Friday, December 3, 2010

Vets confirm rescued Indiana dogs have medical problems typically found in puppy mills

Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois
UAN volunteer Gary Gray from
Nashville, Tennessee
It is day two of this puppy mill deployment and the dogs seemed much quieter and calmer this morning after having had time to settle into their new (temporary) living quarters. It helps that they are now in larger crates with blankets to snuggle into, as well as having fresh food and water, not to mention they are now in a heated facility. The day started well, with the UAN volunteers starting morning feeding and cleaning rounds without incident. Once the veterinarians arrived, we were all assigned jobs. We had runners, the people who retrieve the dogs, one at a time, from their crates and take them through the process of getting photographed, being examined by a veterinarian, and getting all their required shots, medications, and tests completed. We also had evidence photographers, vet techs, and scribes to speed up the process so that the dogs could get treated and back into their comfortable crates as quickly as possible.  

On the way to see the vet
to get healthy
The results of the veterinary exams were quite concerning. Approximately 99.9% of the dogs tested positive for the medical issues naturally inherent in their breeds; almost all of the pugs and Yorkies had subluxated patellas, where the kneecap moves sideways, locking the joint in a bent position. Most of the male poodles tested positive for cryptorchid (undescended testicles) and the vast majority of puppies and juveniles tested positive for giardia, an internal parasite that, if left untreated, especially in puppies, can cause malnutrition and potentially, death. Many of the breeding dogs had cataracts, skin diseases and very few remaining teeth. Though most of these ailments are treatable, they can be extremely uncomfortable, if not painful, and may require expensive and painful surgeries to correct. And the really heartbreaking part is that many of these dogs have been living with these conditions for years, and who knows how many dogs before them suffered similar fates. They were bred over…and over…and over again, and for nothing more than monetary gain. 
UAN volunteer Brian Massey of
Fishers, Indiana
These dogs are the lucky ones; they have been saved and will now go on to have wonderful lives. But all of these issues are typical in dogs that come from puppy mills. And they are very hard to recognize at first – after all, most of us are experienced dog handlers and we believed these dogs to be in fair condition when they first arrived, but the fear and excitement the dogs experience when coming into a new environment cause them to move and react differently and that can make it difficult to notice unusual or concerning signs indicative of medical issues. So if we can be fooled, it would be very easy to fool a novice dog owner into thinking they are purchasing a healthy dog.
A survivor
Those of us who took part in this puppy mill deployment learned so much and we will all pass on these lessons to others, so that we can prevent more dogs from living the lives these dogs were living. One hundred and twenty two dogs are safe now. Chalk one up for the good guys.

1 comment:

  1. Love this Debbie! Thank you ---everyone needs to spread the word.


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