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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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 went...to 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:

 

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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 :rose:
 

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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.
 

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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!
Sheilah
 

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That's one lucky dog that found him. Thank you!
 

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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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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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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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Just some thoughts on pilling.....have you tried the homemade "pill pockets"? You can make some with liverwurst and cream cheese.
http://www.cedarwayvet.com/files/PillPocketsHomeMade.pdf
My GSD is a pro about eating around a pill but for a while she gulped these down. When she got smart about these too, I started "tricking" her by having 4 balls of liverwurst, only 2 had pills. Gave the first empty one, had the others ready right by her nose and she would gulp the first 3 down because she knew there were other ones waiting so the middle 2 had her pills. It works every time.

Here's some with PB too
Becky's Blog - lots of fun shtuff: How to Make Homemade Pill Pockets for Pets

I used to spend $20 a month on pill pockets even with my clinic discount but now I just make my own. Also, Amazon sells the brand name ones for less than $6 a bag.
 

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Bless your heart for taking on this challenge. Foster homes are the most precious asset there is to a rescue, but somone who will take on dog with special needs is absolutely priceless!

I have taken care of many a post-op dog over the years, but nothing compares with what you are doing for this lucky boy.

May your kindness be returned one hundred fold.
 

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i took in a 3 month old pitbull with severe demodex and yeast infections and secondary infections, took me 3 months to get fur to start growing back. i used alot of salmon oil and natural remedies and ivermectin

before when i first got him, totally no fur just skin and yeast:





after 3 months the fur started coming back:






just have patience which i am sure you do and take your time with caring for him, he will recover and THANKYOU for taking him in
 

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Wow, thanks for taking care of this guy and so glad he's feeling a little better. I remember there was a dog on this board with shredded feet before but I can't remember why so can't find the thread. :(

My most challenging medical foster was Rio, a sable puppy who had PRAA. His breeder brought him into the vet to be pts and the vet did the surgery and signed him over to rescue. We didn't know if he'd have Mega-E or how severe it would be. I made him special food, had him eat upright, etc. But it sounds like a cakewalk compared to what you're going through there!

Wishing this boy an uneventful and speedy recovery--sounds like he'll make a fabulous companion for some lucky person!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As though he didn't have enough drugs in him right now, I saw little white things in his AM poo today...probably tapeworm segments. Sigh. Now I've got to go to the vet again this afternooon to get dewormer.

Thanks for all the good wishes. He's definitely feeling better. He's drinking and eating, and I think that's helping him to get some energy back. I have a feeling that the food is also helping the antibiotics sit in his tummy a little easier. He's a "grazer" with food, which I'm not used to, so I'm giving him a lots of "small" meals throughout the day. Thank goodness I'm off work for the summer!

He might be feeling a little too good, as he's getting rambunctious and wanting to play. The feet aren't healed well enough to for him to be jumping around. I've backed off on his pain meds, as the pain is the only way for him to know his limits at this point. He's no longer suffering like he was, so it's time to wean him off that stuff, as long as he's feeling frisky. I think we'll only dose him at night, about an hour before his "big" cleaning, as that one is still pretty ouchie when we flush the open wounds with diluted iodine solution.

I appreciate the recipe for homemade pill pockets. I may give it a try. If it doesn't work, I'll just take it to the shelter's vet clinic for their fridge. I just got some pill "paste" from Amazon made by the same company that makes Nutri-Cal. He likes Nutri-Cal, but the paste was a dud as far as he's concerned. He smells the pill and knows it's a "scam"! So far he's refused to take pills in: Greenies Pill Pockets (the "expensive" ones!), Bil-Jac pastuerized frozen food (dog "crack" for most dogs), the pill paste, and a chunk of canned turkey. Luckily, the shelter's vet staff showed me how to get him to open his mouth to pill him manually -- it definitely requires lots of practice to get good at, but the technique works, so far.

We've already got a good application for him, with others interested. I think I'll be able to place him in a really great home as soon as he's healed (***knock on wood***).
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Update:

We had a re-check at the vet yesterday, and everything is healing up very nicely. We are done with the heavy flushing of open wounds with betadine solution (which stung pretty badly). We can do less intense surface cleanings, now that they are closed up. We're letting the feet air out at bedtime and only bandaging/wrapping in the daytime.

We might be able to take the bandages off entirely tomorrow! :D I think I'll keep him in booties still, though. And the cone of shame will have to stay for a while longer...but I'm excited to be done with daily dressing changes and foot wrapping.

The big goofy puppy in him has come out to play, and that shut-down, withdrawn dog I brought home is just a memory. He's going stir crazy from being cooped up so much and is full of energy. He wants to play, play, play. He is so awkward and gangly on his long, long legs, but he still moves like a puppy. This happy, silly dog has come a long, long way in a few weeks!

If things keep going this well, Bruno is going to his new forever home this weekend. He had a wonderful meet-and-greet, and as long as the home check and introduction with existing dogs goes well....he'll be on his way to a spoiled life with a stay-at-home mom and little boys to play with. The youngest of the boys has decided that Bruno will sleep in his bed at night. Bruno will like that very much, since he keeps trying to hop in my bed when I'm doing emails on the iPad in the early morning. I'm getting daily emails asking how he's doing...I know they're excited to get him, and they're an experienced GSD home. He surely deserves a great home, after the misery he's been through.

Here's a picture of him last night, when it was foot cleaning time. He hopped in the bathtub to "escape." It was very funny. The difference in his ears and facial expression says everything about how much better he's feeling.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sweet Bruno went to his forever family this weekend. The home check went great, and he loves, loves, loves the kids.

His feet were rechecked this week, and they've healed beautifully. It's exactly what we hoped for.

We are exhausted, and happy for him. This was by far the hardest foster I've ever done, and it took a lot out of us, but seeing him smiling with his new family made it all worth it.

I couldn't do this often. Once in a blue moon, though, it's doable.
 
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