Murphy2, January, 2001
Murphy, a 2-to-3-year-old yellow boy, was found running loose. He was picked up and taken to the Stark County, Ohio, dog pound. An independent rescue person noted his excellent temperament and contacted a long-time foster parent for Lake Erie Lab Rescue.
The foster mom scoured local newspapers for several weeks after taking in Murphy, looking for lost-dog ads. Nothing was found.
While in foster care, Murphy was taken to the vet for a physical, shots, rabies, and a heartworm test by staff from Goodwill Service Dog Program for possible inclusion in their therapy dog program. He had his physical, shots, rabies, and temperament test (which he passed very well!) He was going to be scheduled for neutering also, but his heartworm test came back positive.
LABMED was contacted for funding of Murphy's heartworm treatment and voted to do so. In the meantime, however, Murphy began to have problems. His vet diagnosed congestive heart failure (enlarged heart, fluid accumulation) due entirely to severe and protracted heartworm infestation. She said that in these cases treatment is always risky but that she is optimistic about Murphy's prognosis. Her goal is to reduce the fluid retention, get Murphy stabilized as much as possible and improve his overall condition before treating for the heartworm. The CHF will disappear as soon as the heartworms are gone.
Murphy will have his two heartworm treatments about a month apart. The first injection will kill half the heartworms. Then they will wait to give Murphy's system a chance to flush out the dead worms and recover a bit before giving him the second dose.
Goodwill Service Dog Program will be kept apprised of all of Murphy's progress. They are still interested in having him in their program as a therapy dog, pending his return to good health.
His foster mom writes: "I think he is improving daily. His spirits have definitely picked up and his belly is much less distended. He eats well (the little stinker loved to "soft bark" for treats) and stays within our property lines very well to do his business outside. The challenge will be to keep him non-active while he is recuperating, but I have the luxury of working at home and can spend a lot of quiet time with him.
Thanks again for your help and encouragement. "
We'll keep you informed of Murphy's progress.
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