Meet Flaco. Flaco has the worst case of Valley Fever the vets at Bethany Animal Hospital have ever seen; his Valley Fever infection is both severe and disseminated, meaning that it has spread from his lungs to the rest of his body…
It may seem that we would get desensitized to some of the horrors we see in this line of work, but that never seems to happen. This video was heartbreaking for us to edit…please, watch as long as you are able and keep Flaco in your thoughts as he fights to survive…
Flaco’s initial medical update: The blood work and x-rays are back and Dr. Katie Andre says that it’s the worst case of Valley Fever (VF) that she’s ever seen. She writes: “First of all, the labs: IgM is positive and IgG is positive at 1:64. The higher the IgG titer, the more likely that disease is severe or disseminated. This VF is both severe and disseminated. The one thing I can’t figure out yet is why he doesn’t bear weight on his rear leg, as there aren’t any major lesions there. There may be one developing in the knee end of the thigh bone. These are some of the worst Valley Fever lesions I have ever seen.”
Flaco has officially been adopted by his foster mom! Congrats to all!
Update, Aug. 18th from Flaco’s foster mom: Flaco is doing very well – what a doll he is! He has such a sweet, calm personality. He runs to greet me at the door when I get home and gives me kisses and snuggles. He is my great protector when someone comes to the front door; he is a loyal guy. He’s come a long way physically and emotionally. His leg is no longer bothering him and he has fun running in the backyard with his foster brothers athough he still tires easily. He had us worried recently when he lost weight, but I am so happy to say that he has gained weight and I can no longer see his ribs and his appetite is getting better. Seems as if his activity level increased over his appetite (Fluconozole diminishes appetite). We fixed this by lots of small meals specially cooked for him. Flaco’s true personality is coming out now that he is feeling better. He gets along with everyone in my pack but loves to boss around my Golden! I think that Flaco may be joining the Saturday park group next week. He is ready to have a normal active dog life. Maybe ready for a forever home soon? Although my heart will be a bit broken at the thought of that…
March 4th: Flaco stopped by for a photo shoot at Don’s today! He looks so good and was such a sweet and gentle boy! Check out the photos at the bottom of this page!
Update on Flaco, March 3rd: Flaco had a wonderful day today – he enjoyed hanging outside with my dogs in lieu of cuddling in his bed inside. It was pretty cute seeing him try and keep up with them. He is now using his back leg all the time. He’s sound asleep right now after all that fresh air and exercise. He’s still very thin and only eats small meals – but he is making progress. He continues to be a real doll. Just a sweetheart.
Update, Jan. 9th from Flaco’s foster mom: HE USED HIS BACK LEG THIS MORNING! Just gingerly using his tippy toe and not bearing much weight – but his leg is usually kept tight to his body and his muscle has atrophied so just the action is an amazing feat! I do some light rehab with him every morning and evening. I’m super excited.
Update, Dec. 14th: I got his results back and there is not much change in his levels, which I am told by Dr. Andre is to be expected. He still does not use his back leg and I will be doing some light physical therapy to try and help his atrophied muscles. He will use his leg when he’s NOT thinking about it – like going downstairs or if he runs towards something interesting (usually kitties chasing each other) but then picks it up gingerly as if it is painful. Dr. Andre said in the future we will work on some more in depth physical therapy. The GREAT news is that he is eating dog food…his appetite has picked up substantially. This is HUGE. This guy was a tough one to get to eat a few bites even with magic tricks..by the way, have I told you he has a stubborn streak?
Update from Flaco’s foster mom, Nov. 13th: Flaco is scheduled for a checkup in a week. His last checkup showed good progress winning the fight against Valley Fever. He is a picky eater, so I make him what I now call special Flaco mini meatloafs. I morphed the Satin Ball recipe and I bake them (so no raw meat !). He scarfs those down. He knows when its special FMM time as he comes in the kitchen all excited. His medication was increased and his energy level is up! He now spends a few minutes outside each day with the other little dogs exploring the yard and enjoying the fresh air. That’s a huge change. He is docile and sweet and greets me at the door wagging his tail when I come home now. He is always in the room that I am in and close by to me. He is only momentarily active though spending most of his time settled into one of the many dog beds. He takes pain killers occasionally still, but his face is relaxed now so I am confident that he is comfortable. He hangs out with the little dogs, but warns the big dogs to stay away, as he is still fragile. He has no problem bossing those big dogs around and they LISTEN! My Pit Bull, Marcus and my kitty Preston check on him every day and give him kisses. He’s come a long way in trusting people and dogs.
8-13-2012: Flaco got to see the amazing Dr. Katie today for a check up. The good news is he is making progress. He is going on pills rather than the liquid medicine. (thank goodness for me)! He is becoming quite the character and his true self comes out more every day. He still favors his back leg, which is a mystery. I think it’s habit as he doesn’t limp a bit when he runs (every time he hears a cat fight he sprints off and is the first one there..xwhich at my house is daily).
5-31-2012: Flaco has gained 21% body weight! He has gained seven pounds in six weeks! He had no muscle mass when he was rescued. I could feel his thighs and the muscle was shoe string size. His thighs are developing nicely and he although he enjoys his bed (and the couch) he is now more active..and is content now to be out with the big dogs in the back yard. The Dr. said Flaco is middle aged..for some reason I thought he was young. Hard to believe this sweet calm well mannered baby had years of abuse…he really is just one of the nicest dogs and very smart.
4-12-2012: Flaco is a doll -I thought I would give a quick update. He is feeling so much better and spending the night laying next to me on a dog bed as I work on my computer : ) He doesn’t leave my side. A small glance in his direction brings about happy tail wagging. He is so calm and sweet. I introduced him to my 2 little chi/cockerspaniels and he is great with them. He is limping a little bit more today, but that may be because he is more active now and walking more. He is still using his back leg. Tomorrow we find out his weight ! Hopefully soon we will need a new name other than skinny !
4-3-2012: Great news to share on Flaco – We went for our little walk around the front yard last night and he was not favoring his back leg and was walking on it ! He continues to slowly recover and is feeling much better. I will upload an updated picture tonight. May be changing his name to T-bone (just kidding) as he is a picky eater and prefers T-bone steaks, tuna in olive oil, and cheese…haha…but he LOVES those foods and is eating 4 small meals a day….
From Flaco’s Foster Mom: Flaco struggled to have the energy to even pick his head up to eat when he first got here. He laid on his side snuggled on the bed. Today he pops up off the bed to see me and when he lays down he keeps his head up while he lays on the bed. He is really alert today and he has a new little sparkle in his eye. Baby steps but so happy that I am seeing positive steps in this little guy. His new love is tuna in olive oil (I thought the protein and good fat oil would be good for him) he licked the bowl beyond clean (note to self to stock up tomorrow). Every time after he eats while I am sitting with him he leans over and gives me kisses on my hand. *sigh* He is a treasure.
Today we took a walk in the grass in the front yard after breakfast. He was able to put weight on his back leg, and wasn’t hopping on 3 legs. He can’t stand very long, only a few minutes, as his legs start shaking. He had chicken and rice mixed with pumpkin for breakfast and then followed up with a snack of organic yogurt (he loves yogurt) over high quality dry dog food. He is becoming a somewhat fussy eater (now turns his nose up to canned food) and sends me back to the kitchen to whip up a different meal, haha I think he got spoiled by the tuna.