Taking Care of DeKalb’s K-9s

In July 2008, Twan, a DeKalb County Police canine, was shot in the face while investigating a robbery on Moreland Ave. Twan was transported to the North DeKalb Veterinary Clinic on Lawrenceville Hwy., where he was stabilized and his life saved. Twan is back on the job today, thanks to Dr. Max Katz and his staff, who have been caring for DeKalb County’s Police, Fire, Sheriff’s Dept. and School System canines for the last four years.


Dr. Max Katz, Officer Ronnie Viar and K-9 Officer Basa


Dr. Max Katz, Officer Ronnie Viar and K-9 Officer Basa (Photo provided by Dr. Max Katz)


In addition to a busy six day a week practice, Dr. Katz and his staff — which includes Dr. David Lloyd, past president of the Atlanta Veterinary Medical Society, Dr. Sylvia Bell, who has 15 years experience in emergency critical care, and Dr. Sandy Atkins — provide routine care for DeKalb’s canines including annual exams and vaccinations and emergency treatment when needed.


“We see a lot of cuts, scrapes and abrasions. They get hit and kicked, or jump off a wall and need knee surgery,” says Dr. Katz. “These dogs are worked very hard. In heat stress situations, they can become dehydrated very quickly.”


According to Dr. Katz, most police canines are German or Belgian Shepherds and the connection between the dogs and their handlers is a strong one. “These dogs are an extension of the officer. You can see the bond when they come in, and they are very focused on their handlers,” he says.


Dr. Katz walked away from a successful corporate career at age 34 to become a veterinarian, and is currently Executive Director of District 4 (DeKalb, Rockdale & Newton counties) of the Georgia Veterinary Medical Board Association. He is also head of the Veterinary Reserve Corps for the State of Georgia, where, along with Dr. Joanna Davis, he is responsible for animal welfare in the event of a disaster.


North DeKalb Veterinary Clinic is located at 2485 Lawrenceville Hwy., Decatur, and is open Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m.-12 p.m. The Clinic provides routine vaccinations, surgery, proactive and preventative medicine, as well as emergency care any time. Call 404-321-7756 for an appointment or go to www.northdekalbvet.com for more information.


— Dean Hesse

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