Update: Coconut has been adopted! Head over to aspca.org/adopt to meet more animals in need of a loving home.
A yelp in the dark. A howl. A bark. No one knows for certain how Coconut reacted when he was hit by a car on a cold December night, but what we do know is that what happened afterward is nothing short of a miracle.
A Good Samaritan found Coconut on the road after the accident in Westchester County, New York. The driver who hit him had long since left the scene, and the pint-sized Maltese mix was in severe distress. He had no tags or microchip and no one seemed to be looking for him.
Coconut was rushed to a nearby 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital, where doctors stabilized him just as he began to lose oxygen and turn blue. After taking radiographs, the extent of his injuries became clear: His diaphragm (the muscle between the chest cavity and abdomen) was ruptured, pushing the dog’s intestines up into his chest cavity. Radiographs also showed a shattered pelvis and a dislocated left hip.
Despite his pain, Coconut radiated a will to live and a loving soul. Once he was strong enough, he was transferred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) for further evaluation and surgery.
“He was our Christmas present,” said Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery at AAH. In a single operation, Dr. Gayle popped Coconut’s hip back into its socket and repaired torn ligaments and fractures. Coconut was also treated for skin wounds, road rash and bruising—painful reminders of his encounter with the automobile. For two weeks he remained at AAH, during which time he befriended every veterinarian, animal care technician and staff member who glanced into his soulful brown eyes. In January, he was placed into a foster home.
“He’s the most phenomenal dog,” said his foster mom, Dr. Jennifer Lander, a veterinarian who works in the ASPCA’s Adoption and Spay/Neuter departments. “Through his arrival, surgery, post-surgery, physical therapy and fostering, he accepted all handling, which is really amazing. It’s hard to imagine how awful he must have felt.”
Dr. Lander conducted physical therapy on Coconut’s right knee and left hip. She noted that he likes to sleep with her oldest son, is housebroken, rarely barks, and prefers the company of one person over many. On February 11, Coconut was X-rayed again and received a glowing report. He is now available for adoption and is eager to find his forever home.
Please help us spread the word about this amazing dog. If you are interested in adopting Coconut, contact the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 3800. To learn more about Coconut, please visit his profile page.
After receiving reports on Monday of a dog wandering on New York City’s Grand Central Parkway in Queens, NY, two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers responded and found an injured pit bull puppy sitting in the middle lane of the busy roadway. The officers carried the 6-month-old pup, first called “Rocky” and now named “Huxley,” to safety, and transported him first to the ASPCA’s office in Queens, and then to the ASPCA Animal Hospital in Manhattan.
ASPCA veterinarians performed surgery on Huxley’s broken leg, and he is expected to make a full recovery. We’d like to ask anyone who has information about Huxley to please come forward. Thanks to the NYPD officers who rescued this brave dog!
At the ASPCA, we encourage all pet parents to spay/neuter their pets. There are so many benefits associated with these procedures, but many pet parents may not be aware that it can be dangerous to not spay their pets until it’s almost too late.
One day last spring, Sandra R. noticed that her eight-year-old cat, Petra, wasn’t eating. Her belly distended, she vomited and was lethargic—far from her normal self. Sandra decided to bring Petra to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH).
Petra was suffering from a pyometra, an infection of the uterus that that can be fatal in cats and dogs. Pyometra usually occurs in older females, with about 25 percent of them suffering from pyometra before the age of 10. Radiographs showed Petra’s distended belly containing a greatly enlarged uterus filled with pus. Once removed by Dr. Maren Krafchik, the uterus weighed almost three lbs.—a third of Petra’s total weight. Fortunately, Petra has since made a full recovery.
Dogs are equally susceptible to pyometra infection. Gershon C., a retired sanitation worker who lives in Queens, took notice when his 10-year-old Rottweiler, Princess, had not eaten for several days and was drinking water excessively.
He brought her to the ASPCA, where veterinarian Dr. Marisa Altieri suspected a pyometra. Her diagnosis was spot on, and an ultrasound showed that Princess’s uterus had ruptured in two places. Dr. Altieri set about surgery immediately, removing the uterus, which weighed 20 lbs.
Princess underwent treatment for a pyometra infection at the ASPCA Animal Hospital.
