The SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County, Inc. is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to animal welfare. We do not operate the county shelter. We are chartered by the State of Maryland, but we receive no state or county funds. Our activities are supported solely by contributions, dues, and fundraising events.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Sherlock Spaniel & the Case of the Big Belly
When we took Sherlock – a 3-year-old cocker spaniel mix – into our program, he was a seemingly healthy, happy, wonderful, easy-to-place dog… except for one thing: a mysterious condition that was more than the shelter would have been able to diagnose and treat.
His belly was big and swollen with fluid, but we couldn't figure out why. We checked all the stuff that was easy to check, but his blood work was normal and he didn't have anything common like worms. That left only the really serious causes: liver failure, heart problems, etc. But if he had something serious, why was he not acting sick? Except for his distended belly, this little guy was the picture of health: full glossy coat, bright eyes, tons of energy, and so so so very cute! But we couldn't adopt him out without knowing what was wrong, and his chances at the shelter weren't good. So what now? We had a true mystery on our hands... and not a cheap one. But he wasn't giving up, so neither did we.
With no definitive results from that round of tests, we started Sherlock on diuretics which made the fluid go away. Then we stopped all the meds he was on and the fluid didn’t return. We have no idea why. Is it possible the condition corrected itself? Can the fluid come and go and it is just a matter of time before it returns? Could more serious problems arise such as premature heart failure? It’s a mystery worthy of an episode of House!
Generally when we take in dogs that require medical attention, we try to limit it to ones with a definitive diagnosis that are likely to have a favorable outcome. With the investment of a little time and money, we can fix them up like new and find them great homes. Sherlock's case was not so simple. But just like owners hang in there with their own pets, we make a commitment to hang in there with the homeless pets that have no advocate... that's the purpose of our program and why we take medical cases in the first place. We are their "people" until they get people of their own.
Five months and many tests and procedures later… Sherlock has been diagnosed with a heart issue. Results of the consult with the canine cardiologist in our next newsletter!
PGSPCA IN THE COMMUNITY
PGSPCA Scholarship Helps Pre-Vet Students at University of Maryland By Cherelle Wells, PGSPCA Volunteer
As the recent headlines about student debt make clear, paying for college isn’t easy. Every little bit helps. Since 2014, PGSPCA has been helping by funding a University of Maryland scholarship aimed at pre-veterinary undergraduate students.
The annual need-based scholarship criteria are simple: to be eligible, you must be a full-time undergraduate student who has demonstrated financial need and is studying with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Preference is given to pre-vet students who are Maryland residents (or even better, Prince George’s County residents), says PGSPCA Fundraising Coordinator and Board Member Jennifer Kratz. “There is no separate application process. Scholarship recipients are chosen by the Office of Student Financial Aid and in coordination with the College (of Agriculture and Natural Resources).”
The latest PGSPCA scholarship recipient is Mary Fernandez, who has been interested in veterinary care since she was a child in India. She explains, “My interests shifted a little bit during college, where I became more intrigued by the study of animal behavior (ethology).” The 21-year-old Silver Spring resident is currently a research assistant at the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory and a laboratory animal technician at the Central Animal Resources Facility on UMD’s campus. She graduated in May and will be starting a PhD program in this fall at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
“The scholarship was unbelievably helpful during my last year of college,” she told us. Not having to worry about how to pay tuition gave Mary “the chance to focus on my last year, apply to very competitive PhD programs, prepare for interviews, present my research at conferences, etc. I am very grateful for the help that I received.”
Fernandez feels her background and training in animal care will help her succeed. “I love animals, and I think that sometimes understanding them is more useful to humans than a lot of the biomedical research out there," she said. "This is something that I mentioned in my commencement speech as well and truly something that I believe in.”
“Because these students have financial need, this scholarship helps towards their goals to graduate and begin their careers,” Kratz pointed out, adding, “This is the only scholarship that I know of that has been created by an animal welfare group in Maryland and we’re proud to be helping fund the next generation of animal science professionals.”
If you are interested in volunteering with the PGSPCA, then these events are for you!