PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Pittsburgh police K-9 that was injured in line of duty is continuing to recover at the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty Emergency Center.

Rocco, an 8-year old German Shepherd who been a member of the Pittsburgh Police force since 2008, suffered a stab wound Tuesday night.

He was pursuing 21-year old Megan’s Law violator John Rush in Lawrenceville.

He likely saved the life of his handler and two other officers who were injured in the confrontation.

Rocco has improved, but is not out of the woods.

Dr. Tony Pardo says he still considers Rocco to be in serious condition, but not critical like last night.

“Rocco is more alert and responding as sedation is wearing off. His blood tests are becoming more normal and he is no longer bleeding. He has been upgraded to serious but still remains critical,” Dr. Pardo said in a statement.

Rocco underwent a final blood transfusion last night.

Doctors say at this point, it appears that he will live, but they’ll have to wait until he wakes up from sedation to know the chances of him working again.

Rocco will have to undergo another relatively minor surgery in the future to remove packing in his abdomen that was used to stop bleeding.

Dr. Pardo says the hospital has been overwhelmed by calls from people who want to bring their own dogs in to donate blood.

Dr. Pardo also advised that no more blood donations are needed at this time.

However, if people are still interested in being part of the blood donor program for long-term blood donations, they can contact the Rogan Rexford Blood Bank at (412)-348-2588. You can also visit the Animal Care and Assistance Fund website.

Dr. Pardo says it’s not as simple as just coming in. It takes time to be tested and become a contributing member of the program.

Pittsburgh Police issued a statement today thanking members of the community for their support.

They say no donations are needed to cover Rocco’s medical expenses, which will be paid by the city.

A fund for Rocco was set up by the FOP in the hours after the incident due to overwhelming support from the community.

The donated money will either be returned to donors or used for Rocco’s continued care in retirement or used to purchase vests for K-9s.

KDKA’s resident veterinarian Dr. Mike Hutchinson isn’t Rocco’s vet but works with many other police dog and he joined KDKA Radio’s Larry Richert and John Shumway to give his expert opinion on the surgery that Rocco went through and recovery that lies ahead for the K-9.

Listen to Larry Richert and John Shumway every weekday from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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