Pickles - WestieMed Grant Recipient March 2016


Pickles unique story comes to us from a family with a long history of Westie rescues! Pckles is a dedicated service dog who sticks by his handler’s side to signal for help if needed due to her life-threatening heart condition.

Pickles was diagnosed with Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, (KCS) also known as dry eye. This condition results when the tear ducts no longer produce tears resulting dry, itchy inflamed eyes (imagine a dry eye with sand in it) the inflammation causes a buildup of mucus that covers his eye, blocks his vision and if left to sit too long would create sores on his eyelids. Up until now, his owner had been able to manage it with meds & constant flushing of the eye, but the inflammation was beginning to starve his eyes of blood-flow and causing progressive blindness. 

The request for help became urgent after Pickles walked into a branch that caused a cut near his right eye & in his panic to get away he nearly fell in a storm drain! “Watching him go through this breaks my heart,” said his handler who lacked the funds for the much-needed treatments Pickles needed. She noted that “he’s so full of life and losing his sight is crushing his soul, he’s getting more anxious and fearful of what he can’t see (including the two cat’s he lives with)”.

Pickles needed help and it was clear he could wait no longer so his handler set out to get him the care he needed. This is when they found a very promising treatment option using pickles stem cells. The treatment involves the removal of pickles own stem cells and re-implanting them into his eyes which has been shown to cause the faulty cells to regenerate and become functional again. 

Currently, this procedure is being done at two universities (neither of which was near Pickles) and it has had very promising outcomes with eight out of twelve dogs having full remission and the remaining four having significant improvement. Luckily for Pickles, his handler was able to find a local vet willing to perform the procedure but it would be costly.

After trying to raise funds on her own, Pickles handler turned to WestieMed with this unique story.

As of now, he has undergone his first phase in the treatment and is responding well. After just two days, he’s showing signs of improved functioning in one eye.

Thanks to WestieMed for helping to fund his treatment.

It’s expected that Pickles will go on to live a long, happy and healthy life, working each day and positively touching the lives of everyone he meets.

Update November 17, 2016

Pickles eyes have had some improvement, (not as much as we had hoped for) but at least now, the medications that had stopped working for him are actually working again which is a godsend.

Otherwise, he’s doing well, he seems to be more comfortable overall. 

Thanks again for your assistance in helping him. We GREATLY appreciate it. 

Take Care,

Kadi J. Driscoll Psy D.