Medical-needs fostering - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Medical-needs fostering

I brought home my most challenging foster ever last week...I'm bouncing between highs of seeing great things from him, and lows of feeling like a the worst foster mom ever for the painful things we have to do to clean out his wounds.

He was picked up by animal control after he fell in a canal. His paw pads were so shredded that he couldn't stand up. His belly was covered in urine scald from lying in his own pee for days. He had cuts and sores all over his legs. He was, quite simply, a wreck.

We later found out eventually he was an inside dog who had gotten out. He was owned by an elderly man who realized he could not longer handle him. The dog is just 18 months old -- and big (77 pounds and still a gangly stilt-walker who hasn't grown into his long legs yet).

After a week in the vet clinic, the dog came home with me. We've had a rough week. I'm cleaning wounds with diluted betadine solution, bandaging, and wrapping daily (sometimes 2X a day). Yesterday he was in a lot of pain, so back to the shelter's vet he lance an abscess that had formed under the healing sore. Now we've got a new cleaning protocol to add. It took use 90 minutes to do all the cleaning, wrapping and medicating this AM. He won't take pills, even in Pill Pockets or meat, so they all have to be popped into the back of his throat...and he's on a lot of meds right now (multiple antibiotics and pain meds).

We went through 5 days of not eating much at all. I know the cephalexen was jacking with his tummy. I was squirting diluted chicken baby food in his mouth, feeding him as much Nutri-Cal as he'd take, offering Natural Balance log diced up...anything to get calories into him. People kept saying things like "chicken and rice" not realizing he was in the midst of a "Shepherd Shutdown"--nothing tastes good to them once that happens. He wasn't drinking either, so we were squirting Pedialyte into his mouth with a needle-less syringe, 10 ml at a time.

To add insult to injury, he broke with Kennel Cough on Saturday. It was a bad weekend. I was worried he had walking pneumonia and in a bit of a panic once the cough and runny nose started. His lungs are okay though, according to the vet.

Somehow after getting the abscesses lanced, he turned a corner. He came home and ate a bowl of high-quality kibble and a bunch of Natural Balance log and started drinking lots of water (with Pedialyte mixed in). The goofball even wanted me to take him for a walk when he went out to pee (NOT happening on those feet!). When we came in, I draped the leash over a door knob and he tossed it over his back, pulled it off the door and brought it to me and wiggled--asking to go out again!

This AM, while we were cleaning his feet, he rolypoly'ed around like a huge puppy, grinning at having his belly rubbed. He was so stinking happy to be fussed over. We're finally seeing his personality emerging. It's been a long time coming. He's still a big puppy at heart.

We aren't out of the woods yet (lots more bandaging and wound cleaning lies ahead), but at least he's feeling better.

He may have one of the best temperaments I've ever fostered. He doesn't fuss or complain even when we are flushing open wounds to clean them out -- and I know it stings. He rolls on his back and puts his feet in the air when it's time to work on them. It's amazing--such a good dog.

I'm exhausted, but hopeful. He's pretty special, so he's worth all the time and stress. So tell me about your most stressful medical needs foster, and how it worked out -- and add a picture!

Here is Bruno, the day he left the shelter:

Last edited by Magwart; 06-26-2013 at 11:07 AM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 11:18 AM
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I don't have a story to tell. I just want to say Thank You so much for saving that beautiful baby!!
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 11:21 AM
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Oh those eyes...I'm so glad he's getting the care he needs. It's amazing seeing them blossom first hand


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Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 7 year old male cats
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 11:54 AM
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What a sweet, sweet boy. You are a saint! Thank for everything you've done for him.

I have stories, but they don't even come close, so all I can do is appreciate yours.

Amy and the dogs,

Jack - male GSD b. 8/9/10
Lillian - female Weimaraner b. ~2005
RIP Mattie - female GSD 10/18/02 - 7/24/2013
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 01:15 PM
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Yay! What a great story. He sounds like the kind of companion that so many are looking for. I hope you post updates!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 01:45 PM
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That's one lucky dog that found him. Thank you!

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 03:39 PM
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Magwart, you are an inspiration! I look forward to hearing updates on his progress!

Sorry, I don't have any stories of my own to share. The dogs I have fostered haven't had any real serious medical issues... a lot of the usual suspects of worms, ear infections, kennel cough, etc.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 12:34 AM
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I had a foster with a similar wound problem. There was not enough skin left to close the wound. What I loved, loved, Loved was the hydrogel dressing pads. I would place the pad on the wound and it would keep a moist environment and promote tissue repair. And the bandages would not stick to the wound. It is used in human medicine, my vet got a sample from a rep. Highly recommended. It reduces the frequency of dressing changes.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 01:56 AM
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You're a good soul and he's a lucky dog.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 03:52 AM
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No stories of my own but my gosh he is lucky to be in your care. He looks like a total sweetie. Sounds like one too. He knows he's being well taken care of and you're trying to help. What a good boy.

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