On February 22, 2005, we received a call from a vet in southwest Kansas saying that she had a seriously ill eight to ten week old Westie puppy that was about to be euthanized, and she asked if we could take him. She believed that he had a life-threatening liver shunt, but she didn’t have the specialized equipment to diagnose or treat such a problem. We discussed the experience that Westie Rescue of Missouri has had with treating liver shunt dogs, and the vet agreed to speak to the owners about releasing the puppy to Westie Rescue. She later called back and said that the puppy was ours if we could transport him from southwest Kansas to Kansas City, Missouri. Fortunately, we have a wonderful volunteer who agreed to make the run and who christened the puppy “Little Joe”.
We took Little Joe to the Veterinary Specialty Clinic in Overland Park, Kansas, where they confirmed the diagnosis of a liver shunt and determined that, although he only weighed five pounds, Little Joe was a good candidate for surgery. On April 6, 2005, he had surgery to repair the liver shunt. He was released to his foster mom on April 7, 2005. But, on April 11, 2005, he began having trouble retaining fluids, so he was re-admitted to the animal hospital for observation. (It is not uncommon for liver shunt puppies to have trouble with fluid retention until their livers get accustomed to the increased blood flow). After a couple of days in the hospital, Little Joe was pronounced well enough to return home.
Little Joe has continued to progress under the careful care of his foster mom and his foster sister, Wendy the Westie. While he has been waiting to go to his adoptive home, Little Joe has been spending his days helping his foster sister train some of the other foster dogs that have been through that foster home on their way to forever homes. Little Joe likes to go on wonderful backyard adventures with Wendy and particularly likes to help Wendy chase squirrels. He likes to race up and down the fence line with the border collies who live next door. He likes to play with his favorite ball, and he has just learned how to go up and downstairs. He is now sleeping through the night and has gained three and a half pounds.
Little Joe’s bile acid tests are almost back to normal and we expect that he will have a long and healthy life. Little Joe is still in foster care, but we expect to pick the lucky family who will get adopt Little Joe sometime in the next few weeks.
Rescue groups would not be able to give beautiful little puppies like Little Joe the chance for a life without the wonderful help and support of WestieMed. Thank you so much!
Luann Johnson, President Westie Rescue of Missouri, Inc.
Update: June 2006:
I fostered and then adopted Little Joe a.k.a., Mr. Brodie B. I just couldn’t let him go after all we had been thru with his liver stunt surgery.
He is a very happy, full of energy, and curious boy. His build is still very small, but he thinks he can take any other neighbor dog on and win. Mr. Brodie gets along great with his sister, Miss Wendy, and all the other foster Westies that come in and out of our home. Our vet thinks he will never grow any larger, and the bio acid tests keep coming back high, but he looks and acts very healthy. Brodie loves to the car ride, play with toys, play tug-of-war with the fosters, and run and bark at the squirrels in our back yard.
He is very sweet, gentle, and loving when he wants to be, but acts like the “man of the house” all the time. Brodie will cuddle up next to me at night and wakes me in the morning with a cold nose to my neck.
We hope we can someday meet those who helped in saving Mr. Brodie’s life. Have a great day.