Last November, my friends Jason and Sarah rescued a starving, dirty, smelly, but utterly lovable from the street and named him “Stinky”. After posting up pictures to his blog, we dropped by Sarah’s house the very next day (Thanksgiving Day) to take a look at him and introduce him to Boz – our dog to which he bore a striking resemblance.
After 3 more days at her house, and then 7 at Zeus’ Place, we brought him home and named him “Indy”, and I got the feeling that I’d have a lot of good memories of this dog. Thankfully, Bosceaux and Indy became fast friends – these photos are from his first or second night with us:
When February rolled around, it was checkup time for Boz, so I brought Indy in too. What we discovered though, was that Indy had a severe case of heart worms, and the treatment wouldn’t be cheap. We decided that he was due this shot after being treated so poorly, and went along with the treatment.
From what I understand, the treatment for heartworms isn’t exactly fun, easy, or painless. The treatment starts with an injection of an arsenic-based drug. Really. When the first step is an arsenic injection, the entire treatment can’t be fun. The problem is, that kills a lot of the heartworms, but since they’re in the heart and the arteries and veins, where do the dead worms go?
If you guessed that the host’s system has to absorb the flood of dead worms, you’re right. I can’t even imagine the strain that puts on a body. And when you add to the already stressed body the fact that when they die, the bacteria inside the worms get released and the immune system has to deal with that, it begins to sound like much less of a party.
Roughly two weeks into the treatment, Indy started coughing very early in the morning, and wouldn’t stop. I got up to check on him, and noticed he was coughing up bright red blood – fresh from the lungs, not the stomach. When he wasn’t coughing blood, he was wheezing.
After a long and expensive weekend at Southern Veterinary Specialists that involved many hours in an oxygen cage and eventually a blood transfusion, I got this photo from Bea:
That photo was taken and he came home the day before the Superbowl – I guess he was our own little good luck charm. A week or two later, Indy was back at the vet for his second – yes, second – heartworm shot, and then back on kennel lockdown for a month to keep his heart rate down. It wasn’t until we got back from our honeymoon that he had served his time and was allowed to play again.
That was a happy day.
Today, I took them both for their regular checkup – Indy’s first since the last heartworm shot. The “Heartworm Kid” came back from the vet with a clean bill of health. No heartworms.
At one point in the animal ICU, we’d given up on him. It was a very difficult decision especially considering that we’d had him for such a short amount of time, but you don’t choose dogs – they choose you. Every day since that impossible morning at the ICU, this little dog has put a smile on my face, and I’m glad we made the hard to decision to save him. Twice.
We’ve designed buttons and magnets to help recoup the cost of the heartworm treatments and the weekend in ICU – so if you want to buy some or just donate, then I thank you for helping to Save Indy!