In early January of 2001, two beautiful American Eskimo Spitz/Shepherd mix white puppies and their mother were surrendered to a local animal shelter by someone who no longer wanted them. After they had been at the shelter for three weeks without any hope of being adopted, their euthanization date was set. It was at that point they were pulled out of the shelter by one of CARE's member/volunteers, and were placed in foster homes. Shortly after being placed in foster care, Mischa, the smaller of the pups, began to limp on one of her hind legs, and could no longer climb stairs. Before long, she began limping on the other leg as well. After a thorough medical work-up, she was diagnosed with a traumatic avulsion of the tuber calcaneus. In other words, the bone at the heel of her hind foot on both legs was fractured and was broken off because of the pressure placed on it by the tendon attached to it. Her orthopedic surgeon suggested that this condition was brought about by atypical developmental processes. For 4 months, Mischa wore splints and soft bandages on both legs to give her the support she needed to walk. When her legs were not supported, they were too painful to use.
A diagnostic work-up at the NC State Vet School suggested that Mischa's only hope of being able to walk with a normal gait without supports and without pain was surgery to stretch the tendon and reattach it to the heelbone. On July 19, Mischa underwent the surgery on both legs. The cost of that surgerywas $1800. Two days later, the surgeries on both legs failed. The bones that the tendons were reattached to fractured, leaving her in the same condition as before. The only surgical option remaining to alleviate her chronic pain was to "arthrodese" her ankle joints so that she would not be able to move them. This surgery involved going in to both ankle joints and "cementing" them so that they are fixed, and unable to move. Although this would her with an abnormal gait, she would able to walk, and would be relatively pain free in her ankles. On July 23, the second set of surgeries were performed, and were successful. The cost of that surgery to CARE was $1400. The grand total of her surgical expenses at that point was $3200.
As Mischa's ankles healed, and she began to walk more normally, she again began to limp. Another diagnostic visit to the Vet School in September indicated that her ankles were healing well, but that she had luxating patellas in both hind legs.....that is, both knees were out of joint, and were very painful. The Orthopedist at the Vet School recommended immediate surgery, but due to lack of funds for emergency medical procedures, Mischa has had to wait. She is currently on daily pain medication, and is able to walk on flat surfaces, but has much difficulty climbing stairs due to the pain in her knees.
Mischa is a very bright and personable little girl who is now 15 months old. She enjoys playing with the other dogs in her foster family, and will love being able to run and explore the great outdoors with them when she is finally pain-free. Mischa will be available for adoption after her recovery from her upcoming knee surgeries.
The surgeries she will need for her knees are expected to cost around $2000. Because of the expense of Mischa's surgeries, CARE urgently needs your help. If you would like to donate funds toward Mischa's extraordinary medical costs, or would like to open your home as an adopter of this dog:
Click here to contact us via email.The status of Mischa will be updated as her condition changes.
Update July 11, 2002
Mischa went back to the NC State Vet school yesterday, and had surgery on her left knee today. She will come home tomorrow to recuperate, and then in about 6 weeks, will return to the vet school for the same surgery on her right knee. She has lived at her foster home since she was about 10 weeks old, and she will be 2 in October. She is a very bright, active, energetic, and self-confident. Even with her "bad" hind legs, she still bosses most of the other dogs here around. She is a very strong girl with lots of spunk! She certainly has wormed her way into her fosters' hearts (and bed....she insists on sleeping with them at night!).