Three badly-burned stray dogs found in rural central Alberta should recover from their wounds.

The dogs' burns, caused by heat or a chemical, are so severe, all in need immediate surgery.

Veterinarian Dave Fowler, director of the Guardian Vet Centre in Edmonton, calls the injuries "extremely cruel " and "horrible."

Vet surgeon Colin Sereda said the injuries look like the result of a deliberate act.

"Their pattern — or their distribution — makes it look as though they are a chemical burn or some sort of a flammable liquid, or something along those lines.

"The appearance of the wounds are quite dramatic and they are big wounds, big burns, but these guys are doing very well," he said.

The wounds seem to be two weeks old, Sereda said.

The dogs, found by a good Samaritan, were brought to the clinic Wednesday morning from an undisclosed location between Edmonton and Calgary.

At least two other dogs with similar burns have been found and are being treated in Calgary.

The Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, which brought the dogs to the vet clinic, says there may be more similarly injured dogs in the same area.

Alison Foxford, with SCARS, said she can't identify the community where the dogs were found because it might jeopardize the group's relationship with the community.

The Alberta SPCA has been notified and the RCMP are aware of the case, she said.

The dogs are females, about a year old and are well socialized, Sereda said. 

The vet clinic will cover the cost of some of the surgeries.

Once they're healthy enough, SCARS will be looking to find them adoptive families.

With files from CBC's Silvana Benolich