SPCA and Lakeland firefighters together help animals injured by fire

By: Holly Bounds - LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) A new partnership between the Lakeland Fire Department and SPCA Florida is already paying off.  Thursday, firefighters rescued a dog from a house fire on Central Avenue in Lakeland.  The small terrier-mix was lethargic and had trouble standing up, due to the smoke inhalation.  But a trip to SPCA Florida for care has the dog nearly ready for release.

In the past, firefighters struggled with how to handle animals that were injured by fire. "We would rescue animals and would have to literally go to the phone book and look for a vet that would receive the animal," Lakeland Fire Battalion Chief Mike Williams said.

Under the new agreement, SPCA Florida is the go-to for the animals.  And the treatment they get there is outstanding, Williams said. Besides the oxygen cage the dog is housed in, she goes into a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for periods of an hour at a time for therapy.

The chamber helps remove the carbon monoxide from the red blood cells, Williams said. The care doesn't stop there. Along with a nice warm bath to wash the soot away, the SPCA Florida staff is providing a good share of TLC.

"My immediate feelings were get this dog some help- we didn't need a casualty, SPCA Florida Vet Tech Lisa Coiner said.

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