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Houston launches air ambulance program for injured K-9s

K-9 Sita became the first test pilot dog, allowing paramedics to train in emergency animal care

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Houston Police Department

By Suzie Ziegler

HOUSTON — A medical helicopter service has launched a new program that caters to police K-9s injured in the line of duty.

According to KHOU, the program with Memorial Hermann Life Flight is the first of its kind in the country.

Houston Police K-9 Sita, as the first test subject, played a key role in getting the program started.

“She was the test pilot for the program and first dog to fly on a Life Flight helicopter,” Officer Kristin Uhlin, Sita’s handler, told KHOU.

Sita rode in the helicopter with Life Flight nurses and paramedics while they trained with veterinarians in emergency animal care, said KHOU.

“We went from starting IVs to establishing airways, wound management to hydration – in event they are hemorrhaging,” Chief Life Flight Nurse Rudy Cabrera said.

The Life Flight team also developed an emergency K-9 kit and trained fire department emergency responders.

While in the helicopter the injured animals will be muzzled to maintain safety, according to KHOU. The K-9s will then be flown to an animal hospital.

Sita passed away in June at the age of 15 after serving with Houston Police for more than 13 years. Her legacy lives on as Life Flight’s first test pilot dog.

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