Our sweet boy is tired after his physical therapy. He has to go outside to use the bathroom, which he does not like. That is enough exercise to totally wear him out. We have found a Hyperbaric Chamber for him to use but he will not be able to be moved or another two weeks. He will have to stat in the ICU during that time and he keeps progressing he can go. All bandages have to have been removed before he can go. He will then have one more week of the antibiotic after the removal of the bandages. The other good news is that his skin graph is taking beautifully. There are a few places on his wounds that have come undone but those are also healing and should granulate. The best news is that his ear has warmed up and is more pliable than it was. All in all, we are making progress and our sweet boy is still with us fighting.
Our sweet Freckles is doing all he can to get on the other side of this infection. These are pictures taken when we did surgery to change his bandages, which have now all been removed. As you can see in the top left and bottom right pictures, he has a hole that has opened up and is draining. We had to open that up further to take a culture. We are waiting for the culture to come back, but we did find out that the infection has gone all the way into the bone that had once been exposed before we got him. This is the leg we have always been worried about having to remove more so than the other one. If the Staph resistant infection has moved into the joint then we will not have any choice but to remove the leg to save his life. We cannot have this life-threatening infection in his bones and we will need to stop it from going any further. This is devastating news for us. As you can see from the picture, the graft is beautiful. Better than we could have ever expected. You expect a rather high percentage of die off, but we have very little here. Freckles looks wonderful and his spirits are great. He is still our little Land Shark as we call him when he wants to take your arm off to get a treat. He is improving and we are learning to close the treat in our hand for him to sniff it and then he settles down and takes it. If we place it in a flat palm he is also better. He is protective of his room, which is very understandable. I know the news is not good news but the fact he is here and fighting and his blood work is coming back normal is wonderful news. He is still winning. We have finally found someone that will allow us to use their Hyperbaric Chamber to treat Freckles. The chamber is in South Carolina. We were asked not to say where it is because it is a human one and they do not want their clients to know they are using it for an animal. We are respecting their wishes by not telling you where it is. We also have to use it after hours. Because Freckles has a Staph Resistant infection that is harmful to humans and animals and because he still has a jugular IV in, we are paying one of his Vet. Techs to drive him to the HBC, wait the hour and a half for him and then drive him back to ICU. The total time round trip will be close to 10 hours. He will then be checked back into ICU until the next night when we do it again. We want to do this for 7 days. This is our final straw at saving the leg. If this does not work to rid him of the infection, the leg will have to go immediately. Our sweet boy has been in Critical Care ICU for almost a month. Two days can break the bank but we are committed to getting him well. We never dreamed it would take this long but then we have never had a dog with this much exposed raw skin, bones and ligaments that had so many MRSA staph resistant infections. Freckles has not had just one Staph infection, he has had several lethal ones. We are making lots of progress and will continue to. We just have some new hurdles that have to be dealt with. We all still love our little Land Shark. He is filling out and his skin is looking so much better. He will win and we will be by his side for whatever comes up. Thanks for caring and remaining positive about our dear Little Angel.
After the last post, I got all of these sad, down notes from people being so disheartened. How can you be unhappy with so many miracles. Every week is not going to be a perfect week. Stay positive about our dear boy. He hasn’t given up and keeps on fighting and is winning. He shouldn't have survived his first week but he did. He has survived the most horrific injuries and is still here winning the battle of his life. I have enclosed a sweet video with his Vet. Tech Chelsea that he loves and adores. He is not a little Land Shark with her and it tricks some of us into thinking he will be the same way with all of us. No way. She is special and he knows it.
I wanted to give everyone an update on our little Land Shark as we so lovingly call him. As you can see from the above photos, his graft has grown in beautifully. We are amazed how little die-off we have had. The large incision on his rear leg is also doing wonderful. The place on his knee that we are so concerned about (we are still waiting for the culture to come back) is also draining very little and looks a lot better. All in all, he is doing wonderful. His Albumin levels are holding their own and his bloodwork looks incredible. Freckles has his first Hyperbaric Chamber treatment this Sunday. We are all excited to see how this is going to work out. A lot of work has gone into making this happen for him because we think this can save his leg. As I am sure everyone realizes by now, we will stop at nothing if it will make his life better.
