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Saving Norma-An Affair of the Heart

$6,350 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 147 people in 3 months
Created August 14, 2018
Norma’s story started long before she came to a small shelter in Louisiana. Severe neglect seeps from every part of her emaciated body. This dog has suffered in unimaginable ways.  Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids agreed to take her medical case when Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue brought her to Iowa.  This is no ordinary circumstance. We are stepping off of a cliff into unknown territory with this girl.  Norma went directly to our veterinary specialist partners at IVRC in Des Moines when she arrived in Iowa Sunday.  The doctors and staff have never seen a fistula the size of Norma’s. It is an open highway for food, water and infection to circulate around the sinus passages, eventually making their way to her lungs.  Aspiration could quickly kill her.  We are at the beginning of Norma’s medical journey.  Emaciation, dehydration, an enormous hole in her upper palate, an abscess in her cheek, eyes that are infected and sunken and she is a strong heartworm positive. So many issues to address but the rewards will be immeasurable.    Two of our board members are helping to donate to her medical bills right now as CC is low on funds after so many surgeries this summer, but this dog and her plight speaks to us.    She is a haunting reminder of why we do this work and we sometimes step into the unknown as we tackle these medical issues.  This is a face we can’t just erase and our hearts feel the need to do whatever we can.  We have spent significant time consulting with the doctors and we are in the process of formulating a treatment plan.  She will have an echocardiogram Wed. 8/15 to see if her heart can withstand anesthesia due to the worm infestation.  If the doctors feel that she can, she will also undergo a CT scan.  That will determine if this enormous fistula is from dental disease, a neoplastic disease or injury.  This would entail multiple surgeries to attempt to close and the failure rate can be daunting....our hope is we can start the surgical process quickly and then begin to treat the heart worms.  No guarantees that is how we will proceed however.  Her own body will dictate that.  

It is important for everyone to understand that these challenged animals have a very profound and intact will to survive.  If you ask them if they prefer euthanasia to having the chance to return to a better, healthier life, we know exactly what they would say.  CC has hundreds of happy, healthy alumni!  So, we choose to travel down this long and bumpy road with Norma who is an estimated 6 years old.  Her body condition is so poor, you would never know her age.  The staff at IVRC talks about how incredibly sweet and grateful she is.  Her tail wags constantly and she is more comfortable now than she has been in a very long time.  She deserves her life back.  We ask for your help in giving that to her.  Please share her story and donate if you are fortunate enough to do so.  We look forward to the difference we can make in her life

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Norma update Thursday Nov.15th, 4:30pm

We have some sad news. After an appt. yesterday at Frey Pet Hospital, we have discovered that Norma has cancer. CC had some lumps and bumps aspirated before her first heartworm injection which was scheduled today. We found that a single lump on her left hind limb was actually a mast cell tumor....cancer.
CC has treated close to 50 of these tumors over the years with great success and that is what we will do for sweet Norma. So her heartworm treatment today at IVRC/Blue Pearl was cancelled and turned into a surgical consult with Norma’s surgeon Dr. Gwyneth Culp. She re-aspirated the lump and the closest lymph node. CC will return with Norma next Tuesday and she will have this tumor removed Wed. Another unexpected bump in Norma’s journey but we are with her 1000% and we are confident that she will have a great outcome! Her heartworm treatment again will be postponed but hopefully only by a week or two. This is medical triage at its best! We would once again ask for your financial assistance on this Go Fund Me, if you are so fortunate as to donate. Well wishes an prayers are equally important. In these photos, we have Dr. Culp and staff member Johanna showing Normie some love! That is the easiest thing to do! More to come in Norma’s journey to health! We will get there! Never give up❤️
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Norma Update Sunday Nov. 11th at 8:40pm

This is a BIG week coming up for our Norma. This little lady is a true survivor after coming to us Aug. 12th. In 3 months she has gone from a critically ill dog to a much healthier, happier girl. A big surgery to close a huge hole in the roof of her mouth followed by many days in critical care at IVRC was the difference between life and death. Norma has been in foster care with Cecelia Carlson from Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue and is thriving. We now face our biggest challenge yet...heartworm treatment. Norma has been on the heartworm protocol for the last two month but this week, things get very real. She will travel to IVRC on Thursday for her first Immeticide injection. This is the medicine that actually kills the adult worms residing in the right side of her heart and the pulmonary artery. The past two months of medications were designed to wipe out the larvae or microfilaria that are floating around in her blood stream, waiting to become adult worms. Norma greatest risk with this treatment will be a clot traveling to her lungs. As the worms decay and die, they can cause allergic reactions and clots that if large enough, can cause sudden death. We take evey precaution to minimize the risks. Norma will be on strict cage rest for the next 3 months so as to not cause her heart to race or pump hard. With Thursdays injection, she will be monitored over night in the ICU and released Friday. She will then go back in a month for injection # 2 and 3 a day apart. It is a long and risky road but everything is in place for a good outcome. We will keep you all updated. Norma will be in our Critter Crusaders medical system for a long time to come. After her heartworm treatment is complete, she will need Cruciate ligament surgery to her knee along with spaying. Our mission is always to return these discarded pets to health. It is not uncommon for us to treat multiple issues in one animal. Thank you all for your well wishes and donations on behalf of this very deserving girl. 100% of each donation goes directly to her medical care. The animals deserve no less❤️
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Norma...Norma...Norma!
This girl continues to do so amazingly well! Each week is a new milestone for her and a new adventure. We have figured out that one of the most important things in her life is...eating! She can’t get enough! It must be such a change to not have to search for food. We can only imagine how tough that must have been for a dog that was so sick and debilitated! Today Norma’s meals are served to her! She received her first vaccines in prep for the start of her heartworm treatment coming up in Nov. We wanted to show you an adorable photo with her and Tara from Frey Pet Hospital. If you look closely, Norma was intent on staring at the treats in foster mom Cecelia’s hand! Yum! More to come on Norma’s return to health! Thank you all so much for your donations and well wishes. It has made the difference for her!
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Norma Update Wed. Oct. 17th at 8:30pm

Norma had a fun day at IVRC in Des Moines! She went back for a check up and we set the schedule for her upcoming heartworm treatment in one month. Dr. Culp peeked in her mouth to check the graft that now covers what was a large half dollar sized fistula ( hole) that was in her upper palate. All looked fantastic!
She runs into he clinic and can’t wait to see all of her friends there. Total rock star and everyone adores her. We asked Dr. Culp to check out her knee as Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue foster mom Cecelia noticed some inconsistent limping. We were concerned about a cranial cruciate ligament injury ( knee) and Dr. Culp confirmed that. Critter Crusaders wont address this issue until Norma’s heartworm treatment is complete. We were thrilled to spend time with her today and it is hard to believe that this is the same dog when we look at her. She is lively, feels great, has regained her strength and we can now see who Norma really is! A total food-monger and love sponge! Thank you all for your donations and well wishes. We still have a very long way to go with her heartworm treatment but she will receive the best care possible. Puppy licks fro our girl to all of you! She is quite the kisser❤️
Jan Erceg
CCCR Medical Coordinator
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$6,350 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 147 people in 3 months
Created August 14, 2018
Funds raised will benefit:
Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids
  Certified Charity
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Marion, IA
EIN: 262821920
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