La Plata Humane Society Offers Advice To Help Pets Live Their Best Life

Since January, the La Plata Humane Society has seen an exponential increase of pets in need of emergency surgery or emergency medical care.

Video Transcript

- The La Plata Humane Society has seen an increase in the number of medical emergencies with pets or emergency surgeries in some cases. So joining me now is Chris Nelson, the director of animal services. And Chris, tell me a little bit about what you guys are seeing. You guys have had some sad cases of these emergency surgeries lately.

CHRIS NELSON: Yeah, it's actually a much more common occurrence than you would think at animal shelters. And I'm sure we're not unique. It's just been in the last five weeks or so we've seen a pretty large number of those cases. Two cats with severely injured legs, another cat with a collar embedded in its neck, and a dog that had such severe glaucoma that she was in an excruciating amount of pain.

- Yeah. That's so sad. Tell me a little bit about-- you guys mentioned in some of these cases those breakaway collars, microchipping, why is that kind of thing so important to do?

CHRIS NELSON: Well breakaway collars on cats are huge. And I know people often-- we sell them. And most pet stores do as well. But the breakaway collars can be lifesavers. And this particular cat also happened to have-- he did not have a breakaway collar on, but had a microchip that we had implanted when we adopted him.

And the great thing was-- the bad thing was the collar that he was wearing was not a breakaway. He somehow got hung up on something, probably a fence, and got his leg underneath the collar. And it had been growing there for quite some time. He had been missing from his owners for two months.

And this thing was pretty severely injured when it got here. We rushed it to an emergency hospital and then eventually got it back here the next day and did a bunch of post-operative care here with our medical team. But those those breakaway collars will come apart. You'll lose the collar, you'll have to buy another one. Come see us. But you can buy another one. But if you want to have a collar with tags on your couch, always a great idea. It should be that breakaway style.

And then the microchip, which any vet clinic can usually do, most humane societies will also implant them, including us, and the microchip is a permanent means of identification. It tracks your address, your phone number. It's not GPS. But if a cat is lost or a dog and they come into an animal shelter or a vet hospital, we scan them. And then if we can trace that microchip back to your information, we found this cat's owner.

And he was very, very grateful. He has kids, and they were super happy. We took care of it and we spent our shelter money donations from folks to provide the initial care. And then he was able to pay us some of that back. But we don't think about that when we're doing these things.

We think about what's best for the animal, like Sunny, the dog that's in our story. She came in with extreme glaucoma, causing excruciating pain in her eyes, great pressure. And it was just-- she's a wonderful dog, but she was miserable. And so we did a surgery where her eyes were bilaterally removed, and she's happy. She was adopted. Took quite a bit of rehab and a great foster home, but she's doing well now.

- That's awesome. It's great to hear the wonderful work you guys are doing to get these animals back with their owners or just find a new family. Is there anything that you want the community or pet owners to think about in relation to this topic?

- Well, donate to your local shelters. If you want to donate to us, great, but also your local shelters. They're always in need of funding. And in cases like this, money can make or break these animals' lives. We want to do everything we can to give them a quality life and save their lives, and we can't do it without help from the public. We really can't.

- Thanks so much for sharing all of this, Chris. We really appreciate it.

CHRIS NELSON: You bet. Thank you.

- Of course. And we'll have more information on this on our website,