ESRA Special Needs Springer
ESRA #2012-519 ID
Color: Black and white
SPECIAL NOTE: Cheat grass has another victim in Idaho so Barney has agreed to “share” his Special Needs page with Cooper. Read more about him at the end of Barney's updates.
Another ESRA Special Needs Springer
ESRA #2012-520 ID
Color: Liver and white
All About Barney
Barney has been adopted so is now an official "graduate" of ESRA's Special Needs Program. Cooper still needs your help so read on!
Barney is a Special Needs boy who desperately needed the care of ESRA. Barney is a victim — not of abuse, but a victim of a noxious, invasive weed called cheat grass (also called foxtail). Barney was found as a stray in rural Southern Idaho, where dry cheat grass is fairly prevalent. He was covered in cheat grass awns from head to toe, especially toe. Dr. McKown removed 27 awns from one paw alone, and recovered many more from all over his body. His underside and private area were infested as well. The awns have a microcopic barb that allow them to work their way into flesh (paws, mucous membranes, ears) but doesn't allow them to work their way out. So massive infections result.
Being a stray wasn't easy for Barney. Little Barney weighs only 32 pounds and should weigh closer to 45-50, according to Dr. McKown. He's too malnourished, and has too much of a fever to get neutered at this time. His initial treatment was awn removal for two and a half hours under anesthesia, and the staff at Pets First Animal Clinic in Boise, ID dip his paws in antiseptic solution several times a day. Pus is readily oozing from his paws and a puncture in his groin, but it's good that the wounds are draining. The staff is treating his pain as well as his infection, and giving him lots of love. We've had many dogs at Pets First and they give the dogs the affection and attention they need as well as the medical care.
Barney will stay in medical boarding about two weeks, because the multiple infections need to be controlled before he is moved to a foster home environment with access to the outdoors. In the meantime, we're hoping that he won't have to go under anesthesia again until he is neutered. However, cheat grass awns can take weeks and weeks to move around and fester at a point where they can be removed, so there may be more in store for him.
Barney's case gives ESRA an opportunity to educate people about the dangers of cheat grass, which is found all over the Western United States.
These invasive weeds have been found in the skin, between the toes, eyes, ears, mouth, vulva — basically anywhere on a dog's body. Awns are often found inside the ear canal. Not only is it painful, but an awn can cause infections and rupture the ear drum — just another reason to take your dog to the vet when you see him shaking his head or rubbing/scratching at his ears. Abscesses are very common, especially between the toes but even in the third eyelid. Awns can get caught in the tonsils and soft palate, causing coughing and gagging. An awn can get inhaled into the nasal passages and travel to the lung. They can even work their way through skin to interior body cavities such as lungs and abdomen, sometimes causing very serious infections as they migrate though, and get lodged in, body tissues. Cheat grass can cause infections in the skin, vagina, between the teeth, etc.
How you can prevent serious issues with cheat grass:
- Have your pet avoid weedy areas when the cheat grass dries (usually by July).
- Inspect your pet after being out-check under the ear flap, between the toes, under the tail, then brush out the hair coat.
- Keep long hair trimmed (especially between the toes). Have longer-coated dogs clipped shorter during the warm season.
- Keep your pet's fur free of mats.
- Monitor your pet for the early signs-shaking head, rubbing or scratching at ears, licking or chewing at feet or other areas, watery or squinting eyes, acute sneezing, coughing, or gagging. Call for an appointment if your pet has any of these symptoms.
This information is from South Care Vet in Spokane, WA. http://southcarevet.com/2010/09/01/pets-cheat-grass/
We'll keep you updated on Barney, but in the meantime, please keep him in your thoughts and hope for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE 7/12/12: Barney has developed kennel cough … just what he needed — another battle for his immune system! He's in isolation at Pets First, and they are focusing on getting him to eat his soft food and get plenty of fluids. Once the kennel cough has subsided, they will put him under anesthesia again to get more awns out.
UPDATE 7/22/12: This little fellow still needs lots of medical attention before his foxtail drama can come to a close. More than a week after his treatment began, he still has open wounds and festering pus-filled sores. He will definitely be undergoing further surgery to remove some of the more difficult cheat grass barbs. He is one sick little boy and has a long road to recovery.
UPDATE 7/26/12: Barney had his third surgery today, and the vet got out 17 more embedded cheat grass awns. Barney's paws are still in pretty bad shape, so he's staying at the vet hospital. He is no longer in isolation as his kennel cough has cleared up.
We can't wait for him to be healthy enough to discover more about his personality and for him to play outside. It's clear he's a sweetheart but it will be fun to see him as a playmate instead of a patient. He will move to foster care as soon as we get the OK from our vet.
UPDATE 8/5/12: Barney has left the building! That's right — Barney has left Pets First Animal Clinic and is now in a real foster home in Pocatello, ID. Barney is doing very well with the resident cat and dogs. His paws are healing up nicely and he's gaining weight. He has a great appetite. There are some lumps in his abdomen area that will be checked out later in the week to make sure that they are not more embedded awns, but overall Barney is doing WAY better!
UPDATE 8/26/12: Unfortunately Barney had to go back to the vet for exploratory surgery — at an additional cost of more than $1,000 — to find more awns in his abdomen He came home with four drain tubes. Earlier last week, he had to get another tube and some more antibiotics, but we feel he is ALMOST done with the cheat grass saga! Barney loves his foster family, dogs and cats included. He should be ready for his Forever Family soon!
All About Cooper
Introducing Cooper, Barney's friend, at Pets First Animal Hospital.
