K9 Was ‘Minutes From Death': Vet

A San Diego Police K9 injured in a Friday S.W.A.T is lucky to be alive according to the veterinarian who operated on the dog.

Earp, an 8-year old German Shepherd, was rushed to the VCA Main Street Small Animal Hospital literally minutes after he had been stabbed by a suspect in an El Cajon standoff Friday morning.

The dog, that was set to retire in several months, suffered a severed blood vessel in the attack and had lost a lot of blood.

"Fortunately the officer got here very quickly which was what saved his life," said Robert Tugend, D.V.M. "It was minutes between his injury and the time he was on the operating table."

It was difficult to find Earp's wound at first. Handling police dogs are always tricky according to the vet, because even when they are injured they can attack those who are trying to help them.

"He had lost a lot of blood in the police car," Tugend said. "And every time he moved he was losing substantial amounts of blood."

Close to a dozen officers, including captains, waited while medical staff stopped the bleeding and replaced the blood.

For a dog who was minutes away from not making it, Earp is now back on his feet. He will have stitches in his neck for about 10 days and will need to replace some blood before they can determine if he's ready to get back to work,according to Tugend.

As for his role in saving the life of a San Diego Police officer, Dr. Tugend said, "It’s gratifying to save a police officer but it would’ve been the same for your dog."

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