Bears, yes! String, no!
Who would have thought that a little piece of string could bring Indy down? After all, he is strong and tough, bred and trained to face down a bear in the wild! But any puppy’s curiosity can get the better of him, right? And that string looks like it could be tasty…
Indy is a nine-month-old Karelian Bear Dog (KBD) working under the guidance of Wildlife Officer Dave Jones. Indy’s job is to help resolve bear-human conflicts and reduce the number of problem bears that need to be euthanized. Not only was it imperative to get Indy healthy and back to work as a valuable asset of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife – he also had a very worried family waiting for him at home.
Indy began vomiting and acting lethargic on July 9th and was taken to his family veterinarian for care. The diagnosis of a gastrointestinal foreign body was made and appropriate treatment was begun. However, after a few days, Indy began declining further and the vet recommended that Officer Jones seek specialty care from Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle (ASCS) and Animal Medical Center of Seattle (AMCS). ASCS and AMCS work side-by-side in the same hospital to provide collaborative care in emergency medicine, surgery, critical care, oncology, internal medicine and physical rehabilitation.
Upon arrival to our hospital, Indy was triaged by AMCS Dr. Megan Seekins. She quickly consulted on Indy’s case with Dr. Russell Bennett, one of four boarded surgeons at ASCS. Dr. Bennett is highly experienced in performing this type of surgery, but even he was surprised at the extent of Indy’s gastrointestinal dilemma. The string (aka linear foreign body) had stretched out along a significant length of his intestine, wearing multiple holes through it and allowing fecal matter and bacteria to spill out into his abdominal cavity. Dr. Bennett removed three feet of damaged intestine, washed out Indy’s abdomen and placed a specialized wound drain to remove excess fluids that could accumulate after surgery.
While Indy remained fairly stable throughout the procedure, he still had multiple systemic issues that needed careful post-op management and intensive care by the AMCS team. Dr. Ronald Walton (boarded specialist in critical care and internal medicine), ER docs LizAnne Bowman and Shane Turner, and a large number of caring technicians and assistants carefully and compassionately managed his care throughout his hospitalization. Indy received intravenous pain meds and antibiotics, as well as two plasma transfusions, electrolytes and intravenous nutritive supplements.
On the sixth day of his hospitalization, when Officer Jones and his family came for a visit, they learned that Indy was ready to go home! Officer Jones’ wife burst into tears, so relieved and happy to hear that news! We are pleased to report that Indy has now made a full recovery, and is back to doing the work he loves.
The KBD program at Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WSDFW) began as a pilot program with one dog in 2003, and the program has grown to the current roster of six dogs. Due to huge budget shortfalls within the agency, the Karelian Bear Dogs are funded solely through private outside sources. These monies are handled and maintained in a separate account specifically for the care, upkeep and training of the KBDs. If enough funds are generated, the agency hopes to expand their program throughout the state to assist and help officers in each of their six Regions.
Note: The Karelian Bear Dog (KBD) Program at Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is funded solely through private outside sources, and monies are handled and maintained in a separate account specifically for the care, upkeep and training of the KBDs. If enough funds are generated, the agency hopes to expand their program throughout the state to assist officers in each of their six Regions. If you would like to make a donation to this excellent program, please visit their website for more information.
(All photos courtesy of the Karelian Bear Dog Program)
Posted August 12, 2015 by ASCS in Patient Heroes with No Comments and tagged as Karelian Bear Dog, Karelian Bear Dog Program, KBD, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
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