The Westie Club of the South received Bella on March 25, 2022 at the age of 3 months. Her breeder surrendered her because of a disorder involving an ectopic ureter. We were advised by the University of Georgia (UGA) Veterinary Hospital that surgery was the only option for improving Bella’s condition. She underwent the procedure which was originally done with a scope in hopes the issue could be corrected without making an incision. Unfortunately, one of the ureters was not attached and was below the actual bladder and more surgery was needed.
The Vet at UGA said he has performed the procedure Bella had hundreds of times and has only seen Bella’s additional issues less than 10 times. Shortly after the second surgery, Bella developed a hernia due the wrong size of stitches used and the hernia would continue to grow if not surgically treated. The cost to repair the hernia if treated at UGA would be another $3,000. Bella’s foster caregiver urgently texted her own Vet, Dr. Shannon, after hours to discuss Bella’s situation and Dr. Shannon performed surgery the next day at a significantly reduced cost. Bella’s incontinence issues remained but worse were constant urinary tract infections. The rescue consulted a specialty vet in Greenville, SC and the recommendation was to perform a Vulvoplasty to fix the issue causing the infections. Dr. Shannon once again offered to perform the recommended surgery at a reduced cost.
Bella has gone through so much in a short time. She is doing great…very independent, but loving and sweet. She still has a “leakage” issue which more than likely will result in her continuing to be in diapers. We humbly thank WestieMed for their support of our organization and sweet young Bella who will now have a bright future bringing joy to others.
Update May 25, 2023:
Bella is a happy, sassy Westie. She has gained weight and has had no issues with Urinary Tract infections until recently. She plays outside most of the day with her Westie sister Maggie. Bella keeps our family entertained and on our toes.
To WestieMed, thank you for providing assistance with Bella. We love her very much
Little Louie was a “surprise” gift, along with another Westie puppy, for a girl from her boyfriend. Louie was four months old, and Lloyd was five months. She did not have time to devote to their care, and she surrendered them to the Atlanta Westie Rescue Committee in September of 2012.
When Louie arrived for foster care, we noticed that he was very small, even for four months, and he also had a very sensitive stomach. We finally put him on a diet of boiled chicken and white rice. Our rescue vet, Montrose Animal Hospital in Marietta, Georgia, recommended that we add a kiddie vitamin and fresh spinach and sweet potato to his diet to ensure he was getting the proper nutrition. He still had stomach issues though, and at one point had to go to the emergency clinic for a day. He was a tiny little puff ball at 5-1/2 pounds and did not appear to be growing. We were concerned that perhaps he was suffering from “failure to thrive.”
Louie’s big boy neuter surgery was scheduled in November, and that is when his little life changed. Dr. Davis at Montrose said that his pre-surgery blood work showed numbers “all over the place,” with high liver enzymes and high WBC count of most concern. Given Louie’s other symptoms, Dr. Davis suspected Portosystemic Shunt (PSS, or liver shunt), which means that the blood was bypassing the liver and therefore not being cleansed of all the toxins. Dr. Davis felt that an ultrasound might be beneficial, and it did show a very small liver. The neuter surgery was canceled and Louie was sent home with antibiotics and a special hepatic diet.
There was a huge difference in Louie in just a couple of days as his body fought off infection and he received the proper nutrition. Another medication was added to help Louie pass the toxins out of his body, and again there was a marked improvement in his demeanor. These medications were given in anticipation of Louie having corrective surgery for the PSS.
Louie was referred to Dr. Berryessa at Georgia Veterinary Specialists (GVS) for a consult. Louie’s “entourage” consisted of his foster mom, the chair of the rescue, and the VP of the Westie Club of the South, all there for moral support. After the initial examination, Dr. Berryessa suggested another ultrasound to try to confirm that Louie had a PSS. We met the most amazing staff, all very caring, and they even let us go back with Louie for the ultrasound so we could see what they were looking at. The procedure was thoroughly explained to us, and it was confirmed that Louie was very sick with a PSS.
Due to the fact that we had changed Louie’s diet and had him on medications, he was looking healthier and gaining a little weight, which made us happy. We also discovered this amazingly active pup with newfound energy who played until he couldn’t anymore! What a difference that made, and we were hopeful that the surgery would help even more.
Surgery day arrived and we dropped Louie off bright and early at GVS. They took him back and Dr. Winkler, the surgeon, came and talked to us before we left and assured us that he would call as soon as the surgery was over, which he did. However, the news was not what we had hoped for. They were unable to repair the liver shunt because (1) the veins were in the wrong location and (2) Louie’s liver was very tiny. The surgeon was able to neuter Louie while he was under. He had an overnight stay, and we were able to pick him up the next afternoon.
As an aside, my teenage daughter had a liver transplant eighteen months ago; as difficult as it was for me, I could deal with that okay. However, I was not prepared for the pitiful little baby I picked up from GVS, and it just tore my heart to pieces. We brought Louie home and put him in a nest that we had created to keep him quiet and away from the pack to try and help his little body heal. The first couple of days he was pitiful, but as his incision healed he started acting more like himself. After about a week, it was difficult to keep him quiet because he wanted to play and be with the pack.
Since then, my daughter and Louie have been on the same schedule for medications (so Mom can keep it all straight). Now almost three months later, Louie is thriving and growing and is a happy pup at thirteen pounds – almost tripling his weight since diagnosis. Although he may have a shortened life span, he is living life to the fullest and is a sweet, mischievous little man who makes us laugh all the time. He is a delight to have in the house, and all of our children’s friends have “adopted” him as their foster brother, too!
All we can say to WestieMed is “thank you for being there when we needed help.” There is no way we could ever thank you enough for your assistance with Louie’s surgery.
Rhona Terrell, Grateful Foster Mom Westie Club of the South, Inc.
