An elderly dog receives an extreme, life-saving makeover!
On January 13, 2016, Animal Services Officers responded to a call for help from the San Jose Police Department. In the pouring rain, the police had just chased off two large dogs that were viciously attacking a little dog named Mr. Snuggles. Mr. Snuggles was seriously injured in the attack, yet despite being hurt so badly, he was still trying to drag himself off to safety.
Upon their arrival, the Animal Services Officers picked up Mr. Snuggles in a big comfy blanket and brought him to the San Jose Animal Shelter’s veterinary clinic. He was a pitiful sight. Soaking wet and covered in dirt & debris, the veterinary team placed Mr. Snuggles on a heating pad and began examining and treating him for his injuries.
Amongst the variety of injuries Mr. Snuggles incurred, specific ones included:
- A traumatic abdominal hernia – the force of the two large dogs attacking disrupted the muscles of Mr. Snuggles’ abdomen and tore them apart, allowing his intestines to protrude and be felt beneath the skin.
- An avulsed upper canine tooth.
- Severe contusions along the abdomen and left hind leg.
- No pulse, feeling or movement in the left hind leg.
- Asymmetrical pupil sizes.
The veterinary medical team immediately stabilized Mr. Snuggles and began managing his pain. X-rays were taken of his abdomen, which verified the traumatic abdominal hernia. Traumatic abdominal hernias are often associated with internal organ damage, and because we know there were dogs biting Mr. Snuggles, we started him on antibiotics to fight infection and prevent him from becoming septic from the bite wounds.
While the veterinary team worked hard to treat Mr. Snuggles for his injuries, the Animal Services Officers worked hard to trace his microchip back to his owner. The phone number associated with the microchip was no longer in service, but there was a nearby address associated with the microchip. The Officers headed over to the address and were able to make contact with a family member of the owner.
A few hours later, Mr. Snuggles’ owner called the shelter and was clearly choked up by the horrible news. The veterinarian spoke to the owner about Mr. Snuggles’ condition as well as the extent of his injuries and that he would need surgery. It was heartbreaking news to relay to Mr. Snuggles’ owner.
Although his owner clearly loved and cared for Mr. Snuggles, she was not able to afford the veterinary care that Mr. Snuggles would need. It was explained to her that if she signed Mr. Snuggles over to the shelter, the veterinary team would do everything they could to save Mr. Snuggles, but that he was not guaranteed to survive. His owner ultimately signed a euthanasia authorization form that transferred ownership of Mr. Snuggles to the shelter and gave it permission to euthanize Mr. Snuggles in the event that his injuries were determined to be too severe or so as to prevent Mr. Snuggles from suffering.
Mr. Snuggles remained stable overnight. In the morning, we prepared him for a surgical exploration of his wounds to determine the extent of the damage. If there was too much internal damage, the team was prepared to euthanize Mr. Snuggles on the surgery table without waking him up from anesthesia.
In preparing Mr. Snuggles for surgery, we shaved his belly and noted evidence of bite marks within the severe bruising that extended the length of his abdomen and down his left hind leg from where the large dogs attacked him.
We removed the canine tooth that had been ripped out of its socket as well as the two teeth behind it that were also compromised from the trauma.
We moved on to the operating room. During the surgical exploration of Mr. Snuggles, the team noticed a partial puncture through an intestine, which was repaired.
The vessels that extended down to Mr. Snuggles’ left hind leg appeared to have been damaged, though not completely severed by the trauma. There was no pulse in the vessels that went down the leg. No pulse meant no blood flow, and without blood flow, the leg would eventually die and require amputation.
Mr. Snuggles abdominal hernia was enormous. The muscles were severely compromised, which made the endeavor of closing the hernia a serious challenge. Ultimately, however, it was successful.
After surgery, the team took another set of x-rays to verify the hernia was repaired as well as to verify that there were no fractures to the pelvis that had not previously been noted.
Fortunately, everything looked good, and Mr. Snuggles was off to the recovery bed where he also received a haircut to free him of the dirt, debris and mats!
Mr. Snuggles certainly went through a lot for one day, and it was also an emotional day for the veterinary team. We knew that Mr. Snuggles still had dental disease that needed to be addressed. We also knew that without a pulse in his hind leg, it would need to be amputated. We decided to let Mr. Snuggles continue to heal over the weekend and considered an amputation the following week as long as he was still recovering well.
Over the weekend, Mr. Snuggles received some well-needed rest. He was also given intense care to help manage his pain and keep him healthy as his immune system worked overtime to help him heal.
When we evaluated Mr. Snuggles upon returning from the weekend, we were shocked and amazed to find that the hind leg which had previously been cold to the touch and lacked a pulse was now, in fact, warm to the touch. There was definitely blood flow in the leg, which meant our plans to amputate the leg were postponed. We suspect that the trauma of the attack resulted in a blood clot in the blood vessel that supplied the leg; over time the clot dissipated and blood flow was restored to the leg.
We also noted that his bruising had gone down tremendously!
Within a few days, we witnessed Mr. Snuggles standing all by himself, using his previously cold and limp left hind leg to support his weight. With such progress, we decided to cancel his amputation and seek a rescue or special adopter to support Mr. Snuggles’ recovery.
Mr. Snuggles has made incredible progress, and he has shown all of us what a fantastic fighter he is! On January 27, 2016, he was taken by Wonder Dog Rescue to complete his recovery and find a forever home!
“Mr Snuggles [is] settling into his foster home. We have two pugs and a handicapped Boston. He accepted us and our dogs pretty quickly. His favorite evening activity, sleeping on the couch with his people. He’s discovered toys, loves his walks, looks out the window when he rides in the car, and doesn’t have any trouble jumping up on the couch or the bed. He’s a pretty happy fella.”
Mr Snuggles’ story has been shared throughout the world. Check out the attention he’s gotten!
Mr. Snuggles has found his forever family!!!