The 'Slow Kill' Treatment & It's Flaws

Typical Heartworm Test
with a Light Positive Result
(Updated 3/31/16 as some folks are confused!) 
We recently passed Pebbles' one year Gotcha Day, which meant she was due for her annual vet visit, vaccines, and testing. It was a sad reminder that she has not yet been adopted, but at least I know, with me, she is safe.

Now, usually I don't inform you guys when the crew gets their vaccines, but this time...this time I wanted to do some educating. Pebbles is a perfect 'case', so here we go.

A typical canine heartworm test (for dogs, cats are a bit more complicated) has a negative, light positive, and heavy positive result option. (This does not necessarily indicate 'how many' but one could argue that it does. Their argument is that small amount of worms will produce less hormone than a large amount of worms. Regardless, discussing heartworm hormones is not necessarily important, here.)

A year ago, when Pebbles was first tested she had a very faint 'light positive' result. Okay, no big deal. This is not major...but, we weighed our options. At the time, she would not be able to handle the actual heartworm treatment. It would be too hard on her sickly little body, and so we opted for what folks call in the rescue/shelter world the 'Slow Kill Treatment' using Heartworm Prevention alone. Her original test was almost hard to tell it was positive because the 'light positive' dot was so faint.

Now, to debunk some pretty common and wide spread myths...this 'method' doesn't kill anything. (...and the crowd goes wild!) Let me explain why... ;)

Heartworm Prevention don't prevent heartworms either. Yes, yes...I said it. Heartworm Preventions prevent Heartworm Disease. At any given time, especially here in the Southern US, every dog on heartworm prevention will have baby heartworms (microfilaria) in their blood stream. These babies are growing and trying to find the heart so they can bunker down and grow up to adults. However, when you give your dog their heartworm prevention, it wipes out all the babies in the blood stream in one go.

Heartworm prevention works backwards; it's ultimately a dewormer, if you will. It doesn't keep medicine in the blood; it doesn't store little chemical assassins that sneak around and attack the babies as the mosquitoes deposit them. Instead, the day you give the pill...there is an onslaught in your dog's blood stream and all the baby heartworms are wiped out. That's it. Savage, right?

So, let's get back to the Slow Kill Treatment/Method, keeping in mind how Heartworm Prevention works. This 'treatment' has a variety of ways to do get to the same goal, like most things. Some give heartworm prevention as normal (once a month), some do it every two weeks, some do heartworm prevention as normal with antibiotics, or antibiotics every 2 weeks with monthly heartworm prevention, etc. I have seen it in any number of ways. NONE of these are a true 'treatment'. In fact, American Heartworm Societies are urging veterinarians to stop this nonsense because we are creating resisting worms. What will all these rescue and shelter groups do for their dogs when the heartworms are resisitant to heartworm prevention? Scary thought, right? (I have added a note about the use of Doxy at the end of this post.)

The Slow Kill Method basically keeps the heartworm burden from progressing, but not the actual disease caused by the adult worms. With any positive test, the dog already has adult worms hunkered down in their heart. These tests only pick up a hormone produced by adult female worms; heartworm preventions don't touch these worms. They can only attack a certain life stage of the entire life cycle. The idea is that you give the dog heartworm prevention and the dog has to 'out live' the adult worms.  While the prevention keeps the dog from getting more worms, the adult worms are wreaking havoc on the heart and lungs and surrounding tissues until they die on their own.

It's actually a misconception to call this method 'heartworm treatment', and we run into folks all the time who say their dog has been 'treated', and they, in fact, have not. They've just been giving Heartworm Prevention and crossing their fingers.

Most dogs who are 'light positive' will come up negative in a year or so because their burden is not that heavy and adult heartworms only live 5-7 years. So, the dog outlives the adult worms they already had and the heartworm pill kills off the babies each month. There are arguments that a dog less than 5-7 will have a positive test and become negative within a year, so how do you argue the preventions don't touch adult worms. This is a whole huge debate, and I will leave it as the animal's immune system and various other factors come into play when we start discussing parasites. So, back to what I was saying, after year or so, the test is now 'negative' and everyone is excited and call this new 'treatment' a life saver, when really...it wasn't. The heartworms are/were still in the heart the entire time damaging the heart and lungs while we wait for them to die off.

