Catherine was found out wandering. She was abandoned, starving and left to die. She was taken in by kind strangers who tried to nurse her back to health. Unfortunately she was very ill and the people who found her did not have the resources to care for her. When they called Hearts United for Animals for help they said that Catherine had not kept down food or water for at least five days. She was skin and bones. When she arrived at the HUA veterinarian’s office they said she was at least 30 pounds underweight. She was treated for parasites and slowly reintroduced to food. As she was still struggling with gastrointestinal issues and making frequent trips back to the veterinarian’s office for more tests, it was discovered that she was also pregnant. That was a terrible diagnosis for a girl who was skin and bones and still having trouble eating, but HUA staff members did everything they could to keep her going. She was moved to a foster home for round the clock care. During the last few days before she gave birth she became gravely ill and was rushed to Urgent Pet Care in Omaha where she spent the weekend on antibiotics and fluids for pneumonia and dehydration. Specialists were consulted and additional x-rays were taken to find out if there was a deeper cause for her inability to keep food down regularly.
Just as phone calls were being made and x-rays were being sent around the country for review, Catherine gave birth to seven fat, happy, healthy little pups. Against all the odds they were just fine! The nutrition Catherine had been able to keep down had gone directly to the pups.
As Catherine was starting to nurse her new babies, requiring even more of her precious resources, the call came in with a clue as what her main medical issue might be. A radiology specialist thought that her esophagus was constricted, resulting in food not passing easily. It was suggested that Catherine be fed in an upright position with special canned food blended with equal parts water. Her foster mom is feeding her every two hours and Catherine now is happy with the routine of putting her paws up on the table top and lapping the food out of the bowl. She also holds Catherine up in a vertical position for several minutes after each feeding to make sure the food has a chance to pass into her stomach. Last week Catherine and her pups made the trip to Omaha for more tests where it was determined that the esophagus constriction is indeed severe. When filled with food the upper part of her esophagus turns into the size of her heart and the part where the constriction is located is so small it is barely visible. It is like a funnel. Surgical specialists are reviewing her case to see if she is a candidate for an operation. They feel that it may be caused by a persistent right aortic arch, a rare genetic defect. Catherine is thought to be four years old. Most dogs do not survive this long with that condition. She cannot undergo more tests for definite answers until the puppies are weaned and her pneumonia is completely cleared up. The good news is that she has kept all of her food down for over a week. Because of the new feeding arrangement she should no longer aspirate food into her lungs, which is what caused her pneumonia.
If Catherine is not a surgical candidate she will likely do fine with a special chair made for megaesophagus dogs (a condition similar to Catherine’s). A company called Bailey Chairs 4 Dogs is already making one especially for her that they are donating at no cost. This will mean no more eating off of the table while standing upright or having to be held upright after she eats.
We will keep you posted on Catherine’s condition as we know more. We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has donated to help Catherine and to the Bailey Chairs 4 Dogs company. Catherine’s expenses have been and will continue to be high, including 6 cans per day of prescription canned food that she is on right now while she needs extra nutrients for herself and the puppies, and special supplements and antibiotics as well. Donations are still being accepted for her online by clicking here. If you are interested in adopting Catherine or one of her puppies please email firstname.lastname@example.org. They won’t be ready to go for several weeks but they would love to have reservations lined up for wonderful homes!
Please enjoy our Youtube video of Catherine and her dear babies. She is a wonderful mom. She and her babies send you all their love…