Wiggles arrived at Badger Veterinary Hospital in a weak but responsive state late Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 20, 2011). The efforts of the firefighters, which brought him out of unconsciousness, were a critical piece of his recovery.
"Wiggles presented with difficulty breathing and was weak but responsive on arrival," said Dr. Kevin Kreier. "Wiggles' oxygen level was 23 when he arrived (normal levels are above 90). I knew the dog was in dire need of treatment to save his life. Without knowing how much carbon monoxide, smoke, and heat Wiggles had been exposed to, immediate treatment and monitoring were critical."
Dr. Kreier did indicate that there is a critical time for animals that have been exposed to this type of heat, smoke, and carbon monoxide. Exposed pets face a medically critical phase between 72-96 hours. It's in this timeframe that the build up of carbon monoxide and fluid can cause secondary bacterial infections which can lead to pneumonia. This is why it's important for pets to be monitored in an animal hospital. Once the patient is passed the critical phase and is on the path to health, the patient can go home.
As of this morning, Dr. Kreier is pleased with Wiggles' continued improvement. His oxygen levels are near normal. His x-rays show improvement. The treatment regimen from this point forward is medication and monitoring, which can be done more comfortably for Wiggles with his family.
The only thing Dr. Kreier said is that Wiggles will continue to cough and hack as his body, in tandem with medication, is trying to eliminate the fluid build up on the lungs. This cough isn't pleasant. As Dr. Kreier says, it sounds like a smoker's cough.
After hearing of the tragedy, Steven Servantez, DVM, and partner at Badger Veterinary Hospital, inspired a sense of community and generous donations from the community and Badger clients. "Knowing the crisis this family was facing, I immediately thought of Friends of Noah's Badger Animal Fund," said Dr. Servantez. "I contacted Lois Corwin (Friends of Noah Executive Director), informed her about Wiggles and his family, and suggested that the Badger Animal Fund get involved. It didn't take long and the communication chain erupted."
By 2:00 pm on Thursday, December 22, 2011, all of Wiggles medical costs had been met. Several of Badger's clients called in to ask if they could add donations through their accounts at Badger to help cover Wiggles' costs. Calls from across the country are coming in to provide donations. Several Badger staff members, as well as Badger Veterinary Hospital, made contributions.
The remaining medical costs have been covered by the Badger Animal Fund, a division of Friends of Noah. "Rock County has been a wonderful community," said Lois Corwin. "The Badger Animal Fund, which helps animals in crisis, is and has been funded by contributions from the citizens of Rock County. The success of covering the costs for Wiggles is exactly why Badger Animal Fund does what it does. It's a true reflection of the sense of community in Rock County."
Late Friday afternoon, the Tuescher family was reunited with Wiggles. They were also presented with all medical costs covered by various donors across the country. It's amazing to see the community pull together when a tragedy hits. If it weren't for all of the people involved, Wiggles may not have been with us today. It's the spirit of the community that make the gift of life possible!
For background on this story, read this Janesville Gazette article:
Fire displaces Janesville family (Wednesday, December 21, 2011)