Due to COVID-19, many shelters have been forced to close their doors completely, leaving broken or critically-ill animals without many options. As one of the few shelters still fully operating, the APA! Medical Triage and Wellness Center is working at full speed to prioritize urgent medical cases that come through our doors. Because of our medical staff’s dedication to saving the most vulnerable of us, pets like Martin, Jamie, and Willow have been given the urgent medical care needed to survive.
Martin was barely six weeks old when a car ran over him in Lockhart and drove away. Needless to say, Martin was in bad shape. A good samaritan witnessed the situation from afar and came to Martin's rescue. He scooped Martin up and rushed him to the nearest shelter. Unfortunately their local shelter was unable to treat Martin with injuries as severe as his, so they made one final attempt to save his life – they phoned APA!. The Lockhart shelter looked to APA! to take in this emergency case and get this pup the care he desperately needed.
The clinic staff at APA!'s Medical Triage and Wellness Clinic got to work on Martin as soon as he arrived. The samaritan who found Martin said the pup couldn't use his back legs, and everyone feared spinal trauma. To add to that, Martin was infested with fleas and in severe shock.
While the vets explored the extent of the damage to his back end, Martin was put on IV fluids with medications to combat the pain he was in. The tibia of his right hind leg was broken, leaving him in a lot of pain. Thankfully, our vets were able to determine that Martin’s injuries were not life threatening. Martin’s leg was equipped with a splint, casted, and on his way to recovery. He is now taking the time he needs in a relaxing and loving foster home.
In this time of crisis, there are many more cases like Martin's that just can't wait. Many shelters are already ill-equipped to handle potentially life-threatening injuries, so they rely on partner shelters like APA! To be there when pets need immediate and urgent care.
Take Jamie, a Shepherd dog who was bleeding internally from a bad reaction to her spay surgery. Jamie needed a blood transfusion and emergency surgery in the middle of the night. Our overnight and on-call staff didn’t think twice about having Jamie brought it, despite the impending late night it would mean. Their only goal was to ensure that Jamie’s life would be saved.
The quick actions of those involved with saving Jamie meant that this incredible pup had a chance to survive. She has since been adopted by her foster and is slowly building up her energy and appetite again. Originally brought to APA! with her nine puppies, Jamie and her previous San Antonio shelter counted on us to keep this family safe. Partnerships like this is why lives are continuing to be saved.
At times, though, it isn’t a partner shelter from elsewhere in Texas that needs our support, but pets in our own backyard.
Staff at APA! know kitten season isn't slowing down for COVID-19. Dr. Bardzinski, our Medical Director, stands six-feet away as she describes the emergency c-section surgery performed on Willow, a pregnant cat who had a kitten stuck in the birth canal. Even though Willow came to APA! from just across town, Austin Animal Center relied on our team to take in this pregnant momma and eventually provide the care her and her kittens needed to survive; and looking back now, it’s truly a miracle that she found her way to us.
Willow’s pregnancy was going smoothly. She was a happy and healthy momma, despite her young age. Panic set in, though, once she went into labor, and it was realized that one of her kittens was in distress – as well as mom. Thanks to the quick actions of our cat and medical teams, though, all six perfect kittens survived, including momma.
"It is different [with COVID-19] because we're seeing more of the urgent cases," Dr. Bardzinski says. "It's more of when we see something, it usually needs in-depth treatment."
Clinic staff have made adjustments to their work routines to make sure they're available when one of these sudden and urgent cases arise. This effective display of teamwork has been crucial to saving lives.
"Our staff has been handling it awesome," Dr. B says. Different teams and scheduled rotations means that if someone gets sick, there is always someone to keep going. "It's been a little bit of a struggle, but we're still getting it done. Everyone has a great attitude, and it's all about the teamwork."
To support our programs like the Medical Triage and Wellness Clinic so that vulnerable dogs and cats like Martin, Jamie, and Willow can receive the medical care they need to survive, please give today.