Now, don't get me wrong...I don't think rescues are doing 'wrong', by any means. These dogs are given a second chance and are kept from getting more severe heartworm burdens. It is FAR better, IMO, than to give nothing at all. However, calling it a 'treatment' is where I get a little sideways about it. BUT, that's for another time. ;)

For Pebbles, like I said, we opted for not treating her at the time and starting her on a safe heartworm prevention. Not all heartworm preventions are safe for positive dogs, so it's important to be talking with your veterinarian before you listen to whoever said whatever on the internet. ;) Again, the idea was to keep Pebbles' heartworm burden (the number of worms) in her heart from getting worse and to let her outlive the burden of adult worms that she had.

However, Pebbles Heartworm Test, this year, is WORSE than her original test. One could argue, (as I said, depending on the vet you talk to) Pebbles' burden is heavier as she has MORE hormone in her bloodstream, and now we are faced with some tough decisions. Actual Heartworm Treatment is no joke, not to mention cost. It can be anywhere from $500-$1500.00...and to think, it could have been prevented for less than $5 a month! But, I digress.

Best Pals

So, how is Pebbles' test showing she has MORE heartworm hormone even though she has been getting heartworm prevention religiously?

As I mentioned before, these preventions don't touch adult or 'teenage' worms. They ONLY combat a specific life stage. From the time the mosquito drops the microfilaria (baby microscopic heartworms) into the dog's bloodstream, it takes 6 months for them to mature enough to the adult stage to show on heartworm tests, IF they are female. There are a number of different life stages in that 6 months, and like I said, heartworm preventions DON'T tackle them all.

So, Pebbles had adult worms (she had a very faint light positive test, remember?), but she also had other life stages that weren't wiped out by her monthly heartworm prevention, because...

HEARTWORM PREVENTIONS ONLY COMBAT A SPECIFIC LIFE CYCLE. Thus, why this 'method' is NOT a true treatment for heartworm disease.

Phew. Sorry. I didn't mean to yell...but, seriously! For the love of all that is holy and true, don't miss a dose on your dog's heartworm prevention. These little suckers can slip through the cracks and here we are with Pebbles who is now needing legitimate heartworm treatment because SOMEONE before me...missed doses. I mean, truthfully, she probably never had heartworm prevention in her life before me, but you get my point.

Also, just for fun...here are some quick facts regarding Heartworms in the US:
  • Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states.
  • Heartworm indicators are found in the blood of 80%-90% of dogs.
  • One million dogs are estimated to be heartworm positive in the United States each year, but only 30% of them will actually be diagnosed with a heartworm infection by a veterinarian.
I know this is super long, but super informative. I hope it inspires some of you to talk to your vet about heartworms and heartworm prevention (regardless of what state you live in!) and of course, gives you a better understanding of what the 'Slow Kill Treatment/Method' actually does and where it's faults and flaws lie. The adult worms are kept in the heart causing irreversible damage (heart failure, respiratory issues, etc.) while we 'wait' for these 'slow kill' methods to 'work'. Pebbles is living proof that this 'method' isn't always a guarantee.

Disclaimer: Though we are potentially creating resistant heartworms, I do support the work rescuers are doing to keep these dogs from progressing into a larger and heavier heartworm burden.

Update: I have received a few messages  in regards to the 'Slow Kill' Method involving both heartworm prevention AND Doxycycline. Doxy weakens a parasite within the adult heartworm and it is believed it weakens them and they die faster. I did not include this type in this post because I am talking about folks who ONLY use heartworm prevention and call this a 'treatment' for heartworms. 


The Ripple Effect

I got a message from a fan of Tad a while back, and it's so...just...it's special. I wanted to share it with you guys. It's kind of like when you skip a rock across a calm and still pond...there's a ripple effect.
I just wanted to let you know how much your story inspired me.

