Please help save our little boy, Haans!
My husband and I recently brought home two German shepherd puppies. Originally, the idea was to get just one puppy, a little girl. However, when we went to pick one out, we fell in love with the little boy. There was something not quite right with him, but no one knew what it was. Kyle and I became very worried about him, and decided that we should bring him home with us. We were worried that if we didn’t take him, no one else would. And if he went to a shelter, he would immediately be put down. So, he came home with us, and we named him Haans.
We thought he was just slow; developmentally stunted. But, once we got him home, we really got the chance to watch him, and we realized that there was a lot more wrong with him than we had previously thought. He walks in circles (always counter-clockwise), and has nystagmus in both eyes (also hard-wired to the left). He seems to be blind, constantly walks like he is drunk, has very poor balance, and is very vocal. Haans couldn’t even find his food and water bowl, and is impossible to potty train. He is also half the size of his sister, Luna, who was about 7.5 pounds (he was 3.3). In fact, he doesn’t even look like a shepherd; his head is very rounded and dome-like, and he has a short stubby snout, unlike the long and narrow face of German shepherds. One of his vets told us that if we said he was a Pomeranian, she wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
We became more and more worried about Haans. The very next morning we called around and tried to get him into a vet’s office. Only one was available, so we packed them up and took them in. The prognosis wasn’t good. The vet told us that he honestly had no idea what was wrong, but usually when something like this happens, the puppies get put down. Needless to say, Kyle and I were not happy with the way the appointment went, so on our next day off, we scheduled another appointment with a different vet in order to get another opinion.
The vets at the second hospital spent plenty of time with us, talking about symptoms, implications, tests and options for Haans. But ultimately, they gave us two options; we could either put Haans down, or we could treat him. Unfortunately, they believed that he had hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and the treatment for this disorder is a shunt, which drains the excess fluid and stops his brain from swelling more. But, the treatment could cost up to $5,000. Being fresh out of college, Kyle and I are both buried in school loans, and we knew we couldn’t afford a special needs puppy. But, we fell in love with him and we weren’t going to give up on him. They told us they could schedule a consultation with a neurologist and possibly get him an MRI which could cost up to $2,000 (and that's without the surgery!).
So, we have quite the decision to make. We want to give him a chance. He tries so hard to be a normal puppy; he tries to play and run with Luna, and he wags his tail and barks when he gets excited. And if we don’t give him a chance, no one else will. We don’t think it’s fair for him to lose his life just because we don’t have the money. But we also don’t want to put him through all of these procedures and pain just because we are being selfish and can’t handle losing him. Either way, we have decided that (even if he has to be put down) we need to know what his condition is. We wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if we didn’t know. What if we decided to put him down, and it turned out to be something simple, that could have easily been fixed? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself; we needed to know. So, we made an appointment with the neurologist.
We talked to the neurologist about his symptoms and possible outcomes. He took little Haans with him to do an exam, and when he came back he had some interesting news. He doesn’t think it is hydrocephalus. In fact, what we had previously thought to be a fontanel, he believes to be a puncture wound. He did a very quick ultrasound to see if he could examine the brain underneath the puncture. From what he could see, Haans’ brain was compressed to about 1/3 of the entire capacity of his skull. The rest of the volume was taken up by some kind of fluid. Haans’ brain was being severely compressed and was actually flattened by the pressure of all the fluid in his skull. He believes that the fluid is an abscess, possibly caused by bacteria that could have been introduced when he received the puncture wound. Or, it could just be a large mass on the left side of the brain (which would explain why he always circles to the left). However, he won’t know for sure without an ultrasound, aspirate, and MRI.
If this is an abscess and not hydrocephalus, the treatment could be easier than previously thought. He wouldn’t need a shunt. However, the tests that he needs in order to confirm his diagnosis are going to cost upwards of $5,000, and that’s before he receives any treatment. But, there’s more good news. The vet knows how financially tied we are right now, and really wants to see Haans get better. Apparently, what he’s seen with Haans is very rare and they’d like to study him. They want to put a case study together about him which could benefit both of us. Not only would it help teach people about this condition and possibly help other dogs in the future, but since they’d like to study him they might be willing to discount some of his procedures in order to make it possible for him to receive treatment.
Even though the discounted procedures certainly help to make the financial burden easier to bear, we still can’t afford it. And that’s why we’re submitting this. We need help in order to give Haans the chance that he deserves. If we needed the money for ourselves, we would never ask for it. But, Haans is like our baby. We love him so much, and we want him to get the care that he needs. It wouldn’t be fair if he didn’t. I truly believe that he could be a normal puppy, he just needs help.
We’ve decided to give Haans the ultrasound and aspirate. This way, we could get an estimation as to how big the mass is, and what it consists of (puss, bacteria, fluid, etc.). They’re also going to give him a strong antibiotic to see if maybe it could alleviate some of his symptoms. The doctor said that in order to know 100% what is going on, Haans needs the MRI, but we simply don’t have the funds to do that right now. We’re hoping that if we can get other people to fall in love with him the way that we did, maybe we can all come together and raise enough money to get him the MRI and treatment that he needs. We are believing that Haans is going to get better. He has to. We love him so much, and we’d do anything to help him. If we can get help financially, we have the time and patience and care he needs to get through this. It’s hard to give an estimate as to how much everything is going to cost for Haans, but the estimate of the ultrasound, aspirate, antibiotic, and testing is about $600, and that’s after the vets waived their consultation fees. The doctor gave us another estimate, which includes the MRI and associated tests, which is about $4,000. And he's going to need treatment which could be another $4-5,000. Please, if you have it to spare, help us save our little boy, he means so much to us. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I’m sure Haans would also like to thank you, too.
