This is the story of a girl and her dog who need a little help. A girl who had only months before meeting this dog had lost her canine soulmate and never thought she'd meet another. A dog who proved her wrong. A girl who recognized that this "new" dog was a money pit because of her breed and a dog who is truly a lemon. And how they have loved each other through thick and thin, through many a road and volunteer trip, despite previous and ongoing vet bills and long work days left alone.
Madame Wilhemina vonDonkersloot, named such because I felt she needed a regal name to live up to considering the condition she was in when we first met (some pics included in video), is a lovelly dog, both inside and out. She came to me housebroken, crate trained, good with other dogs and children. This was a big change from my previous dog, Tasha. They were also complete opposites when it came/comes to regular care. But, I knew this was going to be the case when I took Willie in to my heart and home. She's a shar pei, afterall.
Immediately I knew she had skin and eye and ear problems. Of course. Watching her walk, it was obvious she had orthopedic issues as well. All of this [atopy, allergies, kcs (dry eye), entropion, corneal melanosis, chronic ear infections, hip dysplasia, among other issues] has been confirmed by numerous veterinarians.
After a little bit of time I noticed her having "episodes." They were few and far between, so, as an experienced vet tech, I didn't worry too much, as she never clustered. Until she did. Because, of course, Willie. So she was evaluated by another specialist, a neurologist I had never worked with, which was hard for me. I had always been involved in every aspect of her care, having worked at the largest private veterinary hospital with all manner of specialists. But I had to take her to a hospital where I was not employed. Diagnosis: atypical motor seizures. Okay, I could handle all of this thus far. Both emotionally and financially.
And then, she developed a resistant skin infection and had to go on some strong/intense antibiotics. During routine bloodwork screen we found elevated liver enzymes. So she had an ultrasound, which showed a perfectly fine liver. But, then, of course, there were the incidental findings. Because, of course, Willie. Her right kidney was enlarged, the ureter was dilated and then strictured down, and she had sludge in her gall bladder.
So, I discussed my options: do nothing and wait for it to get worse and then either euthanise or rush to surgery, nephrectomy, SUB placement, wait and monitor.
I felt like I had been kicked in both my gut and my heart. I was emotionally unprepared for this surprise. After hearing prices, even with professional discounts, I was also financially unprepared.
I (we?) opted for a wait, watch and monitor (blood values) approach. I stressed every time, worried about her recurrent urinary tract infections, but each time things were okay. Until they weren't. And that is where we are now. The right kidney is looking worse on ultrasound, the dilation of the ureter is increased, her left (good?) kidney has mineralization, her creatinine nearly doubled (despite still being wnl - it had been static even before we knew there was an issue), and her gall bladder has more sludge, despite the ursodiol.
The best course of action is to place a Subcutaneous Ureteral Bypass (SUB) system, which will salvage what is left of that right kidney. And also means that if/when she developes kidney issues, she'll have, hopefully, some function in each kidney.
Asking for money from friends and strangers is not something I am used to (not since middle school softball), nor do I feel that MY dog is any body else's responsibility. But, it's true, Willie has met a lot of friends on our many trips and travels. Plus, most are in the veterinary field and "in it for the outcome not the income." So I hope that some of them may know of organizations or charities that may be able to help. Or, maybe have a small amount of funds to help us out.
Thanks for reading this. We really appreciate any and everything.
Cara and Willie (She grew hair and so got a nickname. She also goes by Bean.)
- Lara Sisto
- Denise Hugaboom
- Morgan and JosieBear
- Atilio and Linda Yanussi