Manatee rescue, veterinarian deal with severe cases of preventable diseases

jdeleon@bradenton.comFebruary 12, 2014 

MANATEE -- As local animal rescue services continue to deal with the overwhelming care needs created by the hundreds of animals seized by law enforcement at an East Manatee shelter last week, at least one more dog had to be euthanized this week as a result of a preventable illness.

A total of 63 dogs and 13 cats were taken in Feb. 5 by Nate's Honor Animal Rescue when law enforcement raided Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary. Of 10 animals hospitalized, one was euthanized Monday after a veterinarian exhausted all treatments.

"We had to put down a dog yesterday because it had very severe heartworm disease and anemia," said Jodi Sorrentino, a Ranch Animal Hospital veterinarian. "It's very sad because it is something that was totally preventable."

The cream-colored terrier, affectionately known as "No. 99," did not respond to treatments, including a last-resort blood transfusion. In addition to heartworm, the dog suffered from a severe case of fleas.

"It is unusual to see a dog so far gone," Sorrentino said. "No. 99, the dog we put down yesterday, that was very heart-breaking."

Among the animals treated at Ranch Animal Hospital, several cats had roundworm and hookworm, which they shouldn't be dealing with, she said.

Another dog taken to Ranch Animal Hospital suffers from mange with no hair and sores all over its body. It's very painful, she said.

"Neglect resulted in all of their conditions," Sorrentino said. "This was intentional willful, neglect."

All animals brought to Nate's Honor Animal Rescue were underweight, covered in fleas, dirty with matted fur.

"The flea infections were beyond anything I have ever seen," Karen Slomba, Nate's Honor Animal Rescue associate director.

Animals first brought in from Napier's were seen by two veterinarians who donated hours of time, Slomba said. Several local veterinarians have come out to help since then. "Eighty percent of these animals have dental disease and are going to need dental work and multiple extractions," Slomba said.

Ranch Animal Hospital personnel are hopeful.

"I think we will be able to save all the others that are here," Sorrentino said. "The cats are responding well to basic antibiotics and deworming."

Many animals show signs of trauma, Sorrentino said.

"A lot of them are very fearful but none of them have been aggressive. They have been very timid," Sorrentino said. "They don't seem like they have been handled frequently or ever loved."

With all local shelters stretched thin by the treatment crisis, Bradenton's Bishop Animal Shelter Tuesday announced it will provide up to $25,000 worth of food for animals removed from the Napier properties.

"The board members saw how bad it was and said: 'We've got to help these animals,'" said shelter Director Keith Pratt.

The shelter, operated by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Manatee County Inc., also will serve as a dropoff site for food donations.

Bishop shelter workers will not accept any monetary donations, however, Pratt said. Those must be forwarded to the rescue agency for which the money is intended, he said.

To donate food, contact Gail Judah, Bishop shelter kennel manager, at 941-792-2863, ext. 223, 5718 21st Ave. W., Bradenton.

-- Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, contributed to this report.

Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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