Let me guess…dog fight?

When you have an island full of dogs and many living outdoors or running loose it is inevitable that you will have disagreements.  There are some days that I think I should change the degree following my name from DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) to DFD (Dog Fight Doctor).  It flows nicely, doesn’t it?



San Mateo is an area where many people are struggling.  It is essentially a community built on marsh land. There are also many dogs.  One quiet Saturday morning a lady walked up to the shelter.  She had walked over a mile from her home in San Mateo to ask for help.  Her dog Chita had been bitten about 24 hours previous and she had no way to transport her to us.  We immediately sent kennel staff member Noemy (a woman of many talents) with a crate and the golf cart to check it out.  This rescue mission also required a canoe!

Noemy, the owner, and the dog.


Noemy returned with the dog right at noon closing.  Although I was expecting a bite wound on her face, what I saw literally made my jaw drop.  I was hard pressed to recall many other wounds so shocking.  She walked in under her own power.

After clipping and cleaning the area I packed it with gauze and antiobiotic, started her on antibiotics and pain medications, then came back Sunday to see what I could do.  Although I did not think she had a right eye, on further exploration she did, but it was punctured and no longer functioning.

Chita’s bite wound before and after surgery.

Chita stayed with us during her recovery.  Her owner could not afford to pay for her surgery or care and so in exchange she allowed us to spay Chita and some of her other dogs (also at no cost).  Once healed she was returned to her owner, short one eye, but happy.

Ready to go!


Pit Bull

This senior female pit bull came in on emergency late one night after fighting with the other dog in the home.  She had multiple wounds over her front end and belly.  She was in a lot of pain.  We spent hours flushing and suturing.

Looking cheery and matching at midnight with Ingrid (my tech).

Unfortunately due to her size, her injuries, and the circumstances, this super friendly girl was having a heat stroke at 110 F (43C) when I returned in the morning.  The only room in the shelter with a/c is the actual clinic room.  I pulled her into this tiny area and started actively cooling her and running bags of IV fluids.  She was near comatose for most of the morning.  I went home at lunch truly convinced and saddened that she would die.  I kept her at my side the entire day, through all of my other exams and procedures.  By evening she was waking up.  I feared that her organs would not function and that her guts would slough.  I let her stay in the clinic with a/c for 2 days and overnight.  We pulled out all the stops (well, all the ones we have here).  Low and behold….a happy ending.  She was even willing to show a little gratitude.

Ready to go home.

This dog was already spayed, the dog that bit her was neutered the next day.  Remember that spay/neuter can greatly decrease the incidence of dog fights!


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