By Makenzie O'Keefe

LA PLATA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– There has been an immense increase in emergency medical cases since the beginning of 2021.
Since January, the La Plata Humane Society has seen an exponential increase of pets in need of emergency surgery or emergency medical care.

FILE PHOTO (iStock/Getty Images)

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“Within the last five weeks we’ve seen a pretty severe increase in those cases,” explained Chris Nelson, the Director of Animal Services with the La Plata Humane Society. “Two cats with injured legs, a cat with a collar embedded in its neck and a dog that had such severe glaucoma that she was in an excruciating amount of pain.”

A cat names Douglas was one of those cases. The cat had been missing for two months, and the non-breakaway collar he was wearing entangled his front leg and became embedded under his arm and into his chest. LPCHS had to perform emergency surgery to remove the collar.

Nelson says breakaway collars can greatly help to reduce an injury like this, for a cat.

“The breakaway collars can be lifesavers,” he said. “If you want to have a collar on your cat with tags, which is always a great idea, it should be that breakaway style.”

Microchipping is also an important way to find your pet if they go missing and could possibly prevent an emergency medical situation from occurring.

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“If a cat is lost, or a dog, and they come into an animal shelter or vet hospital, we scan them and can track that information back to you,” Nelson said.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In another case, a 4-year-old pit bull named Sunny came in with such severe glaucoma, it was damaging her eye nerves. Sunny’s eye had to be removed for her to live a pain-free life.

Nelson said thankfully, they were able to reunite Douglas and Sunny was adopted into a new home. He says with the increase in emergency surgeries as of late, LPCHS is asking for donations to help support their medical fund that treats pets in these dire situations.

“Donate to your local shelter,” Nelson said. “We want to do everything we can to give them a quality life, to save their lives, and we can’t do it without help from the public.”

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To learn more about Douglas or Sunny’s stories or to find ways you can help go to to donate.

Makenzie O'Keefe