“I found out about Red Paw when Jen brought an animal in,” recalls Dr. Deborah Mandell, V’93, Staff Veterinarian in Ryan Hospital’s Emergency Service and Adjunct Associate Professor, Section of Critical Care. Coincidentally, Mandell also serves as the American Red Cross’ national Pet Care Advisor as well as a member of its Scientific Advisory Council.
“[Jen and I] were both working with the Red Cross. I got to know Jen because she was the one who brought the animals in, and so I got to know how absolutely amazing she is and what she has done,” Mandell says.
“She sends the most critical ones here,” continues Mandell. “The most important first treatment is supplemental oxygen, and Penn Vet has state-of-the-art oxygen cages. We also see and treat corneal ulcers, burns, and neurologic complications from carbon monoxide toxicity. For many cases, supple- mental oxygen and time is all they need.”
Red Paw and Ryan Hospital value patience and persistence, even when the outlook seems grim.
“There was a cat, Joy Joy, who the firefighters thought was deceased,” Mandell says. “She was covered in soot and very neurologically inappropriate, flat. She
could not initially stand or get up. She was hospitalized for two days, and her neurologic status slowly improved. She was able to stand and eat but was not able to walk. She went to a foster home and continued to improve and is doing great now. It was extremely rewarding to see her recover.”
In addition, Leary noted, “Red Paw did search and rescue and found Joy Joy’s sibling cats still inside the fire dwelling. All of them were taken to Penn Vet for care.”
Darius, a large pit bull-American bulldog mix, was pulled by firefighters from a burning home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and rushed to Ryan Hospital by the Red Paw team. Put immediately on oxygen, Darius seemed to be recovering. But after 24 hours, he took a turn for the worse.
“It was quite phenomenal, actually,” Mandell says. “He was initially weaned off of supplemental oxygen but he then started having significant coughing. He coughed up something that looked like the inside layer of his trachea. We put him back in the oxygen cage, started IV fluids, IV antibiotics, GI protectants, and nebulization.”
“We weren’t sure if he was going to make it,” Leary recalls. “He wasn’t eating in the hospital. [Penn Vet] suggested that the owner come in to the hospital, and the staff worked with the owner. He perked up and he made it.”