In 2011, I was dating a very abusive man who had a beautiful working line GSD. He kept her in a crate in the garage, only to be let out to go potty (sometimes). If she went potty in the crate, she would lay in her own filth until he decided to clean it. I knew nothing about dogs, only that she was such a handful- hyper, jumping, aggressive... it was easy for me to just think "what a mess" about the whole situation, not realizing that every day that she spent alone in that garage was abusive to her.

Well, when your story spread on the internet that year, something hit me. I just cried as I saw TAD's pictures. I was so touched that someone could save the boy and get him better.. and I was ashamed that the dog right under my nose was not being helped. She was fed and sheltered, but left in isolation because she was just too much work to train (according to the boyfriend). She would cry and moan from her crate to be let out.... and be ignored because once let out, she was a terror.

Well, I took her out of that garage. I brought her into the house, and taught her how to behave using positive reinforcement. After a week or so, she would come up to me outside and roll on her back showing me her belly. She actually let me pet her. I started reading "the culture clash" that you had recommended back then, and got myself a clicker.

She was loyal and sweet, and her transformation was amazing. After a few months, we even went to the dog park, where she ran with other dogs for the first time. She became my life- I loved her and she loved me. She was a welcome distraction from the bad circumstances of the relationship I was in. She would wait for me when i wasn't at his house. All night she'd wait by the door if I wasn't staying there.

When I finally broke it off with this abusive man, he refused to let me take her. My heart broke every day worrying for her, missing her. My heart still breaks. We had 2 years together, me and her.

I got my own GSD puppy a few months after the breakup- I needed to give some creature all the love I had to give to her. We train using positive reinforcement, and he's earned his CGC and is a therapy dog. Every day i think of her and how she waits by the door, knowing I'm not coming home and I pray that she is loved. All I can do now is love my boy and give him the best life possible.

So, I want to thank you for rescuing Tad and making it public- because I don't know if I would have ever rescued her from that garage. I don't know if I would have ever found the love one can get from a dog. I don't know if I would have my sweet boy today. Your actions have had amazing consequences in my life.

- J


Safe and Sound

On Friday night, there was a big severe thunderstorm coming in...it was going to be bad. Yellow and red on the radar, and I couldn't wait to get home and enjoy it. My trusty minion, Jennifer, and I were headed to a pet store about an hour away to get animal food, crickets, and other sorts of things for our menagerie of random animals. Louis, my other half, texted me and said he couldn’t find Chica after he’d let her out to potty.

I live in a secluded neighborhood in a national forest. Chica and Chihtwo are never on leashes as they NEVER leave the yard. (Yes, even Chihtwo...the one who kept running home. I think she finally found 'home'.) They stay close and do their business while the two unruly boys do their business on leashes and harnesses and every possible restraint device you can come up with just short of hog tying. (I’m totally kidding…Tad is in a harness on a leash.) Sometimes, Chica will go into the woods, just barely and do her thing and come back out and wait by the door when she’s done. After all, the girl wants some privacy to do her thing, you know.

So, when Louis told me that he couldn’t find Chica, I was not immediately worried. She ALWAYS comes back. …well, as often as I tell folks, ‘…never say never,’ you’d think I’d practice what I preach. Within 30 minutes, Louis is calling and texting over and over in a panic because the weather is not getting REALLY BAD.

From what I got out of him in panic mode, was that he had walked Tad and let Chica out at the same time. She wasn’t yet done, so he ran inside to switch dogs and walk Ruger, his dog. (Since bringing Pebbles into the house, Tad and Ruger cannot socialize via Tad's behaviorist. We've had some SERIOUS 'disagreements'. They are currently kept separate at ALL times.) Louis came back outside and, while walking Ruger, saw Chica walk off into the woods. He went over to get her to bring her back inside, as she is COMPLETELY deaf, you have to touch her if she doesn’t see your Airport Directional Signals. By the time he got to where she went in, she was nowhere to be found.

Jennifer and I hurried as fast as our hour long drive home would allow us. Jennifer called her other half, Matt, to meet us over there with flash lights and changes of clothes because we had all planned to go out to eat after finding Chica.

We joked and such that Chica would be on the porch when we got there and that all would be dandy. I mean, why would MY dog be missing...? I mean...come on.