When we got Freckles his body was 100% septic with a MRSA Staph infection that we have been fighting since day one. The odds of us saving him were stacked so high against us, that we chose to not look at the impossible but focus on the possible. His body had a million medical issues that all needed to be addressed for him to survive. We took one issue at a time and have slowly begun to knock the list down to where we can breathe a little easier but still not exhale. Freckles is no long septic. We went from 100% infection to now down to 5%. The problem with the last 5% is that the he has been on the only drug left that is not resistant for a while now. The longer he is on it, the more resistant it becomes until it will no longer work. When that happens, the infection will build up speed, start to multiply and there will be nothing we can do to stop it. That is why we are using the Hyperbaric Chamber. Bacteria cannot live in high concentrations of pure oxygen. He dove to 35 ft. yesterday and will dive to 45 ft. today which will push the oxygen deeper into every cell of his body. We will not go deeper than that for safety reasons. I know a lot of people do not understand the degree I will go to save an animal. I go as far as I can until the quality of life for an animal is not there and then I help them cross over knowing they were cherished and loved. Freckles medical care has gone beyond anything I have ever experienced before. When you have to raise your limit (which is already very high) on your AMEX card, that is never a good sign. It is what it is and if I had it to do all over again, I would not change a thing. For an animal to be as mentally and physically abused as Freckles was to know love and show love as he is in the top picture is the real Miracle here. For that I am forever grateful to all of you that never gave up on us, shared his stories, and helped us with his care. It takes one man to destroy an animal and a Village of Guardian Angels to save one. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart for being his and our Guardian Angels. I am forever humbled and grateful for who you are and what you represent.
A picture is worth a thousand words until you see a picture that is so pure and innocent that there are no words to describe it. That is what the above picture shows with Freckles and Chelsea inside the Hyperbaric Chamber yesterday. Every time I look at the top picture, it brings tears to my eyes. This is why I do what I do. To save an animal that has had his Heart and Soul destroyed by mankind and get them to a place where they can learn to trust again is the greatest Gift of all. Miracles come in many forms but the one that means the most is for an animal like our dear, dear Freckles to feel so at Peace with the World around him that he can finally let go and fall asleep feeling loved, cherished and finally safe. He has come so far with his injuries but still has a long way to go. We may not be able to save him but we have nurtured him to a place where his Heart and Soul know Love and that in the end is all that really matters.
Now for the really good news. The MRSA Enterococcus infection he had is officially gone. He had his last dose of Vetrimycin today. He still has the Pseudomonas Staph infection in the joint of his leg which we are still treating. This infection could cause him to lose his leg but not his Life. We have decided we needed to take a different course of action for this particular wound. The medicine to treat this infection is very harmful to the kidneys. Freckles has already been on it for way too long. I contacted some pharmaceutical companies to purchase a form of antibiotics we can implant in his wound. They will stay in the wound for 28 days before they completely dissolve. We feel this is the best course of action now given all we have already done. The pharmaceutical seeds are thousands of dollars to purchase. I went ahead and ordered them and they will be surgically implanted on Friday. We feel really good about this and are very hopeful this will enable us to save his leg. Because we are doing less time in the Hyperbaric Chamber, we are going to have to go much longer. As long as Freckles has a Staph Infection, we will be driving him to the Chamber every day. It is 7-9 hours round trip but this has to be done to rid his body of the infections and not allow them to come back. His wounds are looking wonderful since we have been doing this. It is a lot of money and a lot more since we have to do it after hours and pay someone extra to be there. We feel it is worth it and will continue until the last infection is gone. Freckles loves the little excursions and day trips. It gives him an opportunity to feel like a normal dog. Our little Angel has gained 15 pounds since we first rescued him. He is still emaciated but has come so far since the beginning. We are hopeful and very positive about us finally overcoming some incredible odds. Freckles is WINNING the battle of his Life and I am getting very, very gray in the process.
