I received this message from Dusty’s family on March 2, 2010:
We were able to get some assistance from a Dobe organization and when we combined that with the donations that came in through Dusty’s Handipets page, it was able to hold us over until we could work out our payments with Care Credit. We had to do some major crunching but we were able to make our last payment a couple days ago.
Dusty has been doing really well and we’ve seen no new issues from the vWD. He has some new spots near his eye which are probably the same thing that was removed but the vet has said it’s not worth the risks of putting him under anesthesia to remove anything more. He also developed a new “bump” but we had an aspirate done and found out that it was just a fatty tumor – thank God!
So, all is well here and we’re just about back on track. Thanks so much for your time and help in aiding us to receive assistance for Dusty’s never-ending medical bills. And thank you too, for your support and encouragement and we dealt with everything! We truly appreciate you being the voice for us and getting Dusty’s story out there.
UPDATE!! Dusty has had his surgery but still needs help. His surgical bill must be paid on in order for him to continue to receive his follow up care and medications! Because one growth was indeed cancerous this follow up care is extremely important. The family is still dealing with past bills for his medical care and just cannot afford this newest medical need. Please continue to support Dusty so he can receive all treatment necessary to heal from this latest medical hurdle.
Dusty is a 5 year old, beautiful and loving Doberman who has been tackling battle after battle in the last few years. He came to us in the fall of 2005 when he was just over a year old. He was an energetic and goofy, big baby who loved to run around in the yard for hours and hours, chasing after his football or playing tug-of-war with his rope toy.
We enjoyed each new day with Dusty until late January of 2007 when he started having problems walking. It began with a limp that we dismissed as a muscle strain because of his high level of activity. After 2 weeks of no improvement, we began to worry when he started to hold his left hind leg up. Then came the day that he yelped in pain and we knew that he had to be seen by the vet right away. We took him to the vet in late February of 2007 and our hearts were broken when they told us he tested “strong positive” for Lyme Disease. We had him treated right away with a strong dose of Doxycycline and he was given Deramax for pain management. After about a month of treatment we slowly tried to take him off of the pain medication and his limping returned. By the end of April we decided that we did not want to continue him on Deramax because of the side effects and more tests were needed to determine why he was still having pain with his left hind leg.
On the morning of April 23rd I cried when I left him at the vet for his x-ray that day. Later that evening when we picked him up, the vet explained to us that Dusty’s x-ray showed that he has Degenerative Joint Disease. They made the assumption that the Lyme Disease progressed the degeneration of his hip bone. The grinding of these bones was causing him the great deal of pain that he was experiencing and they recommended that we start him on Adequan. Dusty received his first Adequan shot that day, his next shot 4 days later, another shot 4 days from then and 3 more shots that were each 4 days later. After that, he received a series of 8 shots that were each between 3 weeks and a month apart. Although this was still a lot of vet visits, we were happy to see that some improvement had been made. From this point forward we have been able to schedule his shots approximately 2 months apart, totaling approximately 13 shots to date (November 2009).
This expense alone has put us in a very hard spot financially but we could never stop them because we know that without them, Dusty would not be able to walk around comfortably or play with us in the yard. Each shot is approximately $45, so we have easily spent over $1200 on just his shots, which does not include the office visits, tests, x-rays, etc. which have totaled well over $700. This of course is in addition to all the regular monthly expenses that any pet owner is well aware of (food, preventative meds, yearly exams, etc.)
In the fall of 2008 we noticed that Dusty had a lump on his foot. We visited the vet and went through all of the necessary tests and treatments to determine what was causing this. We spent approximately $600 for his office visits, x-ray, ointments, antibiotics, cytology tests, etc. The vet was unable to determine what was causing this and before we were able to have it surgically removed, the bump went away.
Our most recent experience in the adventures of Dusty has been just this month. One week ago we discovered a lump on Dusty’s side. We immediately scheduled a visit with the vet. She had a hard time feeling the lump but was concerned because it did feel hard to her. They did an aspiration and sent it to the lab. While checking him, the vet noticed a mole by his eye that just recently grew there, over the last year. She expressed to us that she was concerned because she did not like the color of the mole and she suggested that we have it removed. We agreed that we would schedule the surgery when we had the funds to do so and asked for them to send us a quote. After handing over our credit card to pay for the $150 bill, we went home to wait for the Cytology results.
The next day the vet called and told us that the results showed the cells to be fat. She was fairly confident that she was able to extract the cells from the lump but did explain to us that she couldn’t be 100% certain and that there was always the possibility that she missed the lump. Because of this and the fact that the lump did feel hard to her, she recommended that we have it removed when we have the mole on his eye removed, this way we could have both biopsied. I asked her if the quote for surgery was ready and she gave me the magic number – $814!
We love Dusty beyond what words could ever explain but we just are not financially capable of paying for this new expense. We have struggled so hard just to have the means to pay for his regular expenses and all that he has required until now. With unexpected expenses totaling me than $2,600 in just the last 3 years, we have really had a difficult time affording what he needs. If we had time, we could slowly set aside the money needed for him to have this surgery but because there is a possibility that these lumps could be harmful, it would break our hearts to have to put off this surgery. We have looked into the option of using Care Credit but we would still be unable to make the necessary monthly payments.
Could you find it in your heart to help us? Any donation that you could offer would be so greatly appreciated – even $5 or $10 would make a huge difference to us and would get us one step closer to scheduling this surgery which is so important to us.