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Success Stories

Gypsy, January, 1999

Gypsy Gypsy, an 8 month old Black Lab female, had been taken to the local vet by her owners to be euthanized. Why? She constantly leaked urine. There are a number of reasons why this condition occurs. Fortunately this vet contacted a member of Animal Rescue in Burnett County, Wisconsin rather than euthanize Gypsy. Gypsy was going to be given a chance!

Gypsy's foster mom decided that it was worth the effort to care for her and seek solutions to her problem. She contacted LABMED for assistance with this very complex case. The local vet had given a preliminary assessment -- Gypsy probably had an ectopic ureter. However, because this is a rare condition, the local vet had never before treated this type of condition or run the tests to accurately diagnose it. They referred Gypsy to the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and LABMED voted to fund the diagnostic tests that would determine what was causing her incontinence. The test results showed that she did have an ectopic ureter (one of her ureters was not connected to the bladder) - and would need surgery to correct it. Gypsy was in better shape than she could have been - it was just one side that was causing her problem, and she didn't have any other major health problems. Her foster mom had done a remarkable job keeping Gypsy clean and healthy, despite her chronic incontinence.

Now, the surgery for this condition isn't always successful - and we faced a tough decision. Our guidelines state that dogs we fund must have a "chance for a good quality of life" following treatment; we didn't know what Gypsy's chances were, but after consulting with the vet who ran the tests, and with LABMED's Veterinary Advisory Board, we voted to fund the surgery that we felt would correct Gypsy's condition. Another consideration for us is, "Is the dog going to be adoptable" after treatment; we were delighted to hear that a prospective adoptive home was already in touch with Gypsy's foster mom.

In fact, this is what the vet told us about Gypsy: "She is a delightful young dog and I do feel that if we can correct her incontinence problem she would be a good pet and her quality of life should be excellant."

Gypsy had her surgery, which was successful, and she went home to recouperate - diaper-free for the first time in several weeks. Yes, Gypsy had been living in the house, sleeping on her foster mom's bed - diaper and all. She was ready for a chance to be a normal dog in a real home, and we are very glad we were able to help her out.

Update: About a week after her surgery, we heard from Gypsy's Foster Mom:

"Gypsy acts like absolutely nothing is different