Chica was not on the porch. Chica was not in the yard. She was not even on the acre.

Matt and Louis had trekked through the woods thoroughly before Jennifer and I were able to get there. My mom was driving the neighborhood…Chica was gone. Absolutely gone. Without a single trace.

Chica is about 14 years old, and she is my absolute soul-dog. I have had this dog since the day she was born and she is THE dog for me. I know you guys know exactly what I’m talking about. We’re all dog people. We know what ‘THE dog’ means.

Chica Bonita - My Soul Dog
She is completely deaf and has a serious heart condition. She recently had surgery to remove quite a few tumors (benign) and her teeth cleaned before she goes into full blown heart failure. She has multiple shaved areas with two week old incisions, she is obviously owned. She was also wearing her collar with three forms of identification tags. She is microchipped AND tattooed. I felt confident that she would be returned to me should someone find her. That’s the ‘calm side’ talking. The other side, the ‘panic side’ was SURE she’d had a heart attack in the storm, fallen somewhere and broke a leg, hit by a car, wandering the wilderness only to be eaten by a bobcat…you know, the worst possible outcomes that could potentially happen.

We searched, in the pouring rain, miles and miles and miles of national forest and muddy dirt roads with flash lights and soggy socks (THE WORST) and shoes.
My Secluded Neighborhood - to show you just how much forest is around us.

I am so very thankful to have these people in my life and to call them friends. Words fail me, honestly. Matt and Jennifer stayed out with us until 1am searching for Chica. You would have to just spot her…as she’s completely deaf, remember? Around midnight, they left to go get pizza for us to eat, and then stayed and offered to keep searching. I cannot possibly thank them enough.

We agreed that there wasn’t much more we could do or search in the pitch black and would be best to wait until the next day…besides, we made ourselves believe that someone had seen her wandering and had taken her out of the storm and into their home.

I left food on the porch with her bed, and we left all the lights on…perhaps they would guide her home. I tried to sleep as best I could. When I woke on Saturday morning, I hoped I’d find her in her bed on the porch, but I did not.

I left for work and as soon as I got there, I had an absolute break down. I had kept myself together for the sake of poor Louis during our 5 hour search the night before. He was already beating himself up about it, as well as in all out panic mode because he lost ‘THE dog’. To be honest, any of us could have lost her. She never needed a leash. (Never say never, friends.) She is literally flawless. Perfection in dog obedience. Louis did what we ALL do and unfortunately, the storm took charge and I believe she got turned around. She couldn’t figure out how to get back out, where to go, and how to get there.

Once my meltdown had calmed a little, I began making posters. I began posting to every possible FB page I could find.
It spread like wildfire.

Louis made MASSIVE posters, that his mother offered to pay for, for the major spots in our secluded area, and printed a TON of papers for every single mailbox in our neighborhood. I faxed every vet clinic and after work, went to walk through both local shelters. I left posters there…some of our clients even took posters! Chica is a regular at the clinic. She goes in the rooms for moral support and when we're giving patients treats, they KNOW her.
...they were massive.
Hundreds upon hundreds of people shared her ‘poster’. People I didn’t even know where posting her poster into groups I wasn’t even a member of. It was…I just…you ALL have my gratitude. I am so very thankful that so many are so good at heart still. A friend of mine and his three kids drove out to my neighborhood and took to the streets to search for Chica. He did find $10 in the woods that he asked if it was our’s…but, no. You can have that. Hahaha.

People were changing their cover photos and profile pictures to images other's had made in an effort to spread the word...

Profile Photo
Cover Photo

After leaving one shelter, I got a notification that someone had seen a post about a lady finding a deaf dog and was holding on to it. The picture looked similar to Chica and both dogs were deaf. Three people had posted saying they had seen it as well, but couldn’t remember where. The search was on. We scoured every possible page we could find. We posted her poster over and over and over.

Around this time, I was coming to peace with…perhaps they’ll take her to a vet on Monday to have her scanned for a microchip. Perhaps they didn’t call because she’s missing her collar with all her ID tags. Perhaps they won’t take her to the shelters because she does have so many shaved areas and incisions. So many thoughts. I was literally shaking.

