Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Today's Dog on the Blog: Belinda Gets a Second Chance

This is Belinda. She had serious medical challenges that would normally doom a shelter dog to the "euth list".

But Belinda was one of the lucky ones who had devoted volunteers determined to get her out of the shelter and make her well again!

Belinda came from South Carolina. She had what was thought to be a mammary tumor. She also was high heartworm positive. The top photo shows a sad Belinda in her kennel at the shelter, wondering if anyone would choose her to go home with them.

As soon as she arrived here, she went to our vet, Dr. John Stern of Needville Animal Clinic, to remove her mammary tumor. To his surprise, when he opened Belinda up, she had multiple mammary tumors all along her mammary glands. He removed tumors all the way from her chest down to her pelvis. Then he removed her uterus, not just because it is always best to spay and neuter, but also because the removal of her uterus would stop the secretion of hormones that were aiding the growth of the tumors.

As you can imagine, Belinda was one tired and sore girl when she came home from the hospital! She had an incision that ran down the entire length of her body. She spent days recuperating in our bed, and then began some limited exercise.

Then she developed "the cough" that is so common with heartworm positive dogs, and often signals that death is imminent! She was too fragile for "The Treatment" for heartworms at the vet's office. And she was so infested with heartworms, she really did not have time for low doses of Ivermectin to work, because that takes anywhere from twelve to thirty six months!

Fortunately, our rescue friend, Kim Fairchild, told us about a holistic heartworm medication that was much gentler than "The Treatment" but worked faster than Ivermectin. We got some for Belinda and within two weeks her cough was gone.

Today, Belinda shows no obvious signs of heartworms, and she is a happy, healthy girl. She has never moved from our house to a play yard outside. She has become a permanent member of our "house" pack! She stands at the dining room window and barks at the dogs in the back play yard. She rolls around on the sofa on her back, looking for just the right position to take a nap. When it storms and she sees lightning, she runs up the stairs to the top of the stairwell and hides until the storm blows over.

Belinda still has one more operation she needs, to remove any tumors on the opposite side of her body, but we have been waiting for the heartworm medication to fully do its job and for Belinda to have her full strength and energy back. Dr. Stern says her prognosis is very good, and she has many good years left to live!

The lower photo shows our Belinda today, happily relaxing on our bed upstairs. Thanks to the dedication of the volunteers who made it possible for her to be rescued and come to our farm, Belinda got the medical care she needed and is a normal, happy Rottweiler girl with a future ahead of her!

Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
a 501(c)3 corporation
wharton, texas

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