TAMPA – In May of 2012, Eddie, a 5-year-old Belgian malinois, saved the life of his handler, Air Force Staff Sgt. Shannon Hutto, and 13 other service members, when he detected an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan. On Monday, while training at MacDill Air Force Base, the dog nearly died after going into seizures. Fortunately, some of the very same soldiers he saved were able to return the favor.
|Edwin Cruz, a veterinary technician, checks Eddie. George Holmes, one of the handlers responsible for saving Eddie's life, stayed by his side throughout the hospitalization. Photo by James Judge|
Doctors and technicians from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are treating Eddie, an Air Force working dog, after he was brought in seizing with signs of heatstroke.
Eddie was training with Air Force military working dog handlers assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron at MacDill. The handlers rushed him to BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospital in Tampa, one of nine veterinary trauma centers in the nation.
“If it wasn’t for the quick thinking handlers and their actions, this could have been a very different story,” said Dr. John Gicking, a board-certified veterinary emergency and critical care specialist with BluePearl in Tampa.
Hutto and Air Force Staff Sgt. George Holmes, also a military working dog handler assigned to the 6th SFS, were able to return the favor when they saved Eddie’s life by rushing him to BluePearl.
“This just goes to show, even a dog with the best care and training possible can easily develop heatstroke,” said Gicking. “I hope this serves as a reminder to people of how important it is for everyone to know the signs and symptoms of heatstroke and if they believe their pet may be experiencing it, they should seek veterinary care as soon as possible.”
Sticking with the tradition of never leaving a man behind, Holmes remained by Eddie’s side while at BluePearl. Eddies is expected to make a full recovery.
Here are some steps BluePearl doctors recommend to help prevent your pet from taking a trip to the emergency room:
Most importantly, be familiar with your pet and know when they aren’t acting right. Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and dark red gums are all signs of heat related distress. If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, take the animal to your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.