This comes from our friends at the Trio Animal Foundation in Chicago:
TAF wanted to tell you a situation that we are often faced with. It is one of those times that really questions how much one can deal with (both canine and human) and the quality of an animal’s life.
The pup in the pictures name is Heidi and she has been at a rural pound since February. Since funding was low, Heidi never received treatment for her heartworm and she has been sitting and waiting all of this time. When TAF heard about Heidi’s plight, we agreed to take her in without meeting her. We were told that she was 6-7 years old and was only heartworm positive. However, when we met her on Saturday, her condition was much worse than the information provided.
Heidi looked to be about 10 years old and when she got out of the car she couldn’t fully lift her head and she had trouble walking. It was obvious that she was in a lot of pain. Extremely concerned about her medical condition, we took her right to the vet.
Upon x-rays of her chest, back and hips, it was discovered that Heidi suffered from Spondylosis deformans. Spondylosis deformans is a condition that affects the vertebral bones of the spine and is characterized by the presence of bony spurs or ‘osteophytes’ along the edges of the bones of the spine. A bony spur may develop in a single spot on the spine; more commonly, there will be multiple bone spurs in several different locations along the spine. The most common places that spondylosis deformans lesions develop are along the thoracic vertebrae (chest), especially at the junction between the rib cage and the abdomen, in the lumbar spine (lower back) and in the lumbosacral spine (around the hips and back legs). In some cases the bony spurs may become large enough that they appear to form a complete bridge between adjacent vertebral bones.
In addition to this, many of her teeth were missing and others were broken off and or rotting. Besides already knowing that she was heartworm positive, a full senior blood panel showed that all of her organs were doing ok and that she was just anemic.
So this is where the difficult decisions come in and the quality of Heidi’s life must be addressed. At this point, we are not going to start heartworm treatment. If we cannot get Heidi’s pain under control, than she will be humanely euthanized. We realize that she has been sitting on the hard floor of a shelter since February and that she was transported to us in a small crate. For sure that has played a factor in her pain level.
Our game plan is to have her released from the vet and have Heidi go into a foster home where she will continue to receive anti-inflammatory and pain medication. We are hopeful that once she is in a quiet setting and can receive massages and sleep on an orthopedic bed that she will start feeling better. Her foster home has no stairs and was once fully equipped to deal with the medical needs of our Trio when she was having difficulty with her back, etc.
We are going to pair Heidi up with Hazel Grace so that she has a buddy to lie with. This will be the first “big” that Hazel Grace has been paired up with and we think that she will bring her some comfort without being overwhelming. In any case, she will know that she is loved.
We will keep you updated on Heidi’s condition. Please pray that we make the right decisions and have the strength to do right by Heidi. Her needs and well-being are all that we care about… thanks.
If you would like to help sponsor Heidi’s care, please consider making a donation at www.trioanimalfoundation.org. You can earmark your donation “Heidi”. If you are making a donation via a smartphone and are not given the opportunity to earmark your donation, please forward your receipt confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heidi is now in a foster home resting on a Sealy dog bed with another fluffy dog bed over it. She will no longer be sleeping on a cold shelter floor.
Heidi is receiving pain medication 2-3 times a day, getting massages and spending some time outside. Hazel Grace and I played hooky from work today and are spending the day with her. We are going to head out to the grocery store and buy Heidi some ground beef, chicken and steak. Our old girl deserves to be treated like a queen after everything that she has been through. We will make her as happy and comfortable as possible.