For Pete, a one year old German Shepherd, the past few months could best be described as the perfect storm. He was injured, abandoned and in need of care and a new home. Fortunately for him, the storm cleared and he was given the opportunity for both. This Summer, Pete was selected as the first canine candidate to receive veterinary orthopedic surgery using technology only before offered in human medicine. Andy Riddick, Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center’s Practice Manager shares, “It is not often that we have the perfect convergence of people, technology and pet, to do something like this. Pete was just such a pet; the stars aligned for him.”
Pete was found roadside with a fractured right hind leg and was brought by Animal Control to Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center (AECC) for a splint. He was then returned to the care of Animal Control. He remained under their care for seven days, the legal duration to hold a pet before declaring them abandoned. It was at this was point when the storm began to clear for Pete. Once declared abandoned, Ms. Elena McKnight from the German Shepherd Rescue adopted the adorable puppy.
With a long-standing relationship with AECC, Ms. McKnight returned to AECC with Pete to discuss his treatment options for a full recovery. After a careful physical evaluation and taking several x-rays the recommended treatment plan included orthopedic surgery and hyperbaric oxygen therapy to aid in recovery. The surgical procedure recommended was an open reduction and internal fixation using lag screws and a locking plate. Although this is a very costly surgery, a few more storm clouds cleared for Pete. As his luck would have it, on the night that he came in for evaluation Mr. Riddick, was working and had his radar on looking for a case such as Pete’s.
Throughout the summer Mr. Riddick had met with Mr. Dustin Dittmer, the Vice President of Innovative Trauma Solutions (I.T.S.). Their company is a provider of human orthopedic implants and their discussions had been focused on adapting and implementing this human product into the veterinary field. Once Mr. Riddick was aware of Pete’s case, a storm started brewing around him! He quickly contacted Mr. Dittmer to share the case and immediately I.T.S. was on board to donate all the orthopedic hardware needed for the repair. This was the first canine surgery of record to use the Innovative Trauma Solutions system to perform an open reduction and internal fixation.
Mr. Riddick continued to arrange for reduced or donated services so that Pete could have surgery. In addition to offering deeply discounted fees related to treatment, Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center also agreed to donate the services of their Board Certified Surgeon, Dr. Jeff Christiansen and his surgical resident Dr. John Moser. With the approval of Ms. McKnight, on August 23, 2013 the surgery was performed by Dr. Christiansen and Dr. Moser where they were able to move the bone back in place and anchor a titanium plate using the
Innovative Trauma Solutions system.
As part of AECC’s advanced recovery therapies their facility is home to Brevard’s only veterinary hyperbaric oxygen equipment. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is used post-op to speed a pet’s recovery process. Upon contacting Edgar Otto, owner of Hyperbaric Veterinary Medicine, they donated six hyperbaric oxygen treatments for the Shepherd pup. Pete also had another AECC angel on his side, as a staff member personally agreed to cover some of the treatment costs.
Why was this particular rescue selected to be the recipient of the donated services? Aside from the uncanny timing of events, it was the determination that if Pete had not been provided medical treatment, he most likely would be “un-adoptable”. He is young, and an otherwise a healthy pet, and now with a good prognosis, he has a great chance to be placed in a forever home. Through the kindness of others, Pete’s condition continues to improve and he is expected to experience a full recovery. By receiving the orthopedic surgery, using equipment once only available to humans, his storm has passed and the warm sun shines upon him!