These past few weeks have been one blow after another.
Last week, Harper was taken to the vet for leg spasms. Instead, we were told that she's suffering from a degenerative neurological condition and that there is no cure.
For those who aren't familiar with Harper's story, she is 4+ years old and was rescued when she was just 6 weeks old. She was born with many deformities. The vet suspected that her mother might have been exposed to high levels of toxins, or maybe hit by a car when she was pregnant. Only Harper survived; all the other unborn puppies died. Harper was born with a broken spine, under-developed organs, and neurological issues. Despite all her problems, Harper was a cheerful puppy, a brave little fighter. Her foster has raised her like any other dog, always encouraging her to try new things. With the help of a wheelchair, Harper gets around just fine and even goes for regular hydrotherapy and massage sessions.
A week ago, Harper's foster noticed that her hind legs were trembling on and off, with sporadic muscle cramps. Her leg would seize up and became bent like a chicken wing. The muscles were so tight that her leg couldn't be straightened. Massaging her leg for about half an hour helped her muscles to relax and straighten, but only for a while. Before long, she would cramp up again. Occasionally, both her hind legs would even become locked together and we would have great trouble separating them.
|Over the past 1 week, Harper's nerves have deteriorated and she can no longer stretch her left hind leg|
|Harper's hind legs locked together while she sleeps - foster needs to check on her regularly and uncross her legs|
So we took her to Dr Ly, the vet who saved her and gave her a chance when all the other vets suggested that we put her down. The good vet immediately suspected that Harper's problem was not a muscular one, but a neurological one. He shone a torch into Harper's eyes and confirmed that her pupillary light reflex (PLR) was slow, which is a symptom of a neurological problem. We realized that Harper's difficulty with drinking water was also another symptom. She has trouble coordinating the slurping action, so we have been giving her 400ml to 500ml of subcutaneous fluids per day. She is also unable to pee on her own, and needs help with expressing her bladder.
Dr Ly delivered the sad news that Harper's nerves are deteriorating, and that there’s nothing more that can be done for her. He can give her supplements to slow the deterioration, but there will come a day when Harper will have difficulty eating. We dread that day but deep down, we know it’s inevitable. For a dog born with a broken spine, Harper has come a long way and had an amazing journey. For now, Dr Ly has asked us to stop hydrotherapy but continue with massages and short daily walks.
If you would like to sponsor Harper's vet bill of $150/- or her ongoing massage sessions ($195 for 5 sessions), please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by : Elena