No good deed goes unpunished.
That was something my mom used to say, and when I was a kid, I never really got it. But, since working in animal rescue, I’ve come to a clear and intimate understanding of what it means. I’m living it again right now.
A couple of months ago, I told you about a little Maltese named Wolfie. He’s the dog that I arranged to foster for a woman we befriended at the nursing home where Dalene was getting her post-stroke therapy. He is a doll baby. His mama, Anne, hadn’t seen him in 2 years, and now that he lives with me, I’m able to take him to visit 2 or 3 times a week. I did this for Anne, because I can’t imagine being stuck in some facility and not being able to see my dogs.
Fostering Wolfie has not been without issues, and we’ve been working through them the best we can. There was the not- answering-to-his-name issue, and the won’t-sleep-through-the-night issue, and there is the ongoing barking-&-whining-because-apparently-he-likes-the-sound-of-his-own-voice issue. They are all behaviors that we are working to correct. But things took a turn this week, and now we’re faced with something we can’t correct. Wolfie is one of five dogs in our home. Besides the extra costs, now there is also the realization that he will probably not be with us all that long.
Wolfie received a senior wellness exam in late October. Everything looked good except his eyes — which were not producing tears — and his liver enzymes, which were elevated. I had the vet run more tests to get a better idea of what we were dealing with. She prescribed an ointment for his eyes, and suggested that I supplement his food with milk thistle to support his liver. So, I did both of those things, and took him back in to follow up this week. The vet ran the same tests again, and while his eyes are very much improved, his liver is tanking. His ALT enzyme is 769, up from 479 in October. The normal range tops out at 121. His ALP enzyme is 970, same as it was in October. The normal range tops out at 160.
I had a long talk with the vet about what this might mean and whether or not there’s a way to figure out if he’s got a cancerous tumor or chronic hepatitis, or even the very rare Addison’s disease. There are some very expensive tests that might tell us (MRI, Ultra-sound), but the treatment is the same no matter what it is: Denamarin. (that’s not exactly true — if it’s chronic hepatitis, he might also be helped with a steroid — but after a lot of discussion, we’re not going there.) The little guy just turned fourteen, so this liver business will probably eventually be the end of him. For Anne’s sake, I’d like to make that as distant an eventuality as possible.
Denamarin is a supplement that contains milk thistle, but also SAMe. A thirty-day supply from the vet is $53.00. (It’s cheaper online, only $26 from 1-800 PETMEDS or Drs Foster & Smith). Wolfie’s eye ointment is $83 for 3 tubes, and has to be compounded. In addition to the meds, I’m going to have to put him on a special food as soon as I find one suitable. It has to be high in easily digestible protein (like fish, egg, turkey, or chicken), low in fat, high in antioxidants, and low in potassium and copper. If you have any recommendations, please comment below. He’ll have to go in a couple of times a year to check his enzyme levels. That runs roughly $140. He’ll also have to be groomed a couple of times a year at a cost of about $40 a pop.
Wolfie’s mama, Anne, is a ward of the state. She receives Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, and the majority of her money goes toward paying for the facility where she is living. She gets about fifty dollars in spending money a month for everything else she needs. Though her guardian had a little money on hand for Wolfie’s recheck and his eye meds, that fund is finite. I’ll work it all out somehow, but I just wanted to put this out there, in case any of my readers would like to sponsor him, or donate to his care.
If you are so inclined, here’s how you can help out:
- Send us some Denamarin: DrsFoster&Smith.com
ship to: Up on the Woof, 2225 Columbia Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141
- Make a donation to the vet for Wolfie’s care:
Bartels Pet Hospital, 7051 Mill Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141 440-526-4818
Please include a note that the money should be credited to Wolfie Wulff’s account.
- Donate via Paypal: send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to send me an email that your donation is for Wolfie’s ongoing care (food, eye meds, grooming)
–———–FEB 1 UPDATE——————————————————
Just wanted to update everyone on developments in the Wolfie-sphere. I was able to get into contact with his former vets, and one of them was a specialist who saw him for the liver issue. He was diagnosed in 2014 with Cushings and put on a medication. I did not receive any info about this when he was handed over to me, nor did I receive medication for it from his former foster mom. I sent these records over to his current vet, who called me to discuss them after she reviewed them. She now suggests a STEM test to find out if he still has Cushings, or if he was over-medicated and it rebounded into Addisons. He is scheduled to have that test on Feb 14. The cost will be a little more than $200., so donations are welcome and appreciated. I may also start a gofundme for this.
Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time researching foods for one that will be beneficial to him. Today I went to PetValu and talked the people there, and we looked at various brands. I came home with a bag of NULO Freestyle Adult Trim. The base is fish, so it is high in protein but low in fat. It is also loaded with lots of anti-oxidants.
I also stumbled across a website called doglivershunt.com which is a site for people whose dogs have liver issues. They recommend spring water and a home-cooked diet plus supplements, so I may go that route in the near future. The supplements are not expensive, but the plan calls for a combination of 4 of them, and that *is* expensive.
And the beat goes on . . .