Sophie - WestieMed Grant Recipient April 2013


Sophie found her way to Carolina Westie Rescue in late January of 2013. Coming from the northern part of North Carolina, she had quite a trip down to our location in Southeastern NC, in Wilmington. Sophie belonged to an older couple who could no longer give her the care and attention that a little Westie needs. The couple mentioned they had Sophie since she was a puppy. Now, however, with their work schedules being what they were, they did not have much time to spend with her. They also revealed that Sophie was around ten years old and had a “little skin problem”, but was otherwise healthy. During the surrender, along with Sophie’s records, they also gave me some of her medication which included Prednisone, Ketoconazole, and Tramadol. I took copies of what health records they gave me and after the couple filled out a surrender form, Sophie and I were on our way.

Sophie is quite small for a Westie, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in sweetness. She is friendly as can be and she greeted all the other Westies in my house as if they were all long lost friends. She did not seem shy at all or unhappy to be away from her old home or owners. Actually, she seemed to fit right in. Not long after she arrived though, I noticed that under her long, just groomed coat were feet that were black, swollen, bleeding and infected. Her belly was also black and she had a bit of a limp. She also appeared to have an old scar on the top of her head. She was small but slightly overweight. Her chubby appearance made her little head appear even smaller.

The next day I took Sophie to my veterinarian along with her records. My vet looked at Sophie’s past, which only dated back six months. In those records, my vet said that she had an infection in all four feet; and that her previous vet was not expecting a cure and could only hope for management with Cefpodoxine, Prednisone and medicated shampoo. My vet put Sophie back on the Ketoconazole along with Clindamycin and Pharmaseb shampoo. He took a skin scraping, a parasite screening and performed a physical exam. We noticed that Sophie’s teeth looked terrible and decided to get them cleaned at a later date. I wanted to try and get her feet on the road to healing first. My vet felt that by being more consistent and omitting the Prednisone that Sophie would start to improve. He thought that the past diagnoses of Malassezia were correct. My vet also mentioned that Sophie’s limp was from a torn ACL of her right rear leg.

After the game plan was laid out, I was very consistent with Sophie’s meds and baths. She seemed to improve for a time, but unfortunately, she then regressed. I called my veterinarian back and told him that Sophie was not getting better and he said that it would take a long time for her deep Pyoderma to heal. I knew from dealing with Westies that I should have seen some sort of improvement by now. I had been treating her for almost two months and she was not getting better. I then made another vet appointment and took Sophie back for a recheck. The vet did a senior blood work wellness profile and we made plans for a biopsy, histopathology, and culture and at the same time, he would clean and pull the teeth that were necessary. I took Sophie back ten days later to have all this work performed and poor little Sophie had to have six back teeth extracted. They were rotted at the roots. I do not think she had ever had her teeth cleaned.

Wilmington, NC isn’t a very large city. But, we are fortunate to have a canine dermatologist who visits from Raleigh twice a month. I called and made an appointment with Dr. Barbara Atlee, the dermatologist. The appointment was two weeks out. That would give us time to have the culture and biopsy results before seeing her.

Sophie’s lab reports came in a few days before our appointment to see Dr. Atlee. Her culture results stated that she had Staphylococcus pseudintermedius. This staph was also Methicillin-resistant. This meant that every antibiotic that my vet and the previous vet treated her with did absolutely nothing to stop the infection. However, we now had a list of antibiotics that would successfully treat her infection. Her antibiotic list was very short. One of the antibiotics that Sophie’s staph was sensitive to was Zeniquin and a topical antibiotic called Mupirocin. The Zeniquin proved to be hard to find and expensive, but I found it. Sophie’s biopsy stated that she also had Demodex. We put her on a course of oral Ivermectin to treat that.

Sophie - WestieMed Grant Recipient April 2013
Sophie – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Sophie had her appointment with Dr. Atlee, the dermatologist, a short time later. Dr. Atlee examined Sophie, then looked over all of her records and labs and concurred with the diagnoses and protocol. Dr. Atlee also supplied me with a two-page “Treatment Sheet” to follow, which is always helpful. It consists of a detailed protocol to follow to get Sophie well and happy.

I believe that now little Sophie is on the road to healing. Her feet still have ulcers, but are not as swollen. She hates to take her oral medication but is always a trooper when I treat her feet with Mal-a-Ket wipes and Mupirocin ointment. I put her Ivermectin in her food and, as she always loves to eat, she wolfs it right down. Speaking of that, we now have Sophie down to a respectable weight; and her cute little face is in proportion with the rest of her body.

This year has been very hard for Carolina Westie Rescue. We took in three senior owner surrenders almost at the same time. All three had heath problems. Thankfully, two have found their forever homes. Sophie still has a long road ahead of her, but now I think we are on the right track to getting her well.

Thank you WestieMed for your offer to help with Sophie’s medical bills. The Westie community is fortunate to have an organization such as yours.

Sydney Christian
Carolina Westie Rescue
Wilmington NC

Update January 13, 2014

Sophie is doing well now and is still with us. I will soon get back with you with pictures and an update on her health.

I can never begin to express our gratitude or come close to letting WestieMed know how thankful we are that they have been there for us.

Sydney Christian

Carolina Westie Rescue