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SQSPCA helps dog with life-threatening infection

May 11, 2020 – Now happy and healthy in her forever home, Zoe the German Shepard has been instrumental in the Susquehanna SPCA’s ability to save the life of another dog in crisis.

On April 15, Cabela – a Labrador retriever mix owned by Donna Robinson of Worcester – was rushed to Heritage Veterinary Clinic for emergency spay surgery. Cabela had been nursing seven 3-week-old puppies when she began showing signs of illness including shaking, loss of appetite and refusal to nurse the pups.

Robinson reached out to SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes for assistance. Haynes had met the Robinson family only days earlier while dropping off dog food, part of a new Pet Food Pantry service introduced by the shelter to help pet owners in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In order to have Cabela treated by the shelter, the Robinsons surrendered their dog with the intention of adopting her back. SQSPCA staff picked up mom and puppies and, at Heritage, Cabela was diagnosed with pyometra, a life-threatening infection in the uterus.

“Cabela spent the night at Heritage after her emergency surgery, and the puppies went home with SQSPCA Shelter Manager Sara Haddad, a licensed veterinary technician, who fed them a mixture of formula and puppy food every few hours,” said Haynes.

The next day, Cabela returned to Worcester with antibiotics, pain medication and her babies. The puppies were not allowed to nurse, so the Robinsons continued the improvised feeding regimen. Though all seven puppies were thriving, Cabela’s condition did not improve. Several days later, she was returned to the shelter for further medical attention.

“She had gotten very thin, was vomiting and was not eating, and very likely had developed a stomach ulcer from the pain medication,” explained Haddad.  “We gave her fluids, anti-vomiting medication, injectable antibiotics, and an antacid to coat the stomach while feeding her a very bland diet including chicken, rice, and baby food.

“Cabela remained in my care for several days until we began to see positive results. When she had regained her appetite and was able to resume oral antibiotics, we sent her home again with a different prescription,” Haddad said.

Back at the SQSPCA on Monday, May 11 for a checkup, Cabela had put on 10 pounds and was acting like a different dog entirely, according to Haddad. All seven puppies – four males and three females – are happy, healthy, and on the way to their forever homes. Cabela and one of her pups will remain with the Robinsons, who are delighted to have their family pet restored to good health.

“This emergency care for Cabela is an example of what we can do with our new Emergency Medical Fund. Zoe was the impetus for that fund, created specifically to help animals in crisis. You could say that Zoe has paid it forward to Cabela,” Haynes added.

“While we do not currently operate a clinic for animals not owned by the shelter, we do work hard to find different ways to help animals in need. This case is certainly special and was only possible thanks to the generosity of people in our community who care,” she said.

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit


5082-5088 State Highway 28
5082-5088 State Highway 28
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Cooperstown, NY

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