Five months later, we were ready and decided to adopt from a shelter, and so the search began. After 3 weeks, we finally found our new family member, whose birthdate just happened to be Dec. 31, 2016! It was fate! He came from a kill shelter in Virginia, and we found him through Joyful Rescues. His name was Turner Mills, and he is a shepherd, beagle, terrier, and who knows what else mix. All we knew was that he was sweet, smart, and so loving. Even Tallulah, our grumpy old cat, liked him! We knew it was meant to be.
As our second week began, we noticed Buddy (we had renamed him) began to have a hard time breathing. His energy level dropped, and he started limping and chewing on his paw. We had been given an antibiotic when we adopted him in case he showed any respiratory problems, so we started him on that, but after 5 days, he was getting worse. His breathing became more labored, he couldn’t run or jump up onto our couch, and his runny nose was now tinged with blood.
Our vet put him on a stronger antibiotic, but after 24 hours, it was clear it was not helping. Our vet felt that it could be a fungal or viral infection and after an X-ray revealed a strange looking pattern in his lungs, we were referred to the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, which had access to more in-depth testing, and could provide 24 hour monitoring. They took another X-ray of Buddy, and in 5 hours, his lungs had completely filled with infection and Buddy’s temperature soared to 104.8.
In order to test for a fungal infection, they needed to put Buddy under anesthesia to do a trachea swipe, but he was too sick to do that. We prayed he would make it through the night.
The next morning, we received some hopeful news. Buddy survived the night, his temperature was close to normal, and his vitals were good, so they could proceed with the testing they needed. That afternoon, we received the news: Buddy has blastomycosis.
This is a fungal infection that we don’t see in western New York. It is typically found in woods or river valleys where there is wet soil that gets no sun. Buddy must have picked it up when he was still in Virginia, and it entered through his skin, which explains why he kept chewing on his paws. The fungus entered his lungs and turned into a yeast that spread rapidly. Unfortunately, the medication isn’t even available in this area, so it had to be ordered from out of state. In the meantime, I had to pick up an anti-fungal prescription commonly used in women to start giving to Buddy until the canine medicine arrives.
Here is the scary part. Because the infection involved both lungs, there is a chance that as the fungus dies in his body, it can cause a fatal reaction in Buddy in the first 7-10 days. He will need to be closely monitored, and possibly be given steroids to help stop this from happening.
We have had Buddy for only 2 weeks, but in that short time, our family is completely attached and in love with him! When he sees us in the hospital, his tail starts wagging and he gives us dog hugs and kisses, he’s so happy to see us! Unfortunately, all of this care is expensive. We can’t get pet insurance because this is a pre-existing condtion. Despite the overwhelming expense, we just want to keep this little guy alive. It may sound crazy to some, but we feel like he came into our lives for a reason. He already survived being in a kill shelter, and we want to do whatever we can to give Buddy a long and happy life. So far we have spent over $2300 and we still owe a balance of $1,000, which was based on an estimate of him coming home after 3 days. However, he will need to stay there a few days longer so they can monitor his recovery, so there will be additional hospital charges that were not part of the original estimate. The medication he needs to be on costs approximately $340 per bottle and he will need at least 3-4 bottles for his treatment. Since all of this came on suddenly, we had no way to prepare and budget for this kind of expense, that’s why we are asking for your help.
If you would like to help us give Buddy a fighting chance, we would so greatly appreciate any donation. If you can’t donate, please keep our family and Buddy in your prayers. He has been such a blessing to us, and in 2 short weeks has already brought so much joy and happiness to our family. Thank you so much for reading our story!
Our Buddy during the first week of him being home.
Buddy on his 3rd day in hospital. :(
- Brian & Kathy Caputi
- Josh Frasier
- Julie Ticco
- Patty Wallace
Organizer and beneficiary
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