Torch's Medical Fund

Torch’s story starts in 2008 at a breeding farm for a racetrack in Florida. He was born on April 28th, then  started racing when he was about a year old, and continued racing until he was three. He’s lucky he made it past that point, as there are still between 2 – 3,000 greyhounds euthanized annually. Once they’re done racing, they’re disposable. Some make it off the track, others don’t.

Once Torch was done racing, Helping Paws Rescue took him in to foster and find a family to give him the life all dogs deserve. Helping Paws Rescue has a fairly extensive application for their dogs, hoping to ensure that each dog is placed in the best home and that the commitment is a lasting one. That’s not always the case, however. In December 2014, we heard from Torch’s parents that he was having some trouble with separation anxiety, causing him to frequently urinate in his crate and that they’d have to return him. The told us that this had been going on for about a year, and that they’d taken him to a vet and even put him on Prozac to cope with the anxiety and help him hold it in his crate.

Torch was returned to Helping Paws Rescue on December 26th, 2014. As soon as we laid eyes on Torch, we realized that separation anxiety wasn’t Torch’s problem. He was thin, weak, lethargic, and seemed generally disinterested in life. We also noticed that Torch never seemed to be able to drink enough water, which was a pretty easy explanation as to why he was peeing so much. We got him to the vet the following Monday, where he got blood and urine samples and was started on antibiotics in case there was infection causing him to be sick. The blood and urine samples were, for the most part, inconclusive. Although there were some values that were slightly elevated or slightly lower than normal, there were no obvious problems with his tests. The vet decided that out of the results of tests, his thyroid levels would be the easiest to address first without much consequence if that wasn’t the cause of his problems. So we started him on a thyroid medication and decided to see if that would help. He would occasionally have a good day, but overall there wasn’t much improvement.

On the evening of January 28th, Torch crashed, hard and fast. Around 5pm, he seemed to be having trouble breathing, his eyes were very sunken in, his gums were pale, and he was more lethargic than usual, even for him. I took him to the vet right away, where they gave him fluids, but could find nothing obviously wrong with him and decided to send him back home, knowing that anything could happen overnight and that with me he could have more constant supervision. He also prepared me for the possibility that he might end up needing to go to the UGA emergency vet, and told me that Torch’s problems were most likely more complicated than he would be able to deal with and that he would like him to go the UGA vet school regardless of whether or not he needed emergency care. Within 20 minutes of being home with Torch, I knew that he needed to go to the emergency vet. Although he perked up a bit after getting fluids, he quickly reverted and became almost entirely unresponsive. I rushed him to the emergency hospital, hoping we would make it in time.

At the emergency vet, they were able to stabilize Torch with IV fluids and continued running more tests. Once again, there was nothing in his blood or urine pointing to any obvious problems. The next day, he was transferred to Internal Medicine, where they continued to dig deeper to try to find what was causing all of this. Over the course of the next couple days, more diagnostics were done, including X-Rays, ultrasounds, and more urine tests. With all of this testing, they were able to settle on a diagnosis of Diabetes Insipidus, a condition that prevents the body from being able to concentrate the urine, letting out too much water into the bladder, and not being able to absorb enough of it to stay hydrated. Torch had been constantly dehydrated, to some extent, for an entire year. While it was nice to have a diagnosis, there still had to be something causing the Diabetes Insipidus, or water diabetes. They were able to determine that the liver was causing problems, but they still didn’t know what exactly was wrong with the liver. They planned a biopsy of Torch’s liver and scheduled a time for him to be able to go home while waiting on the procedure. However, the day I was going to pick him up, they noticed that he began having seizures every time they gave him a meal. With this development, the vets decided it would be best for them to keep him for a couple more days in order to monitor his eating. With the seizures occurring regularly with meals, there was the threat of him choking and they wanted to make sure they could be there for that. As of today, Torch has had a liver biopsy and a test to diagnose a form of narcolepsy associated with moments of excitement. We should get the results of both of those tests back in a couple days, and in the mean time Torch might actually be able to come back home and recover from the comfort of his big comfy bed.

Check back here for more Torch updates including test results, his recovery, and what we’re doing to treat whatever problems his body throws at us.

 




For more details about Torch and to read his story, check out his blog: lightthetorch.wordpress.com
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Organizer

Aimee Sonnier 
Organizer
Athens, GA
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