Roy - WestieMed Recipient January 2008


Roy is a fourteen-month-old Westie boy who was rescued (along w/his brother, Robbie) by Canine Friends Foundation (CFF) from a small commercial and show breeder in on 5/11/07. The breeder had called me the day before advising that she had two six-month-old male Westie puppies that her vet had diagnosed with Grade III heart murmurs. She said she would not be able to sell them and was planning to euthanize them if I did not want to take them into rescue. Of course, I told her I would be there first thing in the morning!!!

“The Boys” went straight to my vet for further evaluation where they were diagnosed with Grade V (not Grade III) heart murmurs. Dr. Byrne and I decided to send them directly to VA Tech Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Dept. of Cardiology in Blacksburg, Virginia for evaluation and echocardiograms to determine the cause of the murmurs. Roy’s diagnosis was severe pulmonic stenosis (a deformity of the pulmonic valve leaflets which control blood flow from the right ventricle of the heart into the pulmonary artery). Pulmonic stenosis makes the heart work too hard and enlarge and it eventually progresses to congestive heart failure and death without intervention.

Dr. Abbott (our wonderful cardiologist) recommended waiting for Roy to finish growing before we decided to proceed with any medical intervention since he was showing no signs of congestive heart failure at the time. Upon his return from Blacksburg, Roy went to live with one of CFF’s foster families, The Skelton’s, and their little dachshund, Frankie for the next seven months, where he learned how to be a member of a family.

Roy returned to VA Tech on 12/17/07 for repeat evaluation and echocardiogram which showed that his pulmonic stenosis had become more severe since his last visit in May. Dr. Abbott is recommending proceeding with balloon valvuloplasty which should “open up” the stenosis, decreasing the pressure across the pulmonary valve and preventing congestive heart failure and death. Roy is now back in my home, part of my small “herd” of foster and forever Westies and Westie mixes. With the help of WestieMed, we are looking forward to having his surgery done and helping sweet Roy on his way to finding a wonderful forever home and life!!!

Roy and Robbie were the only two puppies in their mom’s first litter. Dr. Abbott advised me to tell the breeder that she should spay the mom as pulmonic stenosis is a genetic problem. I am happy to say that the breeder did indeed spay the mom and place her in a (hopefully) loving pet home.

Susie Branham and Roy Westie
Canine Friends Foundation Small Dog Rescue

In a very loving memory of Duffy, CFF’s first rescued Westie puppy who died unexpectedly 2/1/06 while waiting to grow big enough for his heart surgery.

Update February 20, 2008

Roy - WestieMed Recipient January 2008
Roy – WestieMed Recipient

Roy Westie and I left home early this morning for the 85 mile trip to the VA Tech Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Blacksburg, VA in preparation for his balloon valvuloplasty which is scheduled for early tomorrow morning (2/21/08). The pictures show him checking out the car and then settling down for a snooze during the trip.

Roy was met by his “team”, Anna Barnes, senior vet student; Dr. Jessica Gentile, cardiology resident; and Dr. Jonathan Abbott, cardiologist. He greeted them with his usual sweet Westie kisses accompanied by plenty of tail wags. He had blood work and an echocardiogram done, followed by playtime, dinner, and an early bedtime. When I left, he was busy getting some serious belly rubs from Anna and Dr. Gentile.

Roy - WestieMed Recipient January 2008
Roy – WestieMed Recipient

Many thanks to Westie Med for providing the financial assistance needed for Roy to proceed with his surgery and have the chance for a long, healthy life with his own family. We could not have gotten there without your help!!!

With deep appreciation,

Susie Branham,
Canine Friends Foundation Small Dog Rescue,
and Roy Westie

Update February 25, 2008

Roy went into surgery early last Thursday morning (2/21/08) with the hope of having his narrow heart valve (pulmonic stenosis) dilated by balloon valvuloplasty. Prior to surgery, an EKG detected an atrial septal defect in his heart that was allowing oxygen-depleted blood to bypass his lungs and be recycled, which results in keeping his oxygen levels lower than normal all the time. When the catheter was inserted for the ballooning, Roy’s blood pressure and oxygen levels dropped dangerously low and the catheter was removed. Roy’s blood pressure remained low and Dr. Abbott decided to halt the procedure rather than risk Roy’s life.

Roy spent the next twenty-four hours recovering and being coddled by his Senior vet student, Anna, and the hospital staff at VA Tech VTH. He was his lively self when I picked him up on Friday afternoon, where he was discharged to home amid lots of kisses and a few tears. One of his caretakers, Robin, was so touched by sweet Roy that she gave him a St Francis of Assisi medallion to wear on his collar for protection.

I am sad that Roy was unable to have the surgery that could have extended his life, however, I am very grateful to WestieMed for giving us the opportunity to try. Roy’s foster family is committed to loving and caring for him for the rest of his life and Canine Friends Foundation will continue to oversee his care and ensure he receives any and all medical care needed.

Roy was overjoyed to see his family and Doxie buddy, Frankie, on Saturday morning when they came to pick him up. For now, he is living life like any other happy fifteen-month-old Westie boy and we are going to do everything we can to make that last as long as possible…

Again, many thanks to Westie Med for caring about this wonderful little Westie!!


Susie Branham,
Canine Friends Foundation
and Roy Westie

Update July 7, 2008

I just spoke w/Jamie, Roy’s foster mom, and he is doing great! He is happy and playful w/no clinical signs of heart failure. They just returned from a ten-day camping trip to VA Beach where Roy was introduced to the ocean and loved the game called “Let’s Dig Up the Beach”! The Skeletons always thank me for “allowing” them to foster Roy and I always thank them for “allowing” him to become a beloved member of their family. They are a very special family and he is a very lucky boy!

I pray that Roy continues to do well and has many more days like the ones he is having this summer…sounds like he is having a blast! I will send pictures next time I stop by for a visit…

A big THANK YOU to Westie Med for caring about and helping Sweet Roy and the other CFF rescued Westies.

Susie Branham,
Canine Friends Foundation Rescue,
and Roy