sigh... poor rusty...

cindyandmochaJune 14, 2010

So my poor Rusty went to the vet this week. He SCREAMED last Sunday and I was pretty sure it was due to a bad tooth. So we took him to the vet on Monday. Sure enough, it had to be romoved.

While they were at it, they cleaned the rest of his teeth and did xrays since Rusty is now 11 yrs old.

It turns out his hips are fine, only mild displaysia for his age and breed (mostly Malinois), BUT...

He has spondylosis pretty bad. His vertebrae are actually trying to fuse together. The vet said it wasn't entirely uncommon, but it can become quite painful. I just HATE thinking of this gentle giant in pain. For now we are treating with aspirin but will likely have to escalate soon.

Ugg.. it turns out his back hips were also PEPPERED with buckshot! Imbedded everywhere under his skin. I knew the jerk that turned him into the shelter when he was 3 said he was a "vicious chicken killer", but I never really realized HOW MUCH of a jerk that guy was at the time until I saw the xrays.

In all my days at the shelter, I truly never met such a gentle adoring dog.

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He's so handsome. I cant post what I think of people that harm animals, what I can say is "What goes around,comes around" and that jerks day will come. I hope Rusty is feeling better, poor baby.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 8:02AM
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I agree with Christine! He's in good hands.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 8:44AM
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What a beautiful boy! Hope he is feeling better without that tooth. He obviously had a rough start, but what a lucky boy he is now :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 9:57AM
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He is such a pretty dog.I hope he feels better soon..

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Poor guy, and what a horrible person to do this to him. He should have to suffer exactly what he did to poor Rusty.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:26PM
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True enough. He is recovering very nicely now that the bad tooth is gone. He was a little cranky this week with Mocha, but I think he was just nervous about getting bumped and jarring his tooth.

All he wants to do is sit and stare at my husband or sit in his lap. I swear that dog worships him.

The buckshot certainly explains why he freaks every time he hears a firecracker or thunder.

I knew he had some buckshot, but not so much of it. There were some pieces that made it hard to read the xrays to check his heart and lungs to make sure they were clear, but eventually he got some good pics and all was very sound there.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 4:22PM
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Medicam is a great medicine for pain, and youm ight want to look into getting him a wheelchair....Good luck to you and your beautiful boy

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 5:16PM
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I'm just glad he is in good, loving hands now. I can't even bear to think of a dog being mistreated. I wish there were stricter laws and stiffer penalties.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:34PM
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What a dear dog. That creep should be peppered with buckshot.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 2:10AM
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Rusty is beautiful. I'm sure he's feeling better with that tooth gone. Consider acupuncture for his spondylosis. There are practitioners for dogs, and I've heard good things about it.

And, all of you have been too kind about wishing that the jerk was peppered with buckshot. I have something much worse in mind.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 7:51AM
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he's so pretty and, that face! how in God's name anybody could harm ANY animal, let alone one with such kind eyes, is way beyond me. weed, whatever it is you want to do, i'll hold the jerk down for you!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 3:35PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

And I'll do it again for good measure.
What a sweetie!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 8:20PM
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aww you guys are great. When I say "gentle giant" I mean it. He weighed only 45 lbs when the guy turned him in (at 3 yrs old!). I could see every sharp hip bone and rib.

No wonder this dog was escaping and killing chickens. BTW we have ducks who visit every year, and he doesn't make a single move on them.

Here are a few more "gentle" pics..

In this one he's a "scarf" and thinks he weighs 45 lbs still...

IN this one.. I fell asleep..and so did he... and he rolled off the back of the sofa onto me... we both kept sleeping.. LOL.. gah i was tired that day!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 12:11AM
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I want to clarify that when I met this dog, "the vicious chicken killer", he was turned into the shelter I worked at. We kept him as long as we could but at his size, even skinny, he took up a LOT of space.

In our tiny county, we can house maybe 30 dogs very well. But we received 300 per month.

Do the math. That means many dogs being euthanized, and I wasn only 1 of 2 euthanizia certified techs.

Rusty played out his time and beyond, but it was waaay past.

The night before he was scheduled to be put down, my husband said, "lets just go get him and see how he does with Mocha and Ginger". I was having nightmares before that about Rusty and clocks -- the gentle giant. My boss had even asked him, unbeknowst to me if I should be there when Rusty was put down.

Well we did it, we went and got him that night, and he jumped right in Brian's lap. He was hooked (hubby)

The next morning I did Rusty's blood test and he was positive for heartworm.!!!! Ugggghh this dog could not catch a break!

I called hubby and told him, and he said, I DON'T CARE, I love that dog, do it!

Well I did. The vet laughed. He'd never seen someone neteur a heartworm positive dog before. But all his staff loved him. When I went to pick him up, he was behind the front desk, not down in the vet kennels. They said he was so sweet they put him up their with them.

And 10 yrs later... here is Rusty.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 3:01AM
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one more thing before I let this rest............

Rusty is not my smartest dog. In fact, sometimes Hubby and I joke that we should have named him "forrest" (gump).

But Rusty went on to get his CGC. Now Mocha is my "brainiac". He is super smart. Rusty is not that smart. Rusty can get lost going around the coffee table. But he is eager to please and loyal.

