April 25, 2012 - Brandon Twp.- Five dogs were seriously burned when a shed fire spread to their attached kennels this week.
The dogs, Llewellian setters, suffered second and third degree burns. One of the dogs had to be euthanized.
According to police and fire reports, deputies and township firefighters were called to a home in the 500 block of Granger Road at about 5:32 p.m., April 23. Upon arrival, emergency responders found a 10x10 outbuilding that was fully involved in fire. A kennel run fence was attached. A man at the home had seen smoke coming from the shed and released the dogs from the kennels prior to the arrival of deputies and firefighters, who then assisted him and the homeowner in getting the dogs into a kennel away from the fire.
Fire Chief David Kwapis said firefighters got the blaze under control relatively quickly, but the shed was a total loss.
While township firefighters have seen pets succumb to heat and smoke in house fires, the kennel fire is the first in the township in at least the past 25 years.
"We're sorry for the loss of the dog,"said Kwapis, who noted that firefighters gave the animals oxygen using a special mask. "These pets are members of the family. As a dog owner I understand that completely. I wish we could have done more for them."
The cause of the fire is undetermined and still under investigation.
Ronnie Mitchell, kennel owner, transported the dogs to Dunckel Veterinary Hospital in Davison for treatment.
"This is very traumatic and hard to deal with," said Mitchell. "I'm not sure how long the dogs will be at the vet, we just have to watch and see how they progress."
Dr. Kurt Dunckel, who is treating the four surviving dogs, said they are doing "very well."
Care of dogs who have been burned is similar to humans, he said. With dogs, ice is placed on the burns, as well as special ointment, and supportive care includes IVs and nutritional supplements. Pain control is essential and with severe burns, narcotics including morphine are given, sometimes in patch form.
The prognosis of burned animals depends on the severity of the case and how the individual animal responds.
In 30 years as a vet, Dunckel has experience treating pets who have been through a fire, usually house fires, although not often. Typically, smoke inhalation that causes inflammatory problems in the lungs is more of a problem than burns.
Major burns can take several weeks to heal for an animal and it may take several months for a dog's fur to return, if ever.
"These dogs are doing well," said Dunckel. "They may have some issues yet, but I'm pretty sure they will have a full recovery."
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville