NOW A SANCTUARY RESIDENT
Resident TUCKER, on arrival seemed the picture of good health but as we quickly discovered, he had a myriad of health concerns. A super happy, good-natured Border Collie, he had spent his entire life running free on an unfenced 10 acres, visiting neighbors, swimming in rivers and making up a daily routine where he disappeared til nightfall. While a bit of a paradise life, there were big compromises. The water he drank was algae filled in whatever buckets or cans he could find; the food was the cheapest available and vet care was non-existent. Yet, he was a breeding male for litters over many years. According to Virginia Animal Control, it was when he was hit by a car that vet care finally happened.
A serious fracture meant a plate in his front leg and a compromised lame back leg. At that time in 2018, it was discovered he was heartworm positive. Though treated, no preventative was used in the follow up years so Tucker came to us heartworm positive again. He was also ehrlichia positive all that time. The assumption is Tucker has been heartworm positive and ehrlichia positive all or most of his life. He does have renal issues from the tick borne illness as well as heart and lung damage. In handling his neuter, we uncovered testicular cancer though likely cured from surgery, it’s uncertain to be certain until years ahead.
After much consideration of the complexity of his health and impact of the neglectful background, he is a Resident. While attempting standard heartworm treatment in early 2023, he had a bad reaction. We have been seeing his gums whiten throughout this month post injection but come back quickly to a pink color, meaning blood flow was restored.
As the founder reached to give him a pat on the head a few days before the 2nd & 3rd injection series were due to happen, his actual muzzle was freezing cold and the gums were stark white…white means blood flow is restricted and no pink returning is a very bad sign…observing him for a probable collapse, it was about 8 minutes before any pinkness returned and normal blood flow resumed. He was as stoic as could be, surely feeling the changes in his body himself. Our vet agreed that continuing with the next two injections could be too risky.
Tara Nolan: In memory of Beau, wishing Tucker a vibrant healthy future filled with love
Cathy & Steve Bouck, Ziggy & GH alum Lincoln
Mike & Shelley Kinser: In loving memory of Amazing Grace and her sidekick Blossom
Happy New Year and warm hugs to all! Love, Denise McInerney & GH Alum Oscar
Gregg, Jodi, Rave and GH alum Dexter – sending love and positive healing energy for a fast recovery.
As adult heartworms are killed from the medicine flowing into his heart, they break off dying and move through the bloodstream, potentially creating a clot, causing a stroke and death. Strong, young dogs do well with this heartworm protocol but compromised dogs often do not…we lost two seniors at Glen Highland in the second phase of treatment, both were as ready as we could boost them to be prior to the injections but nonetheless, their bodies failed to handle it all.
Those tragic experiences as well as this alarming episode with Tucker made the decision an obvious one. Stop the traditional heartworm treatment.
So, we will now pursue the Slow-Kill method of heartworm disease which takes years to confirm a negative load of worms. In fact, he may never be negative. It also means that the existing adults will continue damaging his heart and lungs and his activity levels will lessen. The Slow-Kill method is a particular preventative given each month, strong enough to kill some heartworms but not so extreme to do it all in a two month stretch. Though not the preferred treatment by the Heartworm Society, it can help, done properly, over years.
We are pleased to give Tucker the best life he can have…we will not tackle his ortho issue in his back left leg since undergoing any surgery will not be safe. We will optimistically assume the testicular cancer is gone since his neuter, based on the oncology consult.
So, now Tucker will find happiness among a pack of rescued Border Collies at Glen Highland, all together for the same reason…because they deserve the best love and care possible, no matter how long.
He turns 10 in December and we surely hope he has years ahead!