"He is the thinnest dog we have ever seen that was still breathing," the Kentucky Humane Society wrote of 38-pound Ethan

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dog gets second chance
Credit: Kentucky Humane Society

Ethan is fighting to start a new, kinder chapter in his life.

The dog was dumped in the parking lot of the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) on Jan. 29, where he was found by someone dropping off donations at the rescue. Immediately after finding the emaciated canine on their property, KHS rushed Ethan to their veterinary services department to get an idea of the dog's condition.

KHS made some grim discoveries as they went to work trying to save the dog's life. Ethan — a name given to him by the shelter — was so weak when arrived, he couldn't lift his head. The large dog only weighed 38 pounds, a far cry from the 80 pounds a healthy dog his size should weigh.

"He is the thinnest dog we have ever seen that was still breathing," KHS shared in a blog post about Ethan's rescue.

Along with his skin-and-bones frame, Ethan suffered from dehydrated skin and muscle loss. He also reeked of feces and urine. KHS believes, based on the dog's condition, that Ethan was locked in a crate for weeks without food before being abandoned in the shelter's parking lot. Luckily, Ethan's mistreatment ended the second he entered KHS. During his first vet visit, Ethan received much-needed fluids and warm blankets.

dog gets second chance
Credit: Kentucky Humane Society

In the early morning of Jan. 30, the day after Ethan arrived at KHS, the dog began to breathe rapidly and show some neurological symptoms, like involuntary twitching. In response, KHS rushed him to an emergency animal hospital. Ethan is still at hospital, where he is working hard to regain his strength and start his second chance at life.

"He has began eating and drinking again but he has to be held up to bite and swallow because he is too weak to hold up his own head. We are taking it very slow and steady and are hoping that he is strong enough to fight. He is having his blood work monitored closely and is under 24 hour supervision with supportive care, iv fluids and medications," KHS wrote of Ethan's current condition, adding that "we've never wanted so badly for an animal to survive and be able to have the happy ending they so desperately deserve."

dog gets second chance
Credit: Kentucky Humane Society

On Feb. 1, KHS provided an update on Ethan, giving the dog a "50/50 chance" of surviving the neglect he has endured. Small victories — like Ethan's continued interest in eating and drinking, and the occasional tail wag — are giving KHS and Ethan's growing number of fans hope that he can pull through.

The hospital is still running Ethan's blood work to get a better idea of what could be causing his neurological symptoms — though those have lessened as Ethan regains some strength.

dog gets second chance
Credit: Kentucky Humane Society

"It really seems like our entire city has come together to pull for this special baby and we cannot explain to you how grateful we are for every single helping hand," KHS wrote of Ethan's story in a blog post.

Along with asking for prayers and positive thoughts for Ethan, KHS is also asking for help determining how the dog ended up in this condition. Anyone who may have information about Ethan's past and how he ended up in the KHS parking lot, should contact Louisville Metro Animal Services at 502-473-PETS.

For continued updates on Ethan, and to donate to his care, please visit KHS' Facebook page.