Pearl’s Plight



It started with five years tied to a tree. A purebred Border Collie, like many other severly neglected dogs, only wished to please. No one knows why the owner decided to treat her that way. Pearl endured excrutiating pain when her DOUBLE EAR INFECTION ABSCESSED out of the side of her face & neck. The neighbors called Animal Control & she was confiscated. A few days after she entered AC, I got the call. Julie Z. at AC knew about my soft side for Border Collies. It was a Sunday, April 1, 2012. I saw Pitiful Pearl approaching me as one of the staff walked her down the hall. I saw the 4 “draining tracks” full of puss oozing from her face & neck. She happily got into the truck with me & away we went.

It has been numerous trips to the vet, specialists, clinics…trying to figure out the best way to help Pearl.

Dr. John Swengel & Dr. Carolyn Kacocha , VCA Swengel Animal Hospital have been Pearl’s primary care doctor’s. Pearl was also seen by the Dermatology & Ear Clinic on E. 86th St where the specific bacteria was diagnosed. She has been treated with cold laser, medication, diet & homeopathic procedures over the course of several months.

Explaining Pearl’s condition is involved. Plainly, she is a “hot mess”. Her daily needs besides the medications (currently costing $300 monthly,) include cleaning her wounds with medicated shampoo & ear cleaning. Despite her condition she is a spirited young lady who keeps a constant eye on her primary caregiver…ME! She walks off lead with wherever I go which is a good thing since a collar would not be comfortable for her. I do slip lead her, placing part of the lead under her left leg so it doesn’t rub against her wounds. She is not complaining. I think she’s just happy to be alive. Her border collie traits show through now & again. That familiar curl of the upper lip to let another dog that he doesn’t need to be in her face. She is quite content laying at my feet keeping me safe 🙂 The bleeding wounds were attributed to her biopsies. The vet had to dig in to the wounds to get samples. So on Thursday they cauterized the bleeding wounds. There is still some oozing, partly because she won’t keep her paws off them…and partly because they’re open wounds. Healing the wounds from the “inside” is what is happening with the HBOC. The wounds must heal to a point before they can be surgically closed.

The other front of attack. Due to Pearl’s horrible first 5 years of life her immune system has been compriimised which makes healing very difficult. She has “large bowel disease” which has caused some pustules to develop around her anus. Building up her immune system through diet & medication will help her overall condition. HBOC is helping Pearl speed up the healing process.

Wed. March 20 – HBOC Treatment #8

When I dropped Pearl off this morning, I spoke w/ Heather the vet tech who watches her in the chamber. Heather was rather agast at the first sight of Pearl prior to Treatment #1. She is pleasantly surprised at the looks of the wounds now.

HBOC #9 & #10… then surgery

Pearl completed her HBOC treatment.

Our continuing care of Pearl has changed direction along the way. At first we felt that a total ear ablation (removal of ear canal) was the answer. That changed to to just the left canal, as the right ear was showing good improvement.

In November 2012, Pearl had quite the setback. She had pancreatis. After her hospitilization, she came home with me but wouldn’t eat. That went on for 3 days. I spoke with her that Friday night…asking her to show me a sign if it was “time”. Amazingly, that Saturday morning she got up & started eating. She has quite the will to live.

We were looking for her to gain her strength back before attempting the ear ablation, when in January she was walking through an outside gate with me & nicked a small artery in one of her open wounds. Off to surgery to stitch her up.

Reassessing her condition in early March 2013 it was decided to have a CT scan done on her neck & skull area to see what really going on in there.

The CT scan & biopsies taken from the wounds came back. No tumors, no cancer. How to proceed? The ear canals were looking pretty good “comparatively speaking”. So the ear ablation was tabled. Dr. Elkins at VCA Advanced (E. 96th St ) decided to fight this on two fronts. The “wounds” which had originally been four were now down to two. Those two wounds were wide open & unable to heal on their own. They had to heal from the inside. So, the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy was scheduled. Every weekday morning… away we’d go for the 30 min ride from the Souhside to the Northeast side of town. I would drop her off & head across the street to the Bob Evans for breakfast while working on my laptop. It is usually hours from the time I drop her off until pick up time.

Last Mon-Wed (3/11-3/13) went as planned, then there was Thursday. Pearl had been dripping blood from the wound. This usually occured after she would jump down from the truck or other activity.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pearl goes into surgery. They’ll sew up the wounds, but put in two drains. Bandage will be changed in two days & hopefully the drains can be removed 2 days later.

Friday, March 29

Her drains were removed.

April has been a fairly good month for Pearl. She seems to be gaining strength in body & ATTITUDE! Her tail has been wagging about even with her rump as opposed the usual just hanging down. She’s been taking additional medications which should be for a couple more months. She did pull out the stitches on her cheek wound but the neck wound has healed quite well.

Wound Care Nurse (for Humans), Joanne, is a good friend of mine. Joanne comes by to check Pearl’s wounds & changes her bandages 3x a week.

Monday, May 6th is “Re-check time” for Pearl. To be continued…