Well, the last few days have certainly been eventful. Freckles first chamber experience went off with out any issues. He was happy and comfortable during the entire session without any problems. To make sure we did not have any problems, we stuck to the same program and decided to have him in the chamber by himself. There is always a risk of complications when you do this. You do your best to cover all your bases but there are still unknowns that could happen. I decided that I didn’t need an unknown to happen with a person in there that didn’t need to be there. This time Freckles was going to go in by himself. We had his bed all set up and something for him to chew on that he loved so his ears wouldn’t pop. As you can see from the above picture, he was happy and never even noticed we were not in the chamber with him. He could see us right next to it and he was fine with that. He was fine without any problems until the 71 minute mark and he had a seizure. It was a two minute seizure that seemed like an eternity because we could not get in to help him but had to watch as he went through the seizure and out again. We all died a million times over. We had to wait until the chamber depressurized for him to come out of it safely which was almost 12 minutes. Before the chamber finally opened, he had settled back down and had gone to sleep. We were all in shock. Our last nerve was GONE. The good news was that while this was all happening, we had an incredible Technician that was running the chamber that knew exactly what was going on. He kept reassuring us he was fine and he was. Freckles came out of the chamber without any issues but we were scarred or Life. I got about a thousand grey hairs before he finally emerged. I had the Neurologist check him out when he got back to ICU and he said he was doing great without any issues. Freckles has since had two more Dives for 45 minutes each and he did great for both of them. We are not going longer than 45 minutes since the medicine he is on could have caused him to have the seizure.
He has finished his first series of Hyperbaric Chamber treatments and will do more if his infections come back or his wound stops healing. We definitely think the Chamber helped get rid of the MRSA infection he had. Freckles has rehab everyday to keep his leg muscles from atrophying so he can continue to walk. The video below is his first day on the treadmill. It is hard to believe that almost four weeks ago, he could not even raise his head or even think about walking. He is our little Rock Star and he knows it. I am so happy to report that Freckles is finally out of the Intensive Care Unit. Our little boys treatment has gone beyond anything I could have ever imagined having to do for an animal. We have had a lot of tortured and abused animals over the last 6 years but nothing compares to what was required to save Freckles. His Life was always in jeopardy and it kept everyone on pins and needles. We had to think out of the box since the day we received him. Once I realized how determined he was to live, then I knew I had to do everything possible to save him and then some. We have all learned a lot during his Journey to not just Survive but Thrive. Surviving was never an option. We wanted him to have a wonderful quality of life where he was loved and adored and be a normal DOG. That is now possible because of all the love and support you have given him and us during this trying Journey. Freckles is still in the hospital but the worst is over. He is definitely WINNING.
To make sure Freckles did not have any residual affects from the seizure he had, we decided it was best to do an MRI to rule out any future problems. While he was still out, we did a spinal tap to make sure he did not have any infection in his spinal fluid. We are waiting for the results of that but do not expect anything bad. The MRI showed his brain was in perfect condition without any problems from his seizure. What we did find was a large area in the muscle on the top of his head from had been at some point hit with a heavy object. He was hit so hard that the muscle still shows the damage it caused. While they were doing the MRI they managed to get some of his sinus cavity and it showed that he had fluid in his ear. We are giving him something to dry that area. We are not sure what caused the fluid but it does not seem to be causing him any problems. During the course of all this, he got a nose bleed and then his tongue started to swell. It was one thing after another. Our little Land Shark has to make sure all hands are always on deck, ready and alert for the next big thing he is going to throw our way. He definitely requires you to keep your skills up at all times when he is on the table. He had everyone at red alert for most of the day. He was given Benadryl and that resolved the problem. We are not sure what caused such a serious reaction. He is being closely monitored to make sure it is not the beads that were implanted. We think he had a reaction to the contrast dye used during the MRI. It is not common but is the most likely cause. He is fine now and if it was the beads, he wouldn’t be. His knee is very swollen from the surgery but is beginning to go down with lots of TLC and ice. During the course of the next 28 days he will be closely monitored to make sure the infection is going away and not getting worse. The good news is that all of his other infections are gone but this one. We have come so far with this incredible dog. He has never given up on us and has kept fighting the entire time we have been treating him. We have been using cutting edge medicine on him since the day he was rescued. Because of the severity of the infections and how dangerous they are to humans and animals he has had to be in ICU the entire time.