The county police reporter even shared her image.

My friends were telling me their feeds were FULL of Chica’s poster and it wasn’t all their posts…it was taking our FBs by storm. So many did what they could however they could.

No words for the gratitude and love I have for ALL involved.

Even with this possibility, we (Jennifer, Louis, and I) took the neighborhood; we taped posters to every single mailbox...one by one. Even mailboxes that had plants growing out of them because they’ve never been opened in years. We got many weird looks, some curse words, even! But, it was nice to see some folks walked out to their mailbox to see what we’d left.

200 Copies...determination.

About 100 mailboxes later, my mom calls me. Chica’s been spotted. A man had called her and said about 30 minutes ago, we’d left a poster on his box and he is pretty sure the dog is on his road right now. I might have broken a few laws to get to his street. Lord, forgive me. I arrive and there is no dog. No sign of a dog. No…nothing. Emotional breakdown number 347.87, at this point. We called him back, and he said she had a red collar (which is often confused with pink at long distances) and she looked JUST LIKE the dog on my flyer.

Mid Search Posting
My mom took to driving the neighborhood again, Louis was driving around, and Jennifer and I on foot. In and out of the woods, up and down, in and around.

About 30 minutes of searching this man’s street, and I admitted defeat. She was not here. She was gone…again. We were so close...but so far...AGAIN.

Jennifer and I were walking back to my truck, and in the distance, at the very same time…a little black dog walked across the road and back towards the woods. We both yelled, ‘CHICA!’…as though she could hear us, and off we ran. I ran so fast I don’t need to run for the rest of my life. She is RIGHT THERE and she is not getting out of my sight. Not this time. Not anymore. Lesson learned.

As we got closer, I realized it was, in fact, Chica. The night before I may have given a few opossums heart failure, but it was for a good cause. :/ …but, as we got closer, I saw her collar. I saw her tags. Then, the shaved areas.  I started sobbing. Running full speed after a trotting deaf dog headed back into the dense woods half a mile away is hard enough. Try sobbing, too.


I finally made it to her and basically tackled her. When she figured out I wasn’t some wild wilderness creature trying to eat her, she flipped out. Tail wagging, running in circles, literally flipping out. I just sat…and I cried. Jennifer cried. I cried. Jennifer cried. I cried. You guys…holy moly. The emotional roller coaster was over. It was done. She was back in my world.

I could hardly hold my phone to call the other’s in the search party. One by one, they all showed and we all cried. Omg, so much cries.


The old man who had called, came out of the house and asked if we’d found her. I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth. He kept asking over and over...like, 'Hello, crazy nutball...did you find the dog?' Hahaha. I gave him a thumbs up, and he returned with a thumbs up and nod.

We took Chica home and everything has since died down. The house is whole and all is right in our world today. She’s muddy. She smells. She has HORRIBLE gas. Her collar is nasty. But…she’s home. My little Siamese Twin is home.

We gathered our reward money for the old man and knocked on his door an hour or so later. I do not live in a ‘nice’ neighborhood, and you could tell this guy probably hurts for a few things. He might turn the money down, but we would offer. He might really need the help…and my gosh, all the money in the world would not be enough for what he helped return to me.Without his 5 minute phone call...she would still be out there...living off the land in a way she's never had to.

Someone else answered the door when we knocked, and said that we had talked to their brother, but he was already asleep. We handed them the money, and left after our ‘thank yous’. (Because some folks aren’t honest, we will call tomorrow and politely thank him and bring it up in a general sort of way to ensure he did legitimately get it. Such is the way the world turns, unfortunately.)

As we were removing the flyers from mailboxes, about 4-5 people called out to us from their porches asking if we had found her. They, too, were thankful. Chica looked out from the back seat, and I know she was happy, too.

What have we learned? We have learned that ‘never say never’ is real. It is raw and it is real. This dog is at my heels, day in and day out, without fail. One unfortunate circumstance, and she was lost. In less than five minutes…she was gone without a trace.