BUT, Rusty visits the local alzheimer's ward every few months and they ADORE him. He sits, he lets them pet him, he lets them pull his ears. He actually performs a valuable service to them.

He ain't my brightest dog, but dangit, he sure is loveable. And he sure does good work.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 3:08AM
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My K'Ehleyr had wicked spondylosis too. She managed to fuse almost all of her lumbar vertebrae. Some things that helped her:

Weight loss- can't stress this enough. Rusty doesn't look huge but he could stand to lose a few pounds; better to be a bit thin than any bit overweight with that condition.

Duralactin: concentrated milk protein, good anti-inflammatory without any negative side effects. Can get it at Foster and Smith.

Fish Oil: for his size, 1000mg twice daily. The omega fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory. Available OTC at any drug store (human supplement).

Regular exercise: he looks pretty muscular, but regular walks (no running) or even better swimming will help keep him in top condition.

Glucosamine HCl 1500mg with chondrotin sulfate 1200mg twice daily for 6 weeks, then once daily for maintenance to help rebuild cartilage between vertebrae. Available at any human drug store (human supplement). Walmart has the best price I've found.
Pentosan injections: these are given at the vet and have the same general principle as the glucosamine/chondroitin but with some other stuff that seems to be more effective. However not all vets have it or know about it. Equine vets seem to use it more.

Acupuncture: if you can find a veterinary acupuncturist, I highly recommend it. When my K'Ehleyr became almost paralyzed and I took her to NC State Vet School for an MRI, they said all her disks were so messed up that fixing a couple of them wouldn't help her walk better or be more comfortable. Basically, there was nothing surgically they could do for her. But my friend and colleague does acupuncture and it really helped K'Ehleyr for about 8 months.

MRI: may show specific disks that could have surgery to prevent Rusty from becoming paralyzed like K'Ehleyr. Didn't help K, but if Rusty only has one or two main problem disks, he may benefit from surgery.

Gabapentin: excellent pain medication, specific for neurogenic pain. Can be used with NSAIDs and tramadol.

NSAIDs: decrease inflammation and pain. May have negative side effects on liver and kidney, so get blood tests prior to starting and at regular intervals thereafter. I usually test at 2 weeks and then every 6 months for patients on chronic NSAIDs.

Tramadol: morphine derivative without the sedation and addiction. Works in some but not all dogs. Gabapentin worked better for K, but I have some patients who really love their tramadol.

I hope this helps a bit. They all helped K for a good 8 months, even after she went down. Once we got her over that episode, yes she took a lot of pills (which she was OK with since she got them in peanut butter) but she was in great shape until she became paralyzed. I hope your Rusty has a lot longer after diagnosis than K did. If he's not showing signs now, he's probably in good shape for a while. Please email me if you want to chat. I still miss my girl, and I treat a *lot* of dogs with the same problem, and I'd love to help if possible.

Oh, and karma is a b!tch to those who hurt animals, children, etc. That person who shot Rusty will get what's coming. I'd love to see it happen. Yes, I do take pleasure in the deserved suffering of others. I'm an evil girl...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 6:53PM
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Aside from child molesters and murderers, animal abusers are the worse kind of human trash.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 12:23AM
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Thanks soooo much guys, I will let the subject rest now. He is recovering remarkably. Most of his pain turned out to be from the tooth.

Meghane thanks for the help. I will definitely give you an email when I get the chance. Right now at 11, he is doing well with his problem. However, I am not sure that will last at all. He has been living on borrowed time for a long time. I'm traveling a lot right now doing some consulting and reeeeeeally miss my 4 legged critters. I can't wait to be back home.

I actually do know a really great holistic vet in Nashville. She was our first dog's vet and we only changed because we moved to a community further north. However, I am quite sure she still is there and is known for her accupuncture and holistic practices.

Not only could Rusty stand to lose some weight, but so could Mocha. I have them on low-fat Cali Natural, but see that it's time to start limiting the amount more than I do(waaay past time frankly). I do not free-feed.

From the x-rays, I saw a few discs that were primarily affected (the worst of them), but it seemed to be becoming prevalent throughout the spine. (Go figure, at one point I was an x-ray tech -- That's why when I saw the amount of buckshot on the films I was slightly taken aback). We definitely would not rule out surgery if we think it can help. There were a few certain "hooks" that I thought could actually be beneficial to treat surgically if it comes to that, but a specialist would know better than I.

If I didn't say it before, all you guys rock. We have a great supportive community here.

Thank you all!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 1:58AM
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I was following up on some posts today, since some of my travel has relaxed for the past few months - but may be starting up again. I wanted to let you guys know how grateful we were for the treatment info.

Rusty is now back to no medications at all. He is doing REMARKABLY well. His last checkup was "flying colors". He got shaved down for the summer this week and looks "weird" to say the least - white body and red head. But he's sleeping most of the day and playing now and then. He is getting around really well and shows no signs at all of any discomfort.

We've limited their (Ginger, Mocha, and Rusty) food intake some more, and switched to a Wellness brand of low-fat food.

Mocha is trying to recover from ACL surgery.

Thanks so much guys :)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 1:38AM
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oh this is just wonderful news!! whatever you are doing, keep doing it because it sure is working!

hope mocha recovers well and soon. :)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 8:37AM
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