BEAUFORT, SC......We got a call from Beaufort County about a stray Rottweiller they had picked up. They had him for a week on stray hold before they contacted us. He was picked up on River Ave. and was named River. We were contacted because he looked like someone had bashed in the right side of his head. His head had a big dent, and his right eye was infected and sunken.
We are beyond full right now with major medical abuse cases, and we have lots of dogs ready for their Forever Home. Taking in a big dog with multiple issues was not in the cards, but here we are. I could not turn my back on a dog in this bad shape. The last five months have been debilitating for everyone, especially animals. Families don't have money to feed their children. Feeding their animals has become a big problem, which is why so many are abandoned and discarded. Forget about Medical Care for them; it has become non-existent.
River is approximately eight years old and about thirty pounds underweight. He is a full-blooded Rottweiller, and even skinny is massive. He has lots of skin issues, but his biggest concern is the massive dent from muscle atrophy on his head's right side. The muscle loss has caused his right eye to become sunken and infected.
When I first saw his pictures, I assumed he had a bone tumor enlarging his bone, similar to Bubbles. I had him immediately taken to CVRC in Charleston, where he was admitted. Bloodwork showed River was very anemic, heartworm positive, and needed a full Neurologic workup in addition to a full Cardio workup. In addition to all of that, he had a wicked ear infection that made him not so nice when you worked on his ear. It took several days to get River stable and get back enough diagnostics to determine where he had to go next.
A Neurologic Consult indicated that he needed an MRI. His Neurologist came up with several explanations that each required an MRI to diagnose. Unilateral paralysis on one side of the face makes the diagnosis difficult. A lot of the diseases mentioned were bilateral. Nothing seems to be straight forward these days. Every animal we take on has got the most unusual complications. River was just one more in a line of complicated cases.
Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM) was one of the Diseases they were looking into for River. This disease causes the dog to lose the ability to open his jaw. River could open his jaw just fine to eat and drink. A biopsy ruled out MMM. A Nerve Sheath Tumor within the trigeminal nerve was the next diagnosis to rule out. The MRI did not find any tumor, so that was ruled out. Each test is thousands of dollars to rule things out.
You might wonder why we do not just stop and see what happens. We need to rule terminal diagnosis out so we can take steps to save the dog if surgery or radiation is required. We have no choice but to keep going until we have a better understanding. Whatever was going on would probably cost River his eye, and we were doing our best to prevent that. A Spinal Tap was done to rule out infection or inflammatory disease.
After a week of tests and consults with several Neurologists, the best diagnosis they came up with is River probably threw a clot from his advanced Heartworm Disease in that area of his face, which caused the muscle to atrophy. The sunken eye is because of the muscle atrophy, which should not get worse. He may still lose sight because he will be prone to infection in that eye since he cannot blink like a healthy dog.
The last thing to rule out was from someone abusing River by hitting him on the head. Physical abuse was ruled out because the force it would take to get to the nerve would also cause bones to have been broken. River has no broken bones or scars on his face from prior Trauma.
River's Cardio workup showed that he had advanced Heartworm Disease that needed to be treated immediately. We have started his treatment, which will take several months to complete. We are also speaking to a specialist about his ear canals and the infection he has. In addition to all this, Dr. Anne Cook will see if she can save River's eye.
I often wonder if it is better to play dumb and act like none of the above existed. Just say the dog was beaten and move on to get donations based on the way the dog looked instead of getting facts. That is not who we are or what we do. I never post until I have the information to make an informed, accurate diagnosis.
Rescues come up with stories all the time to weave a tale to pull on everyone's heartstrings. We don't need to make up stories since the facts are hard enough to deal with daily. River has had a hard unfortunate Life that is now catching up with him. The person that abandoned him did not get him medical care when he needed it most. River is currently dealing with the consequences of that neglect.
This great big boy was not beaten on top of his head. We believe he had a stroke on the right side of his face from heartworms that caused his paralysis and his eye to become sunken. We will never know for sure, but we have ruled out the worst terminal causes and can now treat him.
We need all the donations we can get to climb out of the hole River's Diagnostics put us in to move forward with his treatments. I am begging everyone to please Donate. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
We are dealing with River as a big dog with a little bit of an attitude because he does not feel well. We are desperate for a qualified foster who is familiar and comfortable with Rotties while doing his treatments. We will be paying for all of his bills but want River to be comfortable with someone while doing his treatments.
We have lots of extraordinary pups that are ready for their Forever Home. Please, consider welcoming one of these sweet dogs into your home. Thanks for caring about River and all the other abused dogs in our care. Without your help, none of this is possible.