A dog whose paws were badly burned when he was left outside on a hot roof for at least 10 hours has undergone a unique stem-cell procedure that veterinarians hope will give him a chance at a normal life.
A Reading police officer found the stranded dog on July 19, with the pads of its paws burned off. The young pit bull also had burn marks on his spine and chest, believed to be caused when he tried to take the weight off his damaged paws by lying down on the roof, according to the Reading Eagle.
Veterinarian Dr. Boyd Wagner attempted to regrow the pads on the dog's paws by using stem cells harvested from another animal, a first-of-its-kind procedure that required approval from the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, the newspaper reported Monday.
“I don't think I've seen anything that bad in 25 years,” said Wagner, veterinarian and owner of the Wyomissing Animal Hospital. “They were severe, third-degree burns.”
Wagner, who volunteered his time, has been working with Celavet Inc., a California-based biotechnology firm conducting stem-cell research in horses, cats and dogs. It's unclear whether the experimental treatment, performed Aug. 4, was successful, he said.
The dog, dubbed Bernie, is doing OK under the circumstances.
“He seems to be happy,” Wagner said. “He's a tough little guy.”
Bernie is recovering at a kennel run by the Animal Rescue League of Berks County. League spokeswoman Chris Shaughness said Bernie won't be offered for adoption until he has recovered.
Law enforcement officials are looking for the pit bull's owner. Crime Alert Berks County is offering a reward for information leading to the owner's arrest.