Vet Says Owner’s Affection Aided In Dog’s Recovery

Emotional support for dog may help during rehab process.

Marcella Harb-Hauser, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, at the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin in San Rafael, Calif. treated Ann Krcik’s 5-year-old Airedale terrier Shayla after a leptospirosis diagnosis.

When the dog was admitted for treatment, Krcik asked Dr. Harb-Hauser if spending time with her pet might help her recovery.

“I’m a firm believer that pet parents play an integral role in helping their pets heal,” Dr. Harb-Hauser said. “Just like humans, if pets are less stressed, they heal faster.”   

Krcik visited several times a day.

“They let me sit on the floor with this 65-pound-dog on my lap, and just worked around me,” Krcik said.

When the dog seemed to be improving, additional tests showed the leptospirosis was now affecting the dog’s lungs and the disease suddenly became life threatening. Harb-Hauser told Krcik that they had done all they could medically.

Afterwards, as Krcik was holding Shayla on the floor of the hospital, the dog struggled to breathe.  

“It was bleak,” Krcik said. “At one point, I couldn’t feel her breathing at all. I thought this is it; at least I’ll be holding her as she passes on. I held her tighter.”    

At that moment, Shayla’s health turned around.

Harb-Hauser examined Shayla immediately and found her respiratory status was improving. The next day, the dog was off oxygen and was released to recover at home.

“We’ll never really know why Shayla’s health appeared to change in that instant,” Harb-Hauser said.  “I firmly believe that Ann’s presence, holding her the way she was, somehow helped Shayla enough to fight the physiological ailments she was facing.  She may have recovered regardless, but it sure didn’t seem that way.” 

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