Berg's Medical Bills due to an STD

The picture on the title page is of him leaving the Neurology Clinic.   The picture above is before he relapsed.
Here is his story... He was rescued from Canyon De Chelly, on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.  He was found by a lady visiting from Finland.  She contacted the Blackhat Humane Society who sent someone out to find him.  He was a starving big black dog (only weighed 50 lbs.)  and seemed to have a back/hip problem when he was found.  My family adopted him a week later.  We knew he was in pain but did not know why until we took him to the vet to be checked and neutered. It was discovered that he had an infection in his spine.  His first set of vet bills were $800.00.  He was on antibiotics for 6 weeks. He began to gain weight (he was up to 66 lbs.) and seemed to respond well to the antibiotics so we thought all was cured. He was turning into the dog my daughter always wanted; fun, playful and devoted to her.

Four weeks after finishing the meds, Berg became very ill and began to lose weight and was very lethargic.  He spent two nights ($2000.00) at the vet's office on pain meds and antibiotics.  X-rays showed that the infection had returned and was spreading (lesions on his spine).  Our vet conferred with a Neurology Clinic in Albuquerque, N.M. and it was determined that he needed to be seen at there.  So at 5:00 a.m. on a Friday morning I met our vet at the office and picked Berg up and drove him 3 1/2 hours to the neuro vet.  Upon their examination it was determined that he needed more x-rays and an MRI as well as more blood tests to determine what was causing the infection.  He was also not eating and was down to 60 lbs.

The MRI showed that his soft tissue was fine but that the infection was quite bad.  He was also in a lot of pain.  The vet was optimistic and felt that we could try to cure him.  We left the vet after paying the $5200.00 bill which included $900.00 worth of medication.  He is taking 18 pills a day.  21 if you include his vitamins.

The blood test results show that Berg has an STD, yes a sexually transmitted disease, yes dogs can have them.  Although it is not that common in everyday pets but when an unneutered dog is left out on their own to roam and "play" with whomever they choose they can contract an STD.  Who Knew!! 

He has Brucellosis.  It's very hard to treat and cure but can be curable.  The disease gets into their bones and other “hard to reach” areas which is why he will be on pills and injections for a while.  Why spend so much money on a rescue dog???  Well he is special; he is big, lovable and smart.  Considering someone dropped him off out in the middle of nowhere, he has manners and a fabulous personality and he LOVES my daughter.  He follows her everywhere.  He talks to her, not in a bark per se, but in a barkhowl sound with his mouth closed.  It's cute.

Brucellosis is contagious among dogs, usually through..., well you know, it's an STD, but also through urine ingestion and other bodily fluids.  Dogs are always up in each other's business.  We have two little dogs that we have had for a few years.  They now have to be tested to see if they have contracted it from Berg.  They actually have to be tested twice.  Now, they have not been sexually active with Berg.  They are fixed and we had him fixed as soon as we got him but they have probably been in his urine, somehow, I'm sure.  They really don't care about him since he is so big but they do share the same yard and who knows where they have put their noses. 

We are taking precautions with our other dogs and ourselves.  Yep, it can be spread to humans too.  Although it's rather difficult.  We wash our hands a lot and clean everything often.

To cure this terrible disease we have a treatment plan a mile long that involves our local vet as well as the neuro vet in Albuquerque.  I am determined to help Berg and so are our vets. He has to go to the vet every day for 7 days to receive a shot, on the 3rd day he has to have his kidneys tested to make sure the meds aren't frying them.  He will be off of shots for 2 weeks then he goes again for daily shots for 7 days with the same kidney check.  His daily shots cost $66.00 a day. 
He will also have at least 3 more Brucellosis tests ($104.00 each) although it's likely he will have to have more than that.  He will have more x-rays, urine tests and blood tests.  Plus we have to make another trip to Albuquerque in 4 weeks to see the neuro vet.  He will have another month of pills that will cost $900.00. 

Like I said earlier, why spend so much money on a dog rescued from a reservation; well he didn't do this to himself.  Some uncaring, heartless person out there put him in this situation and just didn't care about him, but I do and so does my family.  He is turning into such a fun, loveable dog that we want to keep around for several years.

Today, June 24, he had his first injection, while at the vet’s he was weighed and he is up to 70 lbs.  Yay!  I have been working very hard to get him to eat and gain weight for the past two weeks.  Apparently dogs are like us, when they don’t feel good they don’t want to eat, hence the weight loss.  He’s feeling better and is eating and bugging the cats and is back to chew things up.  It’s actually a good sign. 

Oh and the lady from Finland who find him, she wanted to keep in touch with the person who adopted him, I have obliged.  I keep her posted on his progress.  The reason she was so attracted to Berg and his plight out at Canyon de Chelly, is because she felt he was a special dog and there was just something about him.  Turns out she knows dogs; she breeds Siberian Huskies in Finland.

Thank you for reading about Berg. 

Any left over money from this fundraiser, after Berg’s bills,  will be donated to Blackhat Human Society.  They are the ones who brought Berg to our lives and continue to save lives everyday.

Here is the picture of Berg that the lady from Finland took.  She wanted to take him with her but her guide would not let him in the van.  She hated to leave them there.  Poor guy.

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K'Lyn Bruce Meier 
Durango, CO
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