MANATEE -- Axel the dog, apparently attacked with an ax in Bradenton, is continuing his recovery, wearing a cone collar to prevent scratching as his wound heals and stitches itch.
The red-and-white pit bull was once again in a tail-wagging mood Wednesday, just as he was when he was taken to Beach Veterinary Clinic Monday afternoon with a fresh gash on his face.
"He's doing awesome," said Tiffany Toth, veterinary technician, before taking the approximately 2-year-old on an afternoon walk. "He sat for us this morning for a treat. We're trying to teach him how to shake, but he only wants his food."
Axel was picked up by a Manatee County Animal Services officer in the 200 block of 60th Avenue West where the injured dog was wandering the streets.
The dog was immediately taken to Beach Veterinary Clinic where X-rays were taken and was sedated before surgery.
Dr. Luke Berglund said Axel's sinuses were damaged by an ax or other blunt object used to create the cut going two inches deep. His skull was fractured, with bits of bone missing and other pieces removed during surgery, but his brain was spared. The injury was inflicted some time during the weekend, Berglund said.
Now, Axel has blue stitches running up his nose, along his head and over his left eye. Those stitches must remain in for at least 14 days, Toth said. Until they are removed, Axel will wear the cone around his head.
"He doesn't like it too much, but he's not scratching his face, and that's all we care about," Toth said. "We don't want him to reopen that and have to start from square one."
Axel is on pain medicine and antibiotics, with a drain to prevent infection building up in the wound.
"He's so happy," said Toth, who is continually updating the clinic's Facebook page with Axel's condition and
The dog has captured hearts through Manatee County and the country. A Facebook page, called Axel's Angels, has more than 400 "likes."
"We have had phone calls all day with people asking how he's doing, where to go to help," Toth said. "Everyone is reaching out."
Axel will remain at the clinic until he is sent to a transition home for rehabilitation. Then, he will be available for adoption.
Axel's extended medical care is being paid for by the No Kill Medical Fund. To donate money, visit www.mymanatee.org/pets. Contributions can be designated for Axel using the note section of PayPal. Manatee County Animal Services can be contacted at 941-742-5933.
Animal Network is sponsoring a $500 reward for information on Axel's attacker.
Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.