Animals rescued from hoarding situations often suffer from a variety of maladies, ranging from mild infection to severe, debilitating disease. Hoarded animals can also have behavior problems, some severe enough to prevent them from being adoptable. However often beneath the fleas and mats is an animal with a heart of gold. Despite abominable living conditions, neglect and cruelty, their spirit cannot be broken, and when placed in a new home these animals flourish as loving companions. But what to do when the rescued animals require extensive medical care, the cost of which far outstrip the resources of your shelter? With a bit of fundraising, public campaigning, and help from other local shelters many animals can find their forever homes despite being “special needs”.
On March 10th, 2014, the SPCA of Tompkins County received a transfer of five dogs from Wanderer’s Rest Humane Association (http://wanderersrest.org/) in Canastota, NY. The five dogs: Bean, Levi, Cheech, Chooch and Humphrey, were driven to the SPCA to get the extensive medical care they required. After physical examination, routine blood work, fecal analysis and urinalysis some dogs were discovered to have serious underlying problems.
Humphrey (above) was a known resource guarder. We soon discovered that Humphrey also had a collapsing trachea and medial luxating patellas, two conditions common in small breed dogs. Advanced testing also revealed he had a vascular abnormality known as a portosystemic shunt (PSS). A blood vessel bypassing his liver allows toxins to circulate in his bloodstream. Luckily, Humphrey is scheduled to get surgery to ligate the vessel through the help of some generous donors!
Levi arrived blind, with numerous scars from old burns and severe dental disease. Levi was diagnosed with inactive chorioretinitis by the wonderful staff at Cornell University’s ophthalmology service. He tested negative for Brucella (one potential cause of his blindness), given oral dental care and neutered.
Cheech and Chooch both had severe dental disease and received treatment with extractions. With minty fresh breath Chooch went to his new home with an owner who loves him to bits. Cheech quickly followed suit.
Thank you all who made this transfer possible to save these wonderful dogs!