LILLINGTON, NC....We were sent a desperate plea Friday to help a two-year-old pitbull named Rhett Butler that appeared to be bloated when he came in. I am still trying to get all of the facts, but it seems this sweet pup had been picked up by another rescue person several weeks prior, then abandoned him to the Shelter in horrible shape. He had originally been seen being fed at a local grocery store.
The plea was so desperate that I decided I had better call the shelter to see exactly what was going on with this poor boy. I was doing my best to determine how long he had based on the information I had received. The minute I heard he had been with another rescue for weeks before they abandoned him with Harnett County Animal Shelter, I knew he did not have a second to waste on me talking.
I contacted the best Cardiologist around, Dr. Sophy Jesty to make sure she was available to consult or look at this boy and then told the Shelter it was NOW or NEVER. They had to get him to our Specialists, or he would not make it based on how bloated he was.
We suspected he had heartworms in his heart. He was experiencing Right-Sided Heart Failure and Pulmonary Hypertension which explained all of the fluid in his abdomen. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is critical when a dog starts building up fluid in the abdomen.
Rhett Butler arrived at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center around 11:00 PM Friday night. The hospital was prepared for his arrival and immediately took him back to the ER. Four liters of fluid were removed from Rhett's abdomen. His bloodwork showed he was very anemic which they were expecting based on his advanced Heartworm Disease. Once the fluid was removed, we realized quickly we had another problem, Rhett was skin and bones and had been starved almost to death.
Everything we thought he had was accurate. The best news I have is that he does not have Caval Syndrome which is an overload of heartworms that have invaded his heart. He does have some heartworms that have crossed over, but the numbers are low. I waited until today to post for him because I was not sure he would make it another day. His vital signs are improving, but he is still in Critical Condition.
This amazing dog has been mistreated at every turn. The fact a Rescue person took him in and did not get him proper care is beyond comprehension. I am still shocked the Shelter reached out for help instead of putting him down. Everyone there fell in love with him and could not let him go without reaching out for help. When an animal is this sick and desperate, all reason is cast aside. There are a million reasons why I should have said NO but my Heart just couldn't do it, and he did not have time for me to argue with myself.
Rhett Butler is Critical, but at least he is in the best possible hands to get the Medical Care he needs. I don't know if we can save him, but I am willing to do everything possible to give him the chance he deserves. Please, keep him in your Prayers and Donate as much as you can so we can save him. There is no excuse for a two-year-old dog to be in this kind of shape. Spending $10.00 a month on heartworm meds would have prevented this from happening.