Coco, April, 1999
Everyone involved in rescue has heard this story - "We got him for fun and now he is eating the house and biting us all the time and we just don't have time for him." That is why this 13 1/2 week old chocolate puppy ended up in rescue - he is just a typical lab puppy.
When Coco Puppy came to Labradors and Friends rescue he was play-deprived, giardia positive, and underfed. He had been allowed to run loose outside in a yard filled with toxic plants--yew (taxus), rhododendron, daffodils, azalea, English ivy, and others. Of course he readily put anything and everything in his mouth.
Coco Puppy exhibited a healthy appetite in his foster home, but developed hypoglycemia symptoms (low blood sugar) and ataxia (lack of balance and coordination) and apparent blindness when meals were delayed or in early am before feeding. These symptoms subsided after his giardia treatment with Flagyl but then he developed cystitis (consistent with Flagyl use) and hematuria. While antibiotic treatment seemed to help, two vets recommended a bile-acid test to see if there was liver damage or a porto-systemic shunt (this is a condition where the major blood vessels which normally take blood to the liver to be cleaned of toxins, instead by-pass the liver and dump the toxins back into the bloodstream). When that test was positive, further diagnostics were indicated with the possibility that he would need an expensive surgery to repair the problem. And rescue was out of funds. An application to LABMED was submitted.
Over the next several of weeks, rescue searched out other opinions and researched all the options for Coco Puppy, who was rapidly gaining weight and seemed to be feeling fine. Bile acid tests and urinalysis tests were repeated and a special diet was started. In the meantime, treatments were done for minor demodectic mange. Finally, an ultrasound was done, and the news was not good. Coco Puppy did have a porto systemic liver shunt. Surgery would be a risk. After more research, Coco Puppy's rescuer made the decision to manage his problem through diet and medication. The long road of expensive diagnostics made it possible to ensure Coco's survival through careful medical management.
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