WHEN YOU THINK RESCUE IS ENOUGH!
HHBR was contacted on Nov. 13th by a rescuer in SE Missouri about a 8.5 year old male Basset Hound, Flash, who lost control of using his back legs. We were told he could still wag his tail and was not incontinent as we typically see with Basset's who have disc injuries. At the time of contact we as HHBR knew we had just had very large expenses for two of the seniors we recently brought into our foster program needing splenectomies and knowing the expense of a Hemilaminectomy is close to $3-3.5K. We offered the rescuer a contact for another larger Basset Rescue in a neighboring state but after 4 days we learned they and another basset rescue they referred the owner to had said they didn't have the resources and couldn't help. We knew Flash's only chance was to bring him into our care. On Sunday 11/20 the rescuer who lives close to the surrendering family safely got Flash comfortable in the car and made the 10+ hour round trip to Des Moines, IA to deliver Flash to Iowa Veterinary Referral Center where HHBR's orthopedic surgeon, Dr Reimer, could evaluate him.
Flash's records were delivered with him and we finally seem to have the facts we didn't have to begin with Flash was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease way back in March of 2016. The treatment at that time was to place Flash on tramadol and Prednisone and strict crate rest. It is not noted if this treatment helped any but we are to assume so, at least until we have notes of him being seen at an ER clinic in Springfield, MO on 11/5 and being unable to use his hind legs at all. At this time as stated in the records from the ER Clinic the owner declined x rays due to financial reasons and it was made clear that Flash had a guarded prognosis, that managing a paralyzed dog can be difficult and this ER clinic offered to have Flash referred to a speciality clinic for surgery and they discussed getting a cart for Flash. The owner declined all methods mentioned and suggested and they went home with prescriptions for Gabapentin and Tramadol and the owner was taught how to express Flash's bladder manually.
Upon arrival to IVRC Flash was examined, a bloodwork and Urinalysis were run and an Xray taken. Flash's bloodwork was all within normal range but he has a raging UTI. It was quickly noted Flash has two large sores on his back legs and we now know these are urine scalds Flash is also acting hyperreactive to anyone even touching his ear We can't really blame him, his pain was not being managed at all, his world just got turned upside down. On Monday 11/21 Flash was examined by Dr Reimer, had a CT done to locate the ruptured disc and underwent a Hemilaminectomy surgery.
Dr Reimer said he did very well during surgery but the disc material was a very putrid green color and he sent it off to pathology due to the fact he has never seen that color before. Like human bruises when a disc blows and then the longer that material sits on the spine it continued to turn different colors. Flash's spinal cord was intact and looked healthy.
We were incredibly hopeful that the Hemilaminectomy surgery would allow Flash to regain the use of his back legs. But on 11/26 Flash's bloodwork started to take a turn for the worse :( His blood sodium levels began to increase and despite all medical efforts to try to get them to lower we were unsuccessful and other levels began to rise as well. The results were Flash not being able to calm himself, deep heavy breathing and him knowing something wasn't right within. Flash's body was systematically shutting down and despite all efforts to medically treat him we've hit the point of no return for him We were lucky to have had one internal med specialist, three er drs and orthopedic dr overnight with him. We wouldn't continue to let him suffer, he'd been through too much in his short time .So on 11.28.2016 Flash gained his wings and became yet another bright star to guide us.