While pyometra is preventable, it is one of the most common maladies treated at AAH. Our veterinarians performed 145 surgeries to remove pyometras in 2014 alone—nearly three per week.
It’s best to spay a pet before she goes into heat; around four months of age is ideal. If your unspayed female shows signs of lethargy, poor appetite, excessive water drinking, vaginal discharge, excessive urination, pale mucous membranes (gum color), vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, or abdominal enlargement, take her to a veterinarian immediately.
When pets swallow strange objects, the resulting effects can be fatal. Known as “foreign bodies” in veterinary circles, these inedible objects can cause gastrointestinal obstructions or perforate the digestive tract if consumed by pets.
The ASPCA medical team performs surgeries to extract foreign bodies from the stomachs and intestines of canines and felines on an almost daily basis, and one recent patient was a one-year-old pit bull named Frost.
On a recent fall evening, Frost’s owner, Odin Rodriguez, took him for a walk around their Staten Island neighborhood when he noticed something in the dog’s mouth. Odin pulled it out, thinking he had removed it in its entirety, but Frost vomited in the middle of the night. Odin’s wife, Cassandra, says, “The next day there was a bad odor coming from his mouth, so we knew he must have ingested something, and it was still there.”
A solid 83 lbs., Frost is normally spunky and playful. “But he was so lethargic,” adds Cassandra. “We knew something was wrong.”
At a nearby clinic, x-rays revealed a foreign object in Frost’s intestinal tract. The Rodriguezes were referred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where Frost underwent an ultrasound that confirmed the obstruction: a corn cob. Frost underwent a two-hour surgery to remove the dangerous cob.
Veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Hospital say that corn cobs are at the top of the list of foreign bodies consumed by dogs, along with pieces of rubber, pillows, cloth, carpet, and even coins. Stringy items, such as thread, yarn, dental floss and hair bands are more commonly swallowed by cats. In 2013, veterinarians at the ASPCA performed 125 surgeries—like Frost’s—to remove foreign bodies from dogs and cats. Surgeries this year already number 120 and will likely surpass 2013 numbers.
“Dogs especially, but also cats often don’t distinguish between what is tasty and what will actually fit in to their gastrointestinal tracts,” says ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Janice Fenichel, who diagnosed Frost’s condition.
Surgeries like the one Frost underwent can cost thousands of dollars in diagnostic, anesthesia, and fees, so the ASPCA urges pet-parents to protect their pets. During the upcoming holiday season, “dog-“ or “cat-proof” your home to keep potentially damaging objects out of reach. Keep a close eye on what your pet finds appetizing, and cover or empty wastebaskets.
As for Frost, Cassandra says, “he’s back to his old self, doing beautifully,” and keeping busy with the couple’s four children, ages three to 12.
Corn cobs, like this one, can lead to gastrointestinal distress in pets when swallowed.
Robert M. knew something was wrong when his 1-year-old cat, Kitty, began vomiting and stopped eating. But what he didn’t know was that Kitty had somehow swallowed a penny.
Earlier this month, Robert drove Kitty from his home in Bellmore, Long Island to the ASPCA Animal Hospital in Manhattan. X-rays revealed what looked like a shiny penny lodged in Kitty’s small intestine, having already passed through her stomach.
“It was the worst day ever,” says Robert. “She is such a wonderful cat and she was just so sick.”
Dr. Anna Whitehead, who performed surgery on Kitty the same day, has retrieved coins from dogs in the past, but says it’s rare for cats to swallow loose change.
She also says Kitty was lucky her condition was not worse, because of the penny’s composition.
Pennies dated before 1982 are made of 95 percent copper, and those dated 1983 or later are made of 97.5 percent zinc and coated in a thin plate of copper. The cent's composition was changed in 1982 because the value of the copper in one cent pieces rose above one cent.
“Stomach acid corrodes pennies made of zinc and can cause hemolysis, or a rupturing of red blood cells that leads to life-threatening anemia,” says Dr. Whitehead.
In Kitty’s case, the penny had turned black from corrosion, making the 1986 mint date barely legible.
“It’s hard to say what happened or how long it had been in there,” says Dr. Whitehead.
As for the penny, it won’t turn up again. Robert is keeping it as a reminder of Kitty’s ordeal and has taken it out of circulation.