We first saw Nanny in May of this year shortly after she was rescued from a rural shelter by Boxer Butts and Other Mutts. The first thing we noticed was her sweet personality, but it was obvious that she had some major medical issues going on. She had a grossly distended abdomen, fly bites on her ears, severe heart failure due to advanced heartworm disease, malnourishment, an impressive list of intestinal parasites, a urinary tract infection, rocks in her stomach and she tested positive for ehrlichia, a tick-borne disease. Despite having the worst case of heartworm disease our doctors had ever seen and a very grave prognosis, Nanny had a dedicated rescue group and a determined veterinary team.
First Steps for Healing Nanny the Dog
Our first priority was to drain all the fluid off her abdomen. It was causing her to have difficulty breathing and we knew we had to relieve some of the pressure, otherwise she could have literally drowned in her own fluid. We drained 7 liters off her abdomen and she immediately felt better, but we knew the fluid would come right back unless we treated the underlying problem: her severe heartworm disease. The Asheville area is fortunate to have a variety of board certified specialists in which we can refer challenging cases too. In Nanny’s case, we felt it would be best for her see a cardiologist. We referred her to Asheville Veterinary Specialists and they were able to prescribe several medications to help her heart. Unless we could strengthen her heart, it would be difficult to put her body through the stress of heartworm treatment.
The next several months consisted of a lot of trial and error, getting her heart medications just right and treating issues as they came up. In September, we felt as though her heart was strong enough for heartworm treatment and she came to our clinic for her first immiticide injection. She had a few setbacks when she started coughing up heartworms after her first treatment, but she stayed strong and came back a few weeks later for her second round of heartworm treatment. She still maintains a slight cough and she’ll have to continue taking all her heart meds, but despite all the odds, she has made an impressive recovery!
In January, she’ll come back to be tested again for heartworms and we expect her to test negative! The extraordinary thing about Nanny is that, although she had all the odds stacked against her, she is a fighter and always retains a positive attitude!
Our dedicated team of veterinarians, and animal specialists are committed to the health and wellness of pets in the Asheville area. For more information regarding Avery Creek Animal Hospital, contact us, or submit an appointment request online.