in Putian city so that our volunteers can visit Datou for checkups in the future.

"I was shocked by the number of people sending in their applications given we don't have a large following on Douyin.

"And we didn't expect Datou's story to have such a huge impact but since then, a lot of animal lovers started following our accounts and asked about his updates."

Qian and her volunteers at Putian City Animal Protection Association are trying to encourage the city to adopt a pet policy to end animal homelessness.

"We want to see a decrease in the number of stray animals one day," she adds.

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