COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – With the recent name change from Vici to Vonn (meaning Viking warrior), Vonn has risen to the occasion and shown his warrior spirit during treatment at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH). Still covered in bandages from head to paw, the hopeful six-month-old pit bull is doing all he can to survive after last week’s horrific incident.
Last week mother and son pit bulls, Esperanza and Vonn, were brought to the Aggieland Animal Health Center by a concerned citizen, Cristi Wuthrich, who found the dogs near her home with injuries indicative of severe abuse.
“This has been a huge eye opener for me,” Wuthrich says. “I have never spent time around pit bulls before. They had no reason to trust me, but they did. Their sweetness makes me cry every time I think about what must have happened in their lives.”
It is clear that both Esperanza’s and Vonn’s paths changed dramatically when Cristi Wuthrich intervened in their lives,” said Dr. Eleanor Green, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “My heartfelt thanks go out to her, the veterinary teams who are providing the best of care for both dogs, and to members of the community whose generosity has supported their care. These personal donations have been essential.”
“Vonn is progressing very well,” Dr. James Barr, clinical assistant professor in emergency and critical care at the CVM, explains. “For his general overall health, he is very happy. His wounds do need a lot of care. With a positive attitude and appetite, Vonn is doing his part to ensure his progress continues. The critical care team and soft tissue team are administering surgery once a day to remove excess dead skin from Vonn’s body.”
Barr explains that Dr. Brooke Smith, veterinary resident instructor for critical care at the CVM, is the quarterback for Vonn’s case and Dr. Katy Fryer, veterinary resident instructor for surgery at the CVM, is in charge of Vonn’s care for the soft tissue department during surgery.
On Wednesday, August 24, Smith reported, “Vonn is swiftly becoming the mascot of the Small Animal Clinic. He knows his daily routine perfectly and leads us to the treatment room every morning for his daily wound care. We found out that his new favorite food is scrambled eggs. We think that is why he continues to be optimistic about his anesthesia, because he knows he will get a home cooked breakfast after he wakes up.”
“Esperanza has been making progress every day,” Dr. Barbara Hannes, veterinarian and owner of the Aggieland Animal Health Center, explains. “As with any kind of trauma, there are ups and downs in the healing process. On Tuesday, August 23, we had a bump in the road, because her albumin levels dropped to a level where plasma was needed. However, she is doing well today.”
Hannes states, “Esperanza has been eating well for us, and that is exceptionally important for her healing process. There are currently no signs of infection, clinically or on her bloodwork, and that is the thing most feared in any burn patient. We had visiting hours for Esperanza on Monday and today. This will be a long road to healing, but she is traveling it well right now.”
Esperanza’s ailments were evident as she sustained extensive burns and bite marks across her body. Hannes and her team felt confident that they could treat Esperanza in-house.
Vonn sustained more concentrated and deeper burns on his body, possibly exposing him to deadly infections. To give him the best chance at survival, Hannes enlisted the help of Barr and his team to treat Vonn.
“Vonn’s burns were deeper than Esperanza’s and were going to require a full team of specialists and round the clock monitoring for his best chance at survival,” Hannes says.
Hannes adds, “I want to extend our most sincere and heartfelt thanks and appreciation to every person who was involved in the process that allowed Vonn to be admitted to the TAMU Small Animal Clinic as a Good Samaritan case.”
“I hope that Vonn and Esperanza can continue to recover,” Wuthrich expresses. “The Aggieland Animal Health Center and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the CVM have all been amazing. I hope that the dogs can find very loving, appropriate homes and can continue to bring awareness to our community about this horrific ‘sport’.”
If you would like to help with Vonn’s recovery, please send your donations to the Capper & Chris Save the Animals Fund. Please visit Vonn’s donation site at vetmed.tamu.edu/giving/vonn-and-esperanza. The Capper & Chris Save the Animals Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners who could not otherwise afford a lifesaving procedure for their animal, especially those pets that might have to be euthanized due to prohibitive financial hardship to the family. The fund, created by Mrs. Capper Thompson, was established as a memorial to Chris Stehouwer, a Texas A&M University student and animal lover who was killed in a tragic accident. Any funds raised in excess of the amount required for Vonn’s treatment will remain in the Capper & Chris Save the Animals Fund to aid in treatment for other animals whose owners cannot afford proper treatments.
If you would like to help with Esperanza’s recovery, please visit the Aggieland Animal Health Center in-person at 13223 FM 2154 Road in College Station, Texas. You can also make a donation online at aggielandanimalhealthcenter.com by following the “rescue” tab to the “donate” link.