ESRA’s Special Seniors
Taking Care of Resilient Gentleman Jack
It has been quite a challenge for twelve-year-old Jack’s foster mom to keep on top of the multitude of medical issues that he brought with him to ESRA when his owner died in 2013. It must have seemed, however, that he was trying to be thoughtful by not burdening her with too much at one time — there was usually just enough of a breather after one medical crisis before another one would crop up.
To begin his story, Jack arrived suffering from a long-standing untreated urinary tract infection that had caused the skin on his belly and groin to be raw and infected. Add to that, impacted anal glands and lick granulomas (commonly referred to as “hot spots”) on all four paws, with one on his left rear foot a really bad one. His neuter surgery had to be delayed until his skin condition improved, but once under anesthesia, masses on his testicles were discovered. Fortunately, pathology proved them to be benign so Jack appeared to be ready to prepare for better days ahead.
In addition to whipworms and hookworms, not all that unusual in the rescue business, Jack had also brought about 16 extra pounds with him when he came to ESRA, so Foster Mom was planning to offer a diet of good quality, healthy meals when Jack came down with a stomach virus. One week of loose stools and throwing up, coupled with antibiotics, nausea medicine, and a bland diet of rice and boiled chicken actually achieved the goal weight quickly and Jack again appeared to be ready to relax and be loved while waiting on his Forever Family to find him.
Wait a minute, not so fast — next came a urinary leakage issue. Luckily a low dose of Proin seemed to quell that, at least for the time being.
Meanwhile, despite having a comfortable safe foster home, Jack continued to lick his paws which is often a sure sign of anxiety. One morning the one rear paw that had always been the worst one was completely bare of hair and swollen, so back to the vet he went. A low dose of prednisone was prescribed which soon seemed to magically trigger a more relaxed response and a halt to the paw licking. Aha! Not just anxiety but possibly also allergy-related! A change to grain-free food was made to finally solve the licking problem at last.
Jack’s ailments up to this point seemed almost trivial the upsetting day his foster mom discovered that Jack was having trouble standing or walking. He would try but would fall over. This time the diagnosis was Ideopathic Vestibular Disease, a fairly common condition in older dogs according to the vet. Placed on motion sickness and anti-nausea medication, his condition improved and helps him recover faster whenever another episode occurs.
Now, back to Jack’s urinary “piddling” problem — it recurred — and increasing the dose of Proin didn’t help so further investigation was necessary. A small mass was detected on Jack’s urethra which was leaving him very little control over the situation. Surgery was not an option due to the location of the mass and Jack’s age, but he was started on an experimental medicine that has shown some success in shrinking masses. We suspect it is working to some degree as the leaking has been reduced although it remains a fairly constant part of his life.
Is Jack lucky that he became an ESRA Springer? The discomfort and serious medical issues that he was secretly battling would surely have robbed him of any measure of quality to the last years of his life without ESRA. Instead he is comfortable in his ESRA foster home where he has constant love, his choice of cushy beds to rest in, his own yard to patrol and a patio where he can survey his territory, all the while his tail wags a mile a minute in gratitude for the life and care ESRA has provided. Jack is proof positive of the good work ESRA can accomplish with help from our friends!