Vets pair up with charity to save dog with heat stroke


QUEENS, NY – It happened in the blink of an eye – one minute Diesel was happy and alert, the next the 4-year-old pit bull was dragging his hind leg and weaving as he walked.

The playful pup had spent the morning of Monday, June 19 romping in the park with one of his owners, Jason de la Cruz, and his housemate, a beagle named Charlie. But now Diesel was refusing to move and was clearly in distress.

De la Cruz quickly sought help from Diesel’s primary care veterinarian, who diagnosed the dog with severe heat stroke with a temperature of 107. A dog’s normal temperature is around 102 degrees.

The veterinarian took steps to cool Diesel down, but he was suffering from bloody diarrhea and his red blood cell count plummeted. The veterinarian recommended transferring Diesel to BluePearl hospital in Queens, which has the board-certified veterinarians and advanced equipment necessary to treat severe cases of heat stroke.

Dr. Yuki Tse, a critical care specialist with BluePearl, said Diesel’s blood sugar was extremely low and his blood was not clotting properly. After stabilizing the pup, she gave him a plasma transfusion and then a full blood transfusion.

But Diesel’s care wasn’t cheap. De la Cruz and his girlfriend, Ariane Abolencia, applied for credit to cover the expense, but the cost was still beyond their reach. That’s when the BluePearl doctors decided to step in.

Together, the doctors pooled funds they receive from Frankie’s Friends, a national charity that provides financial assistance for families with pets who need lifesaving care.

“Diesel is a spunky young pup with a good prognosis for a long and healthy life with the right treatment,” said Dr. Tse. “Our hearts really went out to his owners and we wanted to do what we could to help them reunite.”

It was a huge relief for de la Cruz and Abolencia. They adopted Diesel when he was just a puppy. They describe him as a sweet dog and a “big doofus” who loves to crawl into bed with them and steal the covers.

“We were just so thankful,” Abolencia said. “We can’t say enough about the care Diesel got from BluePearl – and we’re especially thankful to Dr. Tse for refusing to give up on him!”

After several days of care, Diesel began to show signs of improvement. He ate a few slices of deli turkey and some rotisserie chicken. And his red blood cell count began moving in the right direction. The best news of all came Sunday when Diesel was discharged from BluePearl to his family.

“This is the kind of outcome we always hope for,” said Danielle Martin, Executive Director of Frankie’s Friends. “It’s why our organization exists. We’re hopeful Diesel and his owners will have many more happy years of wrestling over the covers together.”