Q&A With Dr Anthony Pardo About His Experiences Treating Rocco the Police Dog

February 25th, 2014

ExpertVet is pleased to bring you an exclusive interview with Dr Anthony Pardo, Founder and Surgeon at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Clinic, who treated Rocco the police dog who tragically lost his life in the line of duty.

How did you first hear about the case?

Rocco was brought in by his handler and other officers immediately after the suspect was apprehended.

What was it like when they brought Rocco into your hospital?

I was not on duty that night, but he was attended to by the ER staff and criticalist.  Once the situation was deemed to require surgery input, our on call surgeons came in to care for him along with the ICU staff.

How did the treatment go?

Surgery occurred in the middle of the night with two surgeons, and anesthesiologist and several emergency and critical care doctors also in attendance along with the critical care support staff.

What were the reactions of the police / the public to the incident?

This was a very emotional event for the officers who worked closely with Rocco – he was their partner and might very well have saved his handler’s life in this case.  The public was extremely engaged at every turn of events.  The whole city was pulling for Rocco.

What kind of treatment did Rocco receive?

Rocco had two surgeries and multiple blood transfusions and intensive care. Rocco initially stabilized, but then declined, with a second improvement, followed by his final decline.

How did the incident make you feel?

Very proud to work with such a dedicated, caring, and talented group of doctors and technicians whose sole focus was to pull Rocco through this. Although we did not succeed in saving Rocco, the staff is convinced that all that could be offered was in fact done for Rocco.   It was also a very emotional time, with the pressure from the media at all times and being surrounded by the multitude of officers with heavy heart for almost 48 hours straight.

What did you / your staff learn from this incident?

A reinforcement of how well this veterinary team can work together to attempt to save a life and how much compassion there is amongst our staff.  Our staff also developed a strong connection to our law enforcement officers, the job they perform every day, and the risks they take to ensure our safety.

Thanks Dr Pardo!