She kept losing weight, even though she seemed to be starving all the time and had a great appetite. No amount of medication seemed to help and she dropped down to an alarming 7 kg. Eventually she was so weak she could barely stand. I will never forget the day that our dog walker called me at work and said that she thought Bella was going to die unless I came home right away and did something.
A specialist at the emergency vet finally diagnosed her with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), which means her pancreas doesn't produce the necessary enzymes to digest her food. Essentially she was starving to death. With proper treatment, medication, special enzymes and food, she improved. However, she continued to have significant medical problems and eventually was diagnosed with eosinophilic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a primary motility disorder with both vomiting and regurgitation, and protein losing enteropathy (PLE).
The medications led to immunosuppression necessary to control Bella's diseases but caused her to develop a horrible case of demodex. She was itchy, all her fur fell out, she developed a bad bacterial infection and her skin stretched out and became so thin that the dermatologist warned that it could rip open. Worst of all her paws bled when we walked. I made her special socks to keep her feet safe and leg warmers to cover her legs and stop her from constantly licking them.
Last winter she went through a horrible period where she almost died again (that's when the picture above was taken). Luckily, with a special home cooked diet prepared by a nutritionist, lots of medication and specialists we were able to turn it around.
This year she has done the best she has ever done but it has not been without its challenges. Her regurgitation became so severe that she now has to eat all her meals in a special Bailey Chair, which keeps her upright during and after the meal and assists with getting the food into her stomach, where it belongs.
The specialists, tests such as ultrasounds, endoscopy, constant blood work, and special food/medication have taken their toll financially. Our fantastic vets at Queen West Animal Hospital and Bella's specialists are working with us to keep costs more manageable. However, with the mounting costs of her care now topping $50,000 I am reaching out to my friends and family to help us out if you can. Raising $5000 would help us provide care for Bella for almost 6 months and make sure she is getting the quality care that she needs.
Many of you, who don't know Bella personally, probably wonder why keep her alive. The answer to this is that no one told Bella she was supposed to die. She gets up every morning, licks my face and then runs to find her ball. She loves to go for walks, gives giant kisses and makes a sport out of jumping the baby gate. Bella loves a good belly rub. She gives our fantastic dog walker Yvette a run for her money on a regular basis! She is a great dog who deserves a chance for a happy life.
Thank you for reading Bella's story and for helping us out if you can!
Amanda and Bella
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