Just like Barney, Cooper was a stray in rural Canyon County, Idaho, and was quite underweight and full of embedded cheat grass awns. He was found just a day or two after Barney and taken to the shelter. Cooper seemed to be in better shape than Barney, but needed an immediate shave down and many cheat grass awns were taken from his feet, belly, back, neck, and ears.
Cooper was sneezing and coughing, and our vet was worried that perhaps he had awns inside his throat. Maybe they had worked their way from the neck to inside the throat. But Cooper showed signs of kennel cough so they medicated him and waited it out. Like Barney, he was in isolation at the vet hospital.
Cooper began recovering from kennel cough, and started coughing and sneezing less, so it seemed like there was not cheat grass inside the throat. However, he wouldn't eat, even soft food. As he was underweight, that was a concern.
UPDATE 7/26/12: Our vet discovered Cooper had a cheat grass awn inside the roof of his mouth that had abscessed. He was treated for that today, and they removed awns from inside his rectum, under anesthesia (thank goodness). Can you imagine-- not only did he have cheat grass everywhere on the outside, but also inside his ears, mouth, and bottom. Luckily, we have a thorough vet.
Since Cooper has had a similar journey recovering from the trauma of cheat grass, we decided he needed to share the Special Needs page with Barney.
Thank you for your support of these two wonderful dogs!
UPDATE 8/5/12: Cooper was sent back to the vet hospital this weekend after not eating and drinking and suffering from dehydration. With fluids, he showed improvement. He's still not feeling that well, however. We're wondering if more cheat grass will emerge or if we'll find another abscess. He's back at his foster home now and we are hoping the next few days will be better.
UPDATE 8/18/12: Cooper has been in and out of the vet's clinic over the past week — again not eating and drinking and just being lethargic in general. Nothing that the vet does seems to be the answer. Anyone who has a pet knows how hard it is to have one that is sick and not know what is going on! Cooper is just "skin and bones" and can't afford continued bouts of not eating. And dehydration is a cause for concern as well. His vet bills are mounting up with this uncertainty. Cooper will need lots of financial support from ESRA friends who can help!
Cooper's foster mom feels like he has never before experienced love or companionship. “He wants to be by my side and makes sure that when he turns around I'm still there.” He is a very loving Springer and deserves a good life in good health! She adds, “We hope that within the next few days, we will know what is going on with him and get him the medical help he needs. Please find it in your heart to help Cooper.”
UPDATE 8/24/12: The good news is that Cooper has recovered from his cheat grass awn infestation and kennel cough. However, he was still struggling with putting weight on. After some tests, the vets found that Cooper has just been dealing with severe malnutrition. So it's important that he eats only tiny amounts at a time so that he can keep it down. He gets sick if he eats too much, too soon.In the last week, Cooper has had no problems keeping food down and has gained two pounds. Even better, he's started to play with his foster mom! His foster mom says, “When I go and get the food now he is a happy boy and he eats, and looks up at me as if to say MORE — but we can't do that. We have to follow the doctor's orders as that is working. In other words, he is learning to eat all over again. He is learning to eat soft food. Watching him eat breaks my heart as he tries to chew it and when he gets it to his mouth he isn't quite sure what to do. But after a few minutes he starts smacking and he gets it down.”
UPDATE 9/5/12: COOPER HAD AN UNEXPECTED SET BACK BUT HE'S BACK ON TRACK NOW! Cooper had a slight set back last week when he suffered a snake bite. Yes, a snake bite! Poking aroung in that woodpile turned out to be a bad idea! His foot was bandaged and medications put him on the road to recovery. His paw is no longer swelling from the bite and he's now back to walking on it. Did he learn his lesson? Stay clear of that woodpile!
In general, Cooper is feeling pretty good these days — he's playing and acting feisty! He is being fed frequently and loves his food. In fact, he really doesn't want to share with the other dogs. Holding steady at 37 pounds, he has not gained any weight the past two weeks, but he's not losing any more and he's keeping food down so that is great.
He's quite attached to his foster mom and truly enjoying life now.
Contact: Kathy Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to hear more about Barney AND Cooper.
|BARNEY’S GENEROUS SPONSORS TO DATE:|
|Sharleen Smith||In memory of Alfie, my first Special Needs boy, who is resting and playing at the Rainbow Bridge. Love and miss you, boy!|
|Ray and Monica Smith||In memory of Chance and Benji|
|Carolyn Molloy||In memory of Bradley Osborne, who came to ESRA in the same pathetic condition. Barney, get well so you can enrich the lives of your new family with the same love that Brad shared with his dad, Don.|
|Jan Gallagher||Love and good times to come|
|Denise Skonieczny Buehler||In memory of my first springer also named Barney. May you heal and go on to have a wonderful life.|
|Anonymous||In memory of Conner and Duncan|
|Karl and Linda Lintz||Barney, you are in the loving arms of ESRA now and have our love and prayers. Get well soon, sweet boy.|
|Anne Mele||In honor of her rescues Garbo, Dana, Fannie Mae and Beauty|
|Bob and Joanne Auerbach||In memory of Oreo, our beloved companion for 15 plus years. Hope Barney recovers quickly and with minimal suffering.|
|Susy and Steve Boettcher||In memory of Megan, Abby, Sady and Shadow|
|Alisa M. Runyan||In memory of Scooter whom we miss every day|
|Ray and Monica Smith||A gift for Cooper in memory of Buddy Freeman. Hope both of you boys are feeling better soon!|
|Haeok Holt||Get better soon, sweet pups. We are rooting for you!|