If you shared her poster at all…you are so special and I cannot have the appropriate words for the love and the gratitude for you. If you prayed, wished, whatever you did…the same for you. If you sat on the edge of your seat as this all unfolded (mainly my personal FB)…your support…your care…I just have no words. I thank all of you. Chica is my life…she can never die or disappear. <3 


Meet Pebbles

In case you missed this all unfold yesterday via Tad’s FB, let me start from the beginning.

Louis was supposed to be headed on his way to get me Chipotle. I waited, and waited, and waited ALL day for this. So hungry.

He calls me, and I’m thinking he’s in line and needs to ask a food question, right? Legitimate assumption. Instead, I get, ‘Tiffany…there’s this dog. I can’t leave her.’

‘Wait…you’re not at Chipotle!? LOUIS.’ I was devastated, honestly…I’m literally wasting away at this point. But, then I switch into ‘crazy animal rescue fanatic nutcase’. The usual, how skinny, where are you, is it dying, how many are there, etc. questions flood him.

He describes a skinny dog with what appears to be a broken jaw…or something ‘wonky’…as we both put it. He texts me pictures, and she seemed well fed from the pictures…but, for sure…something weird going on with the mandible (lower jaw).
Louis keeps food in his car for doggies he finds. <3!

We then texted back and forth and tried to determine the possible outcomes. He said to me, 'You always say the one's you’re meant for find you...she found me.'

With that, off I went to meet him with leashes and other potentially needed things to catch the skinny thing (who is MUCH thinner than her pictures let on). The dog ate some and then became scared and started running off. Boyfriend waited by the car...and when she got to a certain distance...she looked both ways and decided to give people another chance. She came back to him and they waited for me to get there. Being a newer person, she was scared and started walking away as soon as I arrived...tail tucked and heart on her sleeve. She kept cowering...rolling over...and walking away some more. She finally let me catch up with her and she rolled over submissively. She got belly rubs while I put a leash on her.
Belly rubs...sneaky leash attack.

Oddly, as I was walking back to my truck...another lady (which is ALSO the same lady who stopped me while I was trying to get Chihtwo, though she doesn't recognize me - thankfully?) had been sitting there (talking to Louis) and had been trying to get Louis to let her take the dog. She had weird points why, but one was that stood out was 'these dogs cost a lot of money' and that her daughter had a rescue of some sort somewhere and would be able to pay for the care the dog needed or something. She seemed...off. Perhaps she was correct and meant well, but...no way is this dog going with you. She trusts me and Louis so far, you haven't even gotten out of your car. -_- I won't betray the dog that way...not for all the money in the world, to be honest.

Notice how her lower lip just...hangs.
So, she came home...she got a warm safe place and some food.
You can sort of see her ribs and shoulder blades protruding.

Fast forward to today, her vet visit or...'bring your dog to work day'...whichever brings her more peace and makes it easier to come to terms with pokes, prods, and the typical humiliating violations that I get paid to do.

The morning started with a quick bonfire of her blankets from the previous night...y'all...this dog's diarrhea could be considered a biological weapon of mass destruction used to wipe out a medium sized country.. Holy moly. No way were we washing those.

The first thing we checked was a fecal…and she has a nice population of hookworms and an overpopulation of whipworms.  The crappy part about whipworms is their life cycle. She will need to be dewormed today, in 3 weeks, and in 3 months (or once a month for three months)...and of course, during this time...potentially leaving her whipworm friends in my yard and wherever she potties to infect more doggy friends. These next few weeks should be fun, right?
Recognize this room? ;)

We then checked her heartworm status, and unfortunately, she is positive. Very very faint positive, but positive. We're going to go ahead and give her Heartworm Prevention vs. the actual arsenic based treatment. The risks and troubles of treatment outweigh the benefits at this point, so we will do the 'off label/controversial' method that many call 'the slow kill method'. The common misunderstanding about the ‘slow kill method’ is that it is NOT a treatment. It does NOT kill heartworms. In fact, the ONLY thing it does is prevent reinfection while the existing heartworms die off on their own. Thus, the misunderstanding has turned this whole ‘method’ into a huge controversy.
We found a spare collar around, so she feels like a 'real' dog.

