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Saving Norma-An Affair of the Heart

$6,735 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 159 people in 5 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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Update 33
Posted by DeAnn Gerdeman Brannaman
6 days ago
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Norma Update Tuesday Jan. 15th, 2019

Wow...we have been talking about Norma since Aug. 12th, 2018! What a journey we are on with her! We have watched her transform into a beautiful girl in the time she has been under treatment. Norma is still recovering and taking life easy after her two final Heartworm injections. She has a few more weeks to go and like the trooper she is...doing great! We wanted to share these photos with you as we think they capture beautiful moments between Normie and her awesome foster momma, Cecelia! We will keep everyone posted on her progress! Thanks for sticking with her on the amazing journey to health! She is worth it!
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Update 32
Posted by DeAnn Gerdeman Brannaman
19 days ago
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Norma Update Wed. January 2nd, 2019

This past Tuesday, Critter Crusaders transported our Normie to Blue Pearl/IVRC in Des Moines for hospitalization while she undergoes her last 2 heart worm injections. She had #2 today and she will receive #3 tomorrow. We will pick her up on Friday! These last two injections will be a bit scary as far as her complication and worm clot potential, but we feel confident in Norma’s ability to survive, seemingly against all odds! She will recover for the next 6-8 weeks and hopefully then will be worm free! Once that is complete...Normie will need a crucial ligament surgery in a knee. We won’t know the timing of that until she is fully recovered from her heart worm treatment. This is a labor of total love and we are committed to seeing this sweet girl through! She has sure thrown a lot at us, but it is all worth it. We got your back, Norm and you are loved all around the country! Thank you all for your donations, well wishes and love.
We could not bring about these miracles without you! More to come on Normie’s incredible journey!
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Update 31
Posted by DeAnn Gerdeman Brannaman
1 month ago
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Norma has been doing great since her first heartworm injection on December 5. She is having to spend her days very quiet and calm with the assistance of medication that helped her relax. This is so she can avoid having her heart rate and blood pressure elevated with activity and excitement, potentially causing her heart to toss off a warm clot to her lungs. This is the reason that animals are kept very quiet after each heartworm injection. That is especially tough for Norma as she now feels great and wants to go go go! Normie will receive her second and third injections on January 2 and 3rd, spending a few days hospitalized. Then we wait for 6 to 8 weeks and will retest her at that point to make sure let the treatment has been effective, destroying the warm is it inhabited her bloodstream and heart. This girl is a true warrior princess, surviving emaciation and aspiration pneumonia from a giant fistula in the roof of her mouth, to cancer surgery and now heartworm treatment. She looks absolutely amazing and is just full of energy, waiting to have a great life after treatment! We thank you all for your support and ongoing interest in following Norma’s journey. It is a long road but completely worthwhile!
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Update 30
Posted by DeAnn Gerdeman Brannaman
1 month ago
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Norma update 12/7/18 at 7:30 PM.

Norma started her long awaited first heartworm injection this past Wednesday at Blue Pearl/IVRC in Des Moines. Dr. Adams, internal medicine service is overseeing Norma’s heartworm treatment. While she was there, Dr. Culp, Norms surgeon, removed the sutures from her tumor removal surgery. All looks absolutely great there. Norma was kept overnight under very close observation in case she experienced any allergic reaction from the dead and dying worms. We picked her up Thursday afternoon and she continues to do well in her foster home with Cecelia and Paul. The tough part is keeping this newly healthy and happy girl calm and quiet. Normie will return in one month for her second and third injections each a day apart. Until then we will monitor her closely for any complications. Thank you guys so much for hanging with us on this lengthy treatment and journey with Normie. It is such a treat to take a dog so completely debilitated and close to death and bring her back to health and life. It truly is the miracle of veterinary medicine . Thank you all for your continued donations and well wishes and we will keep you posted on our girl.
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$6,735 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 159 people in 5 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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