AFTR was contacted recently by the Abandoned Terrier Rescue in Southern California about a dog they had taken in that needed a lot of help.
Belle was relinquished to Abandoned Terrier Rescue in Southern California just before Christmas, 2012. Even though she was only 8 months old, she was in a deplorable condition. She was soaked in urine and the pungent odor of it signaled infection. Both her eyes were edematous and she appeared to have blind spots on the cornea. Her coat was matted and stained with urine.
Belle was given up by a young, inexperienced dog owner who initially contacted ATRA about Belle’s incontinence. She had purchased Belle for $50 on Craig’s list from a person who represented that a breeder she worked for gave her Belle. Belle arrived in her new home wet with urine. The new owner thought it was because she was “in the crate too long” on the ride north from San Diego. But it actually turned out to be a much more complicated issue than that.
The owner initially contacted rescue about Belle’s incontinence. She dealt with it by leaving Belle outside. Even in California, December nights are cold. Can you imagine a puppy, its fur saturated in its urine, having to choose between sleeping on the ground or in the urine soaked bedding of her crate? ATRA told the owner to immediately get Belle to a vet because at Belle’s young age, infection was a likely explanation for the incontinence, and asked that she then contact them after Belle had been to the vet.
At the vet, the owner not only learned about the urinary tract infection, but also that Belle had an eye condition that needed ophthalmic evaluation. If left untreated, Belle could become totally blind. She called them back, not to give an update, but to relinquish Belle.
Belle’s foster took her to a vet immediately and started treatment for the infection and as soon as possible took her to the ophthalmologist.
Belle’s eye condition was diagnosed as persistent pupillary membrane (PPM). It is a congenital/inherited condition in which fetal membranes that are a source of blood supply in utero, do not resolve completely as they should. In Belle’s case, the membranes presented as strands of tissue attached to her cornea. She was prescribed an ointment to help with the edema and to keep her comfortable. The vet said the condition could progress to blindness, remain stable, or improve. Fortunately, Belle’s edema has significantly lessened and her eyes have improved although she will always have the blind spots resulting from her lack of earlier treatment.
While Belle’s eyes were being treated, they searched for the source of her incontinence as it did not resolve after her infection was cured. They tried 2 different medications. They too, were ineffective. Belle suffered two more bladder infections.
At that point ATRA felt consultation with experts would help Belle the most. So she was taken to the UC Davis Veterinary School where they actually have veterinary urologists. Even though it was a nearly 500 mile drive for her foster, they were confident that Belle would have the best possible care and evaluation there.
Special studies (cystoscopy, ultrasound to determine ectopic ureters, urethral profile, and kidney scan showed that Belle had various conditions that could account for her incontinence but most likely it was the lack of tone in her urethra. Sadly, the kidney scan indicated that Belle’s left kidney was non-functional. Because Belle’s bladder infection was left untreated too long, the infection spread to and destroyed her kidney. Because the kidney could contribute to the recurrent infections, the vets recommended removal.
When Belle was barely a year old, she underwent surgery in addition to all the listed procedures. Her looks and her charm made her the darling of the hospital. She recovered quickly and was once again a spunky, sassy terrier. She has had no more urinary tract infections, confirming the vets’ suspicions that the infected kidney was contributing to the problem. Belle was sent home with a new combination of drugs to help with the incontinence. It worked—for a while. Sadly, Belle is incontinent again.
The vets at Davis have offered one more option for Belle—a urethral occluder implant. It has been used successfully and is considered a superior option to any other treatment for incontinence.
As you can imagine, ATRA's vet bills were astronomical. When they contacted AFTR, we had to help. Because we have such awesome supporters, we were able to help with a very large check to cover a great deal of Belle's medical costs, but we would like to try to replace some of that funding for other dogs that come along. We thought Belle was worth it. Because of that, we're reminding you that we always need help with the dogs coming in. We have a few that are old and long-term (end of life) fosters that we are paying medical costs on that need your support. And because of you, we were able to help ATRA with Belle.
So please, remember we are always in need - and your donations go a long way to helping a lot of dogs! Your donations are tax deductible and they make you feel good, too!
Please click any Donate button on our site to make a paypal donation, or if you'd prefer to mail a check, you may do so to:
8738 Prestwick Parkway
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
She’s had a rough beginning but we think, with this state of the art surgery, ATRA has a good shot at getting her in the best condition she can be in so she can soon be adopted to a forever home. She is young, cute and active. She loves children and gets along with most dogs. She has had some training and is eager to please. She has lots of energy and lots of love to give. The only thing she lacks is health insurance and a savings account!