Puppy #259882 at Memphis Animal Services was approximately 8 weeks old and had rescue lined up but MAS spayed her on October 14, 2013 prior to release. The puppy was dead before 1o o’clock that night. Let’s take a look at what happened. Keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian and as such, I will be asking lots of questions.
Xylazine is a Schedule IV, prescription-only drug with known recreational uses. The label for xylazine includes the warning: “Do not use xylazine in conjunction with tranquilizers.”
Acepromazine is a tranquilizer.
Combi-Pen is an antibiotic and anaphylactic reactions are listed as a side effect.
Yobine is a reversing agent for xylazine.
This puppy could not possibly have weighed 98.5 pounds as indicated in the veterinary record. Clearly an error was made in recording the dog’s weight. Drug dosages are based on an animal’s weight. A FOIA request filed with the city of Memphis revealed MAS does not maintain drug logs for any drug other than Fatal Plus. If an overdose of Xylazine was administered to this puppy, the drug log would reflect that but since no such log exists, there is no way to check and the dosages listed above are the only records available, which we know contain at least one glaring error. Yobine, the antidote for xylazine, was administered three times according to the records.
- Why was epinephrine given when there is no note of cardiac arrest?
- Why was Combi-Pen administered at the start of surgery instead of after the patient had demonstrated the ability to recover?
Here is where things go tragically wrong:
The puppy, who had gone into respiratory arrest while recovering from surgery and should have been considered a high risk patient from that point on, was apparently left alone after the tech punched out at 5pm. At 8pm, the puppy was found seizing and her body temperature had dropped to an alarming 94 degrees. Between 5 and 8pm, I would guess she was convulsing and that her tongue was probably white or blue. How could this have possibly gone unnoticed for hours in a high risk patient at the “state of the art vet clinic” inside MAS?
Finding a puppy in this state would indicate emergency procedures – that is, the crash cart would be hauled out – intubation, lifesaving drugs, heated IV fluids and a warm water enema might all be immediately administered. Karo syrup and heated corn bags are not emergency medicine from a veterinarian in a “state of the art vet clinic” but rather something that panicked pet owners might try at home if they wake up to a seizing puppy in the middle of the night.
One note indicates that the “state of the art vet clinic” had no IV dextrose available. I found it online for $2.29.
- Why was 250ml of fluid administered to this tiny puppy (perhaps weighing 10 pounds) in a 5 hour period? AAHA guidelines appear to recommend significantly lower rates. Did fluid overload lead to this pups’ death?
- Why wasn’t the puppy’s temperature taken as soon as she recovered from surgery and regularly thereafter? Instead, the temperature was apparently never taken until someone noticed she was seizing and vocalizing at 8 o’clock at night. By that time it was an extremely dangerous 94 degrees. Did the failure to recognize and treat a possible low body temperature in this pup lead to her death?
- Was the puppy given a dangerous drug combination (ketamine, xylazine and acepromazine) and/or possibly an overdose of one or more of these drugs based upon a wildly inaccurate weight listed in the record?
- Why was this high risk pup apparently left alone for hours? Did failure to monitor this pup as she was deteriorating lead to her death?
- How does $7.2 million shelter with a “start of the art vet clinic” not have IV dextrose on hand and why is the vet relying on things like karo syrup and heated corn bags to save lives? Did Memphis Animal Services’ failure to secure appropriate clinic supplies and/or follow standard veterinary emergency medicine protocols lead to this pup’s death?
By the way, for anyone who didn’t catch the punch line at the end of the pup’s record, the vet attributes the pup’s death to a suspected liver disorder. In other words: I take no responsibility whatsoever, go Memphis yourself.
This isn’t the first time a dog has died at MAS post surgery because no one was monitoring the pet per standard veterinary protocols. The city of Memphis has been a running a tab on neglect and cruelty at its pound for years. How many more pets must pay this debt with their lives before a local group takes meaningful action and demands reform?
Fire. Them. All.