Amber, Kyle, Luna and Haans
He still spins, and gets dizzy every once in a while. But, if you just put your hand out to steady him, he'll stop and catch his balance. He can find the door on his own, and (most of the time) goes to the door when he has to pee.
We believe he may have hypothyroidism which would account for his chronic ear infections and skin issues, but that will only require a blood test to diagnose, which should happen in the next week or two.
Other than that, we couldn't be happier with our little man. He's come such a long way, and I'm SO incredibly proud of him. And I want to thank every single one of you, because without you he wouldn't be here today. You guys saved his life, and I mean that with all sincerity. If any of you are ever in our neck of the woods, it would mean so much for you to stop by and meet him!
On the other hand, Haans has been really good! When I brought Kyle home from the hospital, Haans was really uneasy. He barked and ran away for a while. But eventually, Haans slowly started to warm up and wander closer and closer to Kyle. Which is wonderful, because Kyle missed him SO much and he really wanted to cuddle but he cant bend over or pick anything up. It made Kyle so happy.
Luna is doing well too. She was elated to see Kyle when he came home. They will both be turning 6 months old on the 29th of this month, so its time for Luna to get fixed! So were dropping her off today after work, and well be picking her up on Friday. We cuddled with her as much as possible last night, I don't know what im going to do without her for two days!
Were going to have to wait to get Haans his appointment for a while now. Its a long ride, and I cant handle Haans on my own, so we have to wait for Kyle to heal up. But ill try to update more often, thank you everyone so much.
On another note, we're trying to help Haans with his nystagmus. We think that his nystagmus has a lot to do with his circling. Note only do his eyes shift constantly, he has a lazy eye. So, while one may be looking straight, the other is off to the side, which makes him very dizzy because both eyes are also constantly moving from side to side. We think that maybe he is circling because he just can't see straight. We believe that if we can help him to correct it a bit, maybe he wouldn't be so disoriented all the time.
Kyle came up with the idea to make a patch for him, so that we can cover one eye and see if he maneuvers better. His left eye is the lazy eye, so Kyle made an eye patch and covered it up, and he seemed to be doing so much better! I'm not sure if he seemed to be doing so well because we wanted him to, or if he could just see straight for a change. We're going to continue doing this to see if anything changes. We're going to switch eyes so we can observe how he acts with both eyes, but once we find out which eye is the better one, we'll cover the better one so he is forced to use the bad one. The more he uses the bad eye, the stronger it will get, and hopefully we can (at least a little bit) correct his problem. We'll probably do both eyes eventually, but we'll start with the bad eye first.
Anyway, Kyle got very creative with the eye patch, and we got some great pictures, so I thought I'd share them. :) He really hated it and constantly tried to get it off. We have to find a better way to make sure it stays on. It only took him about two hours to get the eye patch off.
no update for 11 days, is the puppy still alive or does he no longer require surgery??
I DONT HAVE MONEY TO DONATE AS I LIVE IN A 17FT TRAILER WITH 4 DOGS OF VARIOUS SIZES AND AGES BUT I HAVE PASSED ON YR STORY TO FACEBOOK AND HAVE TWEETED YR STORY THERE TOO. I WISH U ALL THE LUCK AND MY PRAYERS ARE WITH U. LITTLE HAANS IS SOOOO CUTE, I WILL PRAY FOR HIM EVERY NITE. GOD BLESS
Hi, What is the name of Haans' Facebook page?
We have some new videos. We will be posting them very soon.
Is there a new video?
are there any updates on the puppy??
Amber, I shared the story of Haans on My timeline to help get the word out to more people, I wish I could do more to help out, I am a animal lover and hate to see any animal in pain, I just wish I could do more. please let Me know how He's doing and I'll keep putting the video up to help as much as I can
Sorry, email is email@example.com if you would like the vet's info
I left this same comment with my donation but I really want to make sure you see it so I'm posting again :) It's very admirable of you two to give this sweet boy a chance at life. I am a German shepherd lover and owner as well. I want to let you know my GSD had a very similar issue. It ended up being an abscess. The first vet didn't know what was wrong (possibility of brain tumor was mentioned), wanted to do an MRI and didn't end up helping him at all. In fact, they made the abscess worse. That same day we took him to a second vet who knew right away what was wrong. He had an employee hold a hot pack on his head for a while and the vet was able to draw out the abscess that day. They think the abscess may have been caused by eating a stick or something like that. Anyways if you live anywhere near MA and would like another opinion, email me and I can give you the name of the vet who fixed Buddy's abscess. He is a great vet with many years of experience and very fair prices. Best of luck to you!! I pray that it all works out for you and Haans.
The breeder should be paying for some. What state are you in and what vet clinic are you using?
Have you notified the breeder of Hans?