Spud – Dog With Spinal Injury After Hit By Car Traced To Owner Within Hours

While no two animal shelters are alike, they often involve a lot of teamwork. A huge component at one of the animal shelters I work for is the role of Animal Control Officers, or ACOs, as they are often called. ACOs have many roles, one of which involves responding to calls from the public regarding animal related issues such as bites, loose animals and animals that have been hit by a car (otherwise known as “HBC”) to name a few.

One morning an officer responded to a call from a person who was bit after trying to help a HBC dog. The officer completed a bite report at the scene and brought the dog in to the shelter for immediate veterinary evaluation.

When “Spud” arrived at the shelter, he was evaluated and found to have suffered an injury to his spinal cord as he was completely unable to use his back legs and didn’t show any signs of sensing pain in those legs either. He was in a tremendous amount of pain but was otherwise stable from our evaluation. We offered Spud relief from his pain with a medication while we discussed what to do.

Normally with a stray, unowned animal that is so severely injured with a poor to grave prognosis for recovery, the most humane and compassionate thing to do is to relieve the animal’s suffering in the form of humane euthanasia. However, each case is unique and has factors that must be considered before such a decision can be made.

And such was the case for Spud.

Spud came in to the shelter with identification tags on his collar. While they did not directly provide contact information for the owner, we were able to use license / rabies tags to find contact information for a potential owner. Within minutes of giving the dog a medication for pain, the ACO was en route to the address that the license was linked to. Unfortunately the individual at that address was the former owner of the dog, but had given the dog to a family member who they were able to get in contact with to explain the situation to.

Within no time, despite language barriers, the owner of the dog was informed of the gravity of their dog’s situation and the owner made the decision to have Spud euthanized. Not long after that, we were able to carry out the owner’s wishes and permanently relieve that animal’s pain.

In the end, what happened to Spud is quite unfortunate. However, I am grateful that my colleagues and I were able to work as a team to ensure that Spud received prompt care and pain relief.

Ultimately, I am most grateful that we, as a team, were able to bring Spud’s story full circle by making such speedy contact with Spud’s owner and having it be the owner’s decision to euthanize Spud. This doesn’t always happen for the sole reason that most animals don’t have tags or microchips or the tags/chip isn’t up to date with the current contact information.

Take home message: keep ID tags on your pets with up to date information, microchip your pets in case your pet loses its collar, and most importantly, keep the microchip registered and up to date with contact information whenever you change addresses or phone numbers.

Posted on February 13, 2014, in Shelter Vet Tails and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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