One dedicated rescuer, two days, two dogs, two different areas of the province – eerily similar symptoms. Here is Blackie’s story.
Not 24 hours had gone by since Lizzie’s diagnosis and passing and the phone rang again. A dog, this time a large male, previously healthy, only 4 years old, suddenly and inexplicably in great pain and unable to walk. No trauma, no altercation, no outward marks. Blackie went from normal to impaired mobility seemingly overnight.
Our frontline rescuers have seen alot, when you consider the animals that have been blessed to find their way to SCARS, but this was different. Knowing only that he needed help, he was picked up and transferred to one of our Veterinary partners. With dread in our hearts, oh please not another cancer tumor, we awaited his assessment. This experienced team was unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. He had back issues, a disc problem was suspected, which would require further specialized diagnostics.
Patient, Blackie, now with pain meds working in his favor, made his way to the specialist for further testing. Early test results have surprised the most seasoned rescuer. Blackie has an infection of some type in his spine, which is eroding away the disc and vertebrae. The source of the pain, now clearly identified. The source of the infection is still under investigation.
One possible cause could stem back to the fact he is an unneutered male. An infection in his reproductive system, circulated through the blood and taking hold in his spine. Lab results are expected later this week to shed more light on the situation.
So what does this mean for Blackie? His prognosis remains unclear. Immediate treatment for infection to get him stabilized. However, it could take months for an infection of this severity to be defeated. The greatest unknown is the damage that has already taken place in his spine. At this time we can only hope.
It has been a tough year in SCARS, the injuries and illnesses have taken their toll. The SCARS family needs your support more than ever. For our brave animals and brave rescue team, please donate so we are able to continue our mission.
Please spay or neuter your animals – Blackie’s surprising diagnosis is just one more reason spaying and neutering is so important.
Update Nov. 23: Have you ever been so sick that you don’t even want to lift your head off the pillow? So sick that even the thought of moving is exhausting? That’s been my life for the last little while. I have been in SCARS care for 10 days now, all the time at the vet clinic. For those who missed my original story, I went from being a healthy active 4-year-old, to being unable to walk and in obvious pain. Testing showed I had an infection in my spine that was attacking my discs and vertebrae, in addition I had a raging fever. Now that we know the problem, we have to now figure out what the source of the infection is and what to treat it with. Samples have been sent off to the laboratory for cultures to figure out what antibiotics, if any, will be the most effective. Results have not come back, so in the meantime I am taking a broad spectrum antibiotic and i am certainly feeling a bit better. I am patient and gentle and appreciative of the kind people looking after me. We still don’t know how my story is going to end, but hope remains. My spirit is strong, please consider donating to help me continue my recovery.
Update Dec. 9: I hope you have held me in your thoughts. Your support means everything to my rescuers and to me. My recovery continues, it’s slow and a bit frustrating for me and my caregivers, even though we knew it wasn’t going to be easy from the start. The best news is pain management. It has taken some time and few changes, but I am now on a pain management system that is making a difference. I am clearly much happier and these new drugs do not have as many side effects, so my stomach isn’t upset and I am not so dazed.
I am hanging out with the team at the Westlock Vet Center. I really can’t thank them enough. They are going above and beyond for me. From steak cooked up and brought from their own freezers to the care and compassion helping me with my physio to the research on what medicines can help me. I have an amazing care team trying to bring me back to health. I repay them by trying to be the best boy in the clinic and giving them comfort and cuddles when they need a break, my head is always available for some pets.
My journey continues, now that the pain is manageable and the infection is coming under control, my body has to rebuild itself. Just like healing a broken bone, my vertebrae now needs to heal, we are so hopeful that time will be the answer and I will once again be able to run around. I remain in good spirits – wags – Blackie.
Dec 11 update: After a year filled with losses and tough times – over capacity, food shortage, animals we couldn’t save, days that we wondered how we could go on, we seek out glimmers of hope. Those moments when we believe with our whole hearts that what we do matters. Today was one of those days – today it was the best day!
A month ago Blackie came to us, in pain and unable to walk. Two weeks for a diagnosis, two weeks of treatment and finding the right combination of therapy, antibiotics, painkillers and anti-inflammatories. A month of hope, and worry and set backs and progress. Still unable to get up on his own, still not walking, just unsteadily balancing himself on 3 legs. Well until this morning that is, when with a little encouragement and a lot of determination he not only stood up he then walked himself out to the treatment area where all the people were and found a spot to lay down and chill. Jaws dropping, happy smiles, excited phone calls and maybe a few tears. We aren’t out of the woods yet but the glimmer of hope feels like a beacon of light.
January 29/20 update: And now for some good news! I know SCARS is having a demanding start to this decade and we have been asking our supporters to continue to donate to save more lives. One sad story after another it seems, but I thought you would like to know the difference all your support can make.
Blackie here and I want to thank everyone for giving me a chance. You may recall last November I suddenly fell ill in great pain and unable to walk. My diagnosis – an infection in my spinal column that was eating away at my vertebrae. It has taken months of care, i currently still live at the Westlock Vet Center, but I am doing very well.
I had a set back on Christmas Day and got very sick, but the on call vet nursed me through and back on the road to recovery. The severity of the infection means that I will be on antibiotics for another 4 months, minimum. I was on multiple pain killers and I am slowly but surely requiring less pain management, yet still being able to maintain my mobility. The goal of course is to get me off pain meds altogether. My vet care team and SCARS friend’s are celebrating that I am now well enough to be neutered – personally I am not sure that is reason to cheer but they are ridiculously happy about this milestone.
I am a joyous personality, I love people so much, I can sit for hours and just let you scratch my ears. I am so grateful for your support, your donations, your belief in the SCARS mission. It has meant everything to me.