Our sweet boy has had another day of rattling our last nerve. It took us two days to get the antibiotic we needed in a powdered form to add to the other powders we were using to make beads. The beads were implanted in the wound site that was still terribly infected. The site on his leg was opened up and any tissue that was infected or necrotic was removed. The beads were made prior to surgery and were then sewn into the areas that had the worst Staph infection. Every area in the wound was packed with the beads to fight the infection at the source. This will give us the best possible outcome without damaging his other organs. The beads dissolve in 28 days and the infection should be totally gone. We have our fingers crossed this will rid him of he last Staph infection. While Freckles was being prepped for surgery, he had a allergic reaction to Betadine and he broke out with the hives. He was given something for that and then when they resolved, we were able to proceed with the surgery. The surgery took several hours to clean and implant the beads. The wound was finally closed up permanently unless the wound starts to react to the beads or the infection spreads.
Our little Wonder Boy is enjoying a little bit of Freedom since we closed up his final wound with the beads inserted. He is still on antibiotics and lots of meds to keep him regulated but all in all, he is doing great. We have finally decided that Freckles will have to be adopted in the area where we are because of all the medical care he has had to go through to heal and survive. I know that is going to put a sad face on a lot of people out of the area that wanted to adopt him but that is the way it has to be. For me to have piece of mind, I have to know I can get my hands on him and get him immediately to Critical Care if something does come up. Chelsea and her Husband Ray are being considered as a Foster to Adopt Family. That is still a long ways off given all he still has to go through before he is officially out of the woods. We are allowing our Little Boy is go home with Chelsea at night to see how he interacts with their two dogs and a cat. So far, all is going well. Freckles has to come back into the hospital every day after spending the night out. This is not permanent because he will have to live with our Trainer for one to two months until we feel like our Little Land Shark can be trusted. He has been through more emotionally in his young life than any dog should ever have to endure. He is still very fearful that someone is going to hurt him. He likes some people and does not like others but is warming up to everyone. The first people to be considered are the ones we feel would be a great match for him and his personality. After that, we zero in on people in our area that have applied for him. We still have a long way to go with his recovery and a lot more updates to come. Our next milestone is going to be in 3 weeks when we test the wound that had the staph infection to see if it is gone. As I said, he is still being closely monitored each day and every night to make sure he is not developing any complications. Our little boy has such determination to overcome adversity that we have to watch him closely to make sure he doesn’t have something brewing that could cause these infections to start up again. Thanks for all the care and support for our dear boy. We greatly appreciate it.
We wanted to give everyone a chance to see how well all of Freckles wounds are healing. The only one that still has us concerned is the one that still has the stitches on it. That is the site where the beads were inserted. We do not see any indication the antibiotic beads are not working since the site does not have any swelling or drainage. The main issue we are going to have to address is the ankle area on our sweet boy. Because he was so emaciated, his body was not getting enough nutrients to supply his muscles and ligaments with the proper amount for his muscles and ligaments to hold his body upright. Because of this his carpal area has collapsed. It has regained enough strength to hold him upright but is still partially collapsed. We are having him evaluated by an Orthopedic Surgeon to see what has to happen to prevent any further damage and for him to regain the strength he will need in his ankles to support the weight he is gaining. We have had to cut back on his calories to slow down the weight until we figure out what to do about this problem. We will know more over the next week, once he has been seen by all of the specialist. Our little boy comes into the hospital during the daytime and goes home with his Foster Family at night. That seems to be working out great. He will still have to go live with the Trainer once he is done with all of his in Hospital medical care. Because Freckles is stable and his progress is slow, we will be posting only once a week unless we have important news. Please, remember, no news is GOOD News. We have 48 dogs that are all getting medical care. We have 8 that are in critical care in hospitals. Each animal gets the same dedication and medical care that Freckles gets. We do our best to respond to every e-mail. Please, respect what we do so we can continue helping animals. We have lots of animals that are not stable now that need all the attention we can give them so they can get well. The bills keep coming in and we don’t even have time to post for them because of all that it takes to save them. Don’t bombard us with questions on how Freckles is doing. He is doing great and if that changes, you will get a notice immediately. Thanks for all the care and support for all of our abused animals. Enjoy the video of his running below during rehab.