When Chance first came into the San Jose Animal Care Center (SJACC), it was evident that his left hind leg was badly injured, reportedly after he was hit by a car. Chance had suffered a degloving injury, which means that the skin was missing from his leg, leaving the bones in that area exposed. To make things worse, the bones in the affected area of Chance’s leg were not attached and connected like they should be. The injury was gruesome, but Chance was otherwise in good health and spirits.
Veterinarians at SJACC made sure Chance was comfortable by giving him pain medications along with antibiotics to fight infection. The vets bandaged and splinted Chance’s leg and changed it daily while waiting for an owner to come to the shelter and claim him. The wet-to-dry bandages also served to clean out the wound from dirt, debris, and dead tissue, allowing fresh tissue to take over.
One morning at the shelter I saw a dog that was written on the vet board for “drinking excessively, needed second water bowl.”
The vet board is a way for shelter staff and volunteers to communicate to the veterinarians that an animal may need medical attention. Drinking excessively is referred to as polydipsia in the veterinary field and can be associated with a plethora of medical issues such as urinary tract infections, pyometra, kidney disease, Cushing’s, Diabetes and more!
Without knowing anything more, these diseases and their manifestations started flowing through my head as I walked to the kennel where the dog was being housed.
As I walked up to meet Atticus, I smiled.
I was so happy to see that the dog that needed a second water bowl was nothing smaller than a Great Dane. His large stature made his kennel seem small and cramped, which was exaggerated by the comparative small stature of the 5-pound chihuahua next door.
Take one look at this 3 year old Poodle mix and you may wonder how we ever decided he was a Poodle mix. His coat was so overcome with mats from not being groomed that he moved as if it was burdensome, perhaps even painful. Yet you could see that with the subtle wag of his tail, he wanted so much to be loved.
You might not be able to see it, but this dog had a large, pendulous mass hanging down over his right eye (it might look like an ear to you). His matted coat obscured much of the mass, but it was sizable and clearly in the way.
Yesterday a vet tech alerted me to the fact that an adult cat had broken through a cage divider and was now in the same cage as a kitten. As I jumped up to address the issue, the tech added, “But now they’re best buddies!”
In disbelief I headed to their kennel to discover that they had, in fact, become fast friends (see video below).
Watch the video, read the story, or, better yet, do both! Either way, this kitten’s story is sure to warm your heart!
I am publishing this post on Father’s Day, as it is dedicated to my father, who gave me the strength to fight for what I believe in and the courage to leave my previous career to pursue the dream that is my life as a shelter vet.
Braveheart’s story is one that I’ve posted from start to finish on Facebook. It is an inspiring story of a 1.7-pound kitten that was brought to the San Jose Animal Care Center by a good samaritan who found him with half of his left front leg missing and a giant bulge in his belly. The good samaritan cleaned him up and took him to our shelter, hoping we would see potential in the kitten despite his small size.
While much of what I write about on this site has a lot to do with the medical care that my team and I are able to provide to the animals within the animal shelter, something that is often overlooked as not being medically related is an animal’s hair or fur.
Many animals that do not have short hair coats are in need of grooming on a regular basis in order to keep their coat healthy and prevent it from becoming matted. You may think that mats are unsightly more than anything else, but you may be surprised to learn that they do have health consequences.
Matted hair can be soaked in urine, feces, or tears, keeping these bodily fluids close to the skin and resulting in a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. What manifests can be a potentially serious skin infection.
Matted hair can also conceal wounds and overgrown nails, the latter of which have the ability to grow in 360˚ circles and straight into and through the paw! Ouch!
For this dog, getting neutered was also an opportunity to get a complete makeover! Check it out…
Before! About to undergo anesthesia, though we weren’t really sure what he looked like underneath all that hair!
I am so excited to finally be able to share this kitten’s story! Maury came to us in late February, and though he had quite a personality, there was something about him that drew our attention and concern – his tail!
Maury sustained a severe wound to his tail that left it mostly degloved (without skin) and severed with a vertebrae exposed at the tip. While he did not share his story with us, the injury he sustained did not dampen his spirit – Maury was a cheerful, playful kitten from the first moment I met him.
We provided Maury with a comfortable kennel with lots of soft bedding and good medication to relieve any pain he might be experiencing while we waited for an owner to come forward to claim this adorable little kitten. Yet no one came.
It’s an awkward problem. It’s also often misunderstood. Many people see a dog with paraphimosis (par′ă-fī-mō′sis) and think the dog is sexually aroused. While any male dog may normally (even without sexual arousal) extend his penis beyond the sheath or prepuce that normally covers his penis, the penis should be able to retract back within the prepuce and out of sight without any difficulty. When that doesn’t happen, we have a problem. Paraphimosis is the term we use when a dog’s penis is unable to fully retract back within the prepuce. The first paraphimosis case I cared for was a chihuahua. His penis was stuck outside of the prepuce, but fortunately it simply appeared dry. Some dogs with paraphimosis may develop swelling, strangulation of the tissue, infection or necrosis. This dog was lucky. Read the rest of this entry