EVEN rascals NEED reviving
On April 15, an ambulance from Newton Medical Center responded with county fire department units to a structure fire on Mills Drive. Every family member was fine except for one — the family dog.
The firefighters and EMS personnel removed the dog from the home, attempted to revive him and performed resuscitation efforts — including airway management and CPR — on the pet for some time, but the dog did not survive.
Since then, Newton Medical Center EMS has been gaining experience in dog rescue as part of a plan to provide emergency medical care to the K-9 officers within the county.
“I started getting interested in animal resuscitation when we had an incident that happened during a SWAT standby,” said Dawn Bartow, paramedic and lieutenant of Newton County Medical EMS. “The perpetrator’s dog was injured, and nobody knew what to do. We then started thinking, ‘What if something happens to a K-9 officer?’”
As of right now, when a K9 officer is hurt on duty it is loaded into the police car and transported to the nearest animal hospital.
“They get to the animal hospital and receive care, but there is no emergency care for them on the scene to take care of them until they get there,” Bartow said.
EMS began their animal rescue care in a venture sponsored by Rhonda Ross of the Vetmed Animal Clinic in Covington. The training has since branched out to other parts of the U.S.
“Recently I went and took the “K-9 Down” class put on
at North Carolina State University,” Bartow said. “We had live dogs from the University of Florida for IV practice and cadavers to do everything including gastric tubes, tracheal airways, splinting and treating gunshot wounds. It is essentially the same emergency training as you would have for people.”
While still in the early phases, it is hoped that care can be provided to ill or injured K-9 police dogs should they be needed. The police dog handlers are trained as well in their overall and medical care, but EMS is positioning itself to assist these officers in caring for a fallen officer.
“Our goal right now is to have someone on each shift that can train on being able to take care of the situation,” Bartow said. “We also want to have medical bags and be on standby when dogs are out on the chase.”
Newton Medical Center EMS have recently received training on animal resuscitation. Sergeant Beau, a K-9 Officer with the Porterdale Police Department, lies down in an ambulance while his human counterparts practice their first response actions.