Now, at the end of the day, we finally managed to get her examined and looked at thoroughly. I mean, it wasn't too difficult...Pebbles like the attention. OR...she was absolutely petrified with fear, it's whichever.
Pebbles' Exam
Dr. Holliday took a LOT of detailed notes on her mouth issue. Every incisor is worn down, almost to pulp exposure, she has a broken canine on the upper jaw and the lower jaw has a canine that has root exposure all the way to the end almost. Her lip has been torn (and healed) from its proper position and is sort of ‘dangling’ there. Did she skid face first across the road? Did she fight and get her lip torn? Not sure. My vote is on face first across the road. Her incisors are worn…she has broken teeth…and her lip and gums are ‘degloved’ in a sense. But, we don’t really know…we can only assume. However, how do we fix it? Not entirely sure, to be honest. Sure, you can go chopping away and resew and repin…but, do we NEED to? Dr. Holliday is researching this. Usually, if the ‘degloving’ is within 24 hours, you do go in surgically and repair. However, this thing is long gone and healed. So, what now? I’ll keep you updated.
You can see how the lip is detached from the rest of her gums. Go look at your dog's mouth, and then look at this picture, to better understand the detachment. You can also see how ALL her incisors are ground down.

Her upper right canine is broken, but no pulp exposure yet.

You can see how far the lip is detached here...as well as how much of her lower canine root is exposed. The gums on the incisors should be there on the canine, too.

So moving down the body, Dr. Holliday gets to Pebbles’ belly and makes a weird face while palpating (mashing and moving guts around). All day, we had been joking that she looked pregnant and Louis was going to get an earful for ‘picking’ this one. Hahaha. But, jokes aside…this was serious. There was something inside.

Dr. Holliday couldn’t determine if this was a mass or a puppy…we questimated that Pebbles’ is about 3-4 years old (though, hard to tell with her current dental status)…so a tumor cold definitely be a possibility. We opted to take some radiographs. IF she’s pregnant, we’d already given her two drugs that have a possibility of affecting her puppies.

She was so sweet for them. She will do anything for belly rubs.
She is...so so so sweet.

I immediately thought, ‘O’lawd!’ upon seeing her rads…and Dr. Holliday’s first thought, ‘Oh, it’s a fart!’ So, after a good laugh…we take another xray to ‘make sure’ Pebble’s just needs to let a terrible toot out. Y’all…I know y’all don’t look at rads like we do…but this thing…is MASSIVE. I pity who’s cuddling her when she lets this one go.
This is Pebbles on her back. That big gigantic gas bubble...the long sausage looking area that's at the base of her ribs down to her pelvis is the...'toot'.

This is Pebbles on her side...again...massive slug looking toot waiting to escape.
So, no tumor. No puppy…just a tsunami sized toot. GREAT news…in a sense. Hahaha.

I have left her at the clinic for the night…with GREAT hopes that her diarrhea will miraculously be gone in the AM. We’ve read mixed feelings on how long she will shed the whipworms and be a threat to my own personal Crew de Chaos. Some say 3 days after deworming, some say a week, some say 3 months. *sigh* So, for now…she won’t get to make any new friends…and it’s probably best. She’s had a stressful couple of days.

So, what’s to come?

She started medications for diarrhea this morning, as well as started her dewormer. She will be starting her vaccines tomorrow, and in time…will need to be spayed. We have not yet determined how to repair her face, IF it needs repair. We’re still researching what to do. She has a broken canine and a very exposed canine that need to come out. We may be able to do this when she is spayed.

If you can help cover the costs of turning this girl’s life around, please donate via Tad’s trusted PayPal: tiffanydieringer@gmail.com or an older address, which also still works for some, tiffanydieringer@yahoo.com.

If you would like, you may also donate directly to the clinic via a card over the phone. The clinic is, as usual, Wags 2 Whiskers Veterinary Hospital, and the number is 936-582-2225. We’re a small practice, so if you say you’d like to donate to Pebbles, they’ll know EXACTLY who you’re talking about.

Here is a DIRECT LINK to the correct PayPal: