A shepherd owner contacted VGSR recently seeking help with his dog. The dog, Anika, is a six year old female black shepherd who was diagnosed with Cushing's disease. He wasn't really wanting to surrender the dog, but he's unemployed and is struggling to give the dog the medication, tests, and treatment that she needs. Part of the problem is that it hasn't yet really been determined what the dog needs.
I went to meet them today. He comes across as a responsible dog owner and the dog is well socialized, a solid canine citizen. Anika was being treated for allergies as the suspected cause of her skin condition when an emergency room vet suggested Cushings as the cause when she was in there being treated for a snake bite. The snake bite may have been fortunate because it brought about the Cushings diagnosis. She's had some continuing problems with her liver and of course her skin and coat as you can see in these pictures. The medical stuff went over my head from this point forward and I certainly didn't know what to suggest.
We had a dog with Cushings (Vito, back before this blog began), and I've been in his position (unemployed), and I wanted to help the dog. He was prepared to surrender her to the rescue, but I wasn't sure that would be the best result for anyone, especially not for the dog. Anika has been seen and treated by multiple vets for multiple problems and I'm not sure anyone has the whole picture. On top of that, I think that the medical history might benefit from a fresh look by a fresh set of eyes, i.e. a vet that I know and trust.
I could take the dog into the rescue, but the dog already has a good home. The rescue's primary mission is to save homeless dogs, and that's not what we have here. What I suggested is that the dog not come into the rescue, but that I would make an appointment for her with my vet, on my account. The owner will get all the prior treatment records and I'll ask my vet to review them, examine the dog, and recommend a course of treatment, at my expense. I can't really afford to do that on my own right now, but I'm hoping that collectively "we" can.
If anyone would be willing to contribute to this dog's treatment, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Don't send anything just yet until we know at least a ballpark range of what will be needed. I'm not asking for pledges that I'll hold you to, just send me an email and let me know if you'd be able and willing to contribute, $10, $20, or anything towards this project if and when we need it. It's not going to be going to a tax deductible charity; it would mean writing a check to me and trusting that it will be put to good use. I'll happily provide an accounting of donations and expenses to anyone who asks.
I'm not sure if this is the best thing to do, but it's the best idea I could come up with this afternoon. I hate seeing a dog surrendered for reasons like this and would like to prevent it, because the dog already has a good home. I took a dog named Bastian from an owner a while back who couldn't afford the care and treatment and he needed, and that dog hit the jackpot in his new home and is doing great. But that was a different situation and I think this calls for a different solution.
Oh, I'm told that Anika means "sweet face" in German or Dutch. She does live up to the name.