Update October 1, 2013
Many of you will recall the story about Louie, the littlest four-month-old Westie I had ever seen. He was surrendered in 2012 along with Lloyd by a woman who was “surprised” by her boyfriend with two puppies, and she had no desire to raise any puppies. Apparently a backyard breeder was getting out of the business (i.e., someone had turned her in) and she would not take the puppies back.
Louie came in relatively small, but he didn’t thrive no matter what Rhona fed him. After about a month, Rhona and his two aunties (Cindy and Harriett) took him for a consult with Georgia Veterinary Specialists, and Louie was diagnosed with a liver shunt, which was unable to be surgically repaired. Louie has been on medications ever since to keep him as healthy as possible.
His foster mom, Rhona Terrell, was up with him all night last night. A trip to the vet showed that Louie is going into the next stage of his liver disease. His protein and albumin levels are very low, and there is fluid in his belly. After discussing his condition with the vet, I have opted to keep him comfortable on diuretics and anti-nausea medicines.
Louie is still a very happy (although somewhat tired) one-year-old. Rhona, James, Matthew, and Kathleen (and all of their friends) are taking wonderful care of him. Rhona said it best this morning: “Louie has loved a lifetime in his short life” and I don’t know anyone who has met him that did not fall in love at first sight.
I just wanted to update everyone on his condition and express my appreciation of everyone coming together and rallying around this little pup. Now Louie and his foster family need our prayers and all good thoughts.
Update February 24, 2014
Louie is doing well most days and continues to delight us with his antics.
He has slowed down a little, which is all part of his condition.
He still loves to play with the pack but prefers to sleep by himself most nights as he gets restless and, due to being on diuretics, has frequent bathroom breaks (so does Mom).
Whether he is running and playing or just chilling in the sun, the outdoors is his favorite, although at the end of the day he is very content to be snuggled up in someone’s lap with a blanket.
We go on walks to the park with him and the other dogs, he can’t go the same distance but he is very happy to be in his stroller (see attached picture) after he is done walking.
He will turn two in May and we know every day with this loving little guy is a blessing.
Please enjoy his pictures.
Thank you again WestieMed for being there in his time of need; we are all truly grateful.
Rhona Terrell, Foster Mom Westie Club of the South, Inc
If not for a concerned human being, Jake might not have been with our rescue today. The woman who contacted us cared enough about him to talk his owner into surrendering him to her. She, in turn, took him to her vet for immediate care and then contacted us and took the steps to place him into our rescue program. This kind soul shared that the owner did not care about this little guy and she warned us he was in bad shape but nothing could prepare any of us involved in rescue for what was in store when we saw him at Montrose Animal Hospital, our rescue vets. He was two years old, weighed a minuscule ten pounds and the lesions on his body were indescribable.
Our veterinary clinic allows us to have rescues surrendered to them so Jake, as he is now known, was taken there. He was in such bad shape that it was necessary to shave him, but it was so painful that he had to be lightly sedated to reduce the trauma to him. Fur was trimmed away and it revealed inflamed and bleeding skin lesions. After all, was said and done, Jake had severe demodectic mange and secondary infections. He went into foster care with a litany of medications from ear drops, eye ointments, antibiotics to antifungals, and a de-wormer. Needless to say, neuter surgery was the least of the worries at this point and the goal was to get him stronger and back to the Westie “attitude” we Westie owners all love and know.
Jake’s foster mom was amazing. The amount of love and attention Jake received was over the top and went a long way in his healing process. He has never been left alone at home – he travels to work with foster mom or dad every day dressed in his sweaters to keep him warm until his coat grows back. Daily medicated baths have progressed to weekly baths to help his skin. Walks have been slow in evolving because his paw pads were so inflamed that it took time to get him to where he could comfortably take leash walks.
We all thought this little guy was on the way to his new “forever” home because he was recovering from the mange – his fur coat was coming on strong and he was finally was able to be neutered. Unfortunately, Jake’s journey to health was not over by a long shot.
Jake started limping toward the end of February, and examination by the vet showed a luxating patella. The initial medical intervention included pain medication and crate rest but was ineffective, and surgery was required. Surgery was performed on March 16, 2012, and Jake’s prognosis is great. The vet indicated that all looks good and this should be the last of Jake’s issues. He is now ready to find that “forever” family.
Jake’s story and the journey is confirmation for why the members of our club do what we do. Westie Club of the South is an independent 501 (c)(3) club dedicated to helping our Westie companions. Funding to rescue and treat needy Westies is raised through our efforts alone. While we try to absorb the costs without assistance, Jake’s situation has been a challenge to us; hence, our request for assistance from WestieMed.
Cynthia Levine Chair Atlanta Westie Rescue Committee Westie Club of the South, Inc.
Update October 2, 2012
Right after Jake was adopted, his little boy had to have corrective surgery on both legs. The photo of them in bed is right after the surgery. The doctors had to actually break both legs and re-set them. He spent two months in a wheelchair.
As you can see from the other photo, he is now sans casts, and the best part is that he and Jake can run together.
If you will recall, Jake had no fur when he came into our program, but look at him now!
We are all so thankful that WestieMed has such a generous heart.
Cindy Levine, Chair Atlanta Westie Rescue Committee Westie Club of the South, Inc.
Update January 8, 2013
Jake is doing great, not so fond of the cold rainy days but other than that he is fabulous. His skin looks terrific and he has grown so much fur. He limps some times but it doesn’t seem to bother him.
Jake is gorgeous, of course, but the photo with all his brothers and sister is just beautiful. There isn’t much to tell. Jake is the perfect Westie now that he is healthy. My thanks to WestieMed for your part in helping Jake.
Cindy Levine, Chair Atlanta Westie Rescue Committee