Sox the dog, seen here in December 2011 with injuries caused by a rubber band wrapped around his snout (photo courtesy SPCA Tampa Bay)
Clearwater, Florida -- A puppy with a seriously infected muzzle is undergoing surgery Friday, the SPCA Tampa Bay says.
Sox, a 9-month-old Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle mix, was found by SPCA investigators with a rubber band encircling his muzzle that was cutting into the skin and jaw bone.
The SPCA says it was alerted to Sox's condition when when two young children told their school teacher they thought their puppy was "dying slowly in the bathroom," and the teacher then contacted them.
When investigators visited the home on December 12, they reportedly discovered the dog covered in feces and fleas, in addition to his muzzle injury. The dog was surrendered to the SPCA the following day, after his owner did not take Sox to the veterinarian.
Veterinarians say the infection opened a hole on top of the dog's muzzle that he breathes through in addition to his nostrils.
"It's not clear how well the wound will close up or what nerves have been damaged around Sox's nose," said SPCA CEO Martha Boden in a media release. "He will likely need extra care for chronic sinus issues, but he's eating well, and in many ways acts like a typical puppy."
The puppy will need some more time and care before he can be put up for adoption. The SPCA says an animal cruelty charge is pending against Sox's former owner.