Monday, February 15, 2010

Sheeba's Progress

On the morning of Monday the 18th February, Sheeba underwent surgery to remove two lipomas. The operation was a complete success, and as these were benign fatty tissue, no cancerous complications were encountered. This was a great relief to all of us concerned with Sheeba’s welfare. She weighed in at 48lbs pre op, and came out at 43lbs! Earlier estimates as to the weight of this cyst (5lb) proved to be correct. It was discovered incidentally, Sheeba had been previously spayed, a rather uncommon event for neglected dogs in this part of the world!

Her recovery was speedy, considering the scale of the incisions, three and four inches. This was due in part to her being a good girl, and not biting and scratching at her wounds, (something a few of the other dogs on the farm could take an example from).

After seven days following the surgery, Sheeba was considered well enough to have the first of her two stage heartworm treatment, which consists of an injection of Immiticide to the lumber muscle of the infected dog. This drug is arsenic based, and therefore will always carry a risk element to the dog it’s self. However this is the only labeled H/W treatment available, so the decision, in a way, was pre made.

The following passage was taken from information by Sheeba’s operating surgeon.

Heartworm symptoms in dogs, follows thus. Congestive heart failure, fluid build up in lungs and abdomen. The animal becomes anorexic and suffers severe muscle wasting. The worms can often back up through the caudal vena cava ( return vein to the heart) and cause liver failure. Dogs in CHF will have difficulty breathing and die a slow, and painful death. They literally drown in their own fluids. An all to common scenario in the Southern United States.

Heartworm is contracted by an animal being bitten by an infected mosquito. Even dogs like huskies, with impenetrable coats cannot escape. The mosquito will attack the ears, nose and around the eyes to extract blood from the host animal. Of course, H/W prevention is available and should be administered to all outside dogs following a H/W test from a qualified person. This preventative medicine costs around one dollar per week, a small price to pay....

Back to Sheeba’s recovery. After her second course of Immiticide, our girl was allowed home, on Tuesday 26 th January.

She settled in quite well, but due to the post H/W treatment recovery, she unfortunately had to be penned up in a 10' X 12' enclosure. This did not sit to well with her as she could see the other farm dogs, and three foster puppies having a four acre fenced area it which to roam. Sheeba did, however, get to ‘gently walk the boundaries’ five or six times a day on a leash, she integrated with the other dogs very well.

Perhaps, with the exception of Henry, a Walker hound cross, who is the self styled, ‘Prince Henry’. He is extremely jealous of any one getting ‘dad’s’ attention, but Sheeba put him in his place when him did little ‘try out’ snarl! This bore out what our veterinary said of our girl, "She is an alpha female". I will of course point out Sheeba is not aggressive towards the other dogs at all and got on so well with them all, and also the puppies as well. Sometimes it is so difficult for us humans to see things from an animals perspective, as they have a way of gesturing, posturing, and generally getting things sorted out without actually coming to blows! Now, don’t you think we could learn something from this? Oh, and incidentally, Henry and Sheeba get on just fine now....It was amusing to see three black Lab’ pups though, running alongside a Husky as if she was their mom, well I ask you?

All this was to last but only a few days, as Sheeba developed a ‘bit of a cough’, and soon began to be rather withdrawn. Unhappy with this, coupled by the fact she was of her food a bit, I took her back down to the vet’s. She was given a lasix injection, put on a course of Prednisone (diuretic) and antibiotics, the following Monday. Improvement followed, but by Wednesday am the decision was made to once again visit the our animal doctor. On Wednesday, half a day at the surgery, and it was also Sheeba’s vet’s day off. Such is the care our animals receive, Dr Sarah came in especially to see our Sibe. After a short consultation, it was decided that it would be best for all concerned if Sheeba be re-admitted to the facility for the next two weeks or so.

So, I visit our girl often, and see her improve with every visit, it is infinitely satisfying to see her relaxing on the several blankets thick bed she has at the facility! Ours is a country practice and one never feels anxious about leaving a dog there amidst such a warm and friendly atmosphere.

A few things I have learned about our Sheeba. She loves rawhide chewies! She loves Dan the Pointer, she loves being made a fuss of. However, she is not all keen on snow! Huh! A Husky that doesn’t like snow? Oh dear, I think when it comes to finding ‘our Sibe’ (Seebeerskij Huskie) a forever home, Alaskan mushers need not apply!

So, that’s the story so far folks. Thank you so much for taking an interest, and especially a great big thank you to our most generous followers who donated so graciously by financial support towards Sheeba’s medical costs. Without such gestures, a heavy burden would have been placed on OFBCAR’s limited resources. Why not check out us on our website?
I would also like to once again mention our local vet, who not only took such loving care of our Sibe, but always had the time to explain procedures and protocols to an extent which guided us through the more difficult times.

Thank you Dr Sarah, and your staff.

Yours truly, B. Sheeba’s rescuer and foster dad.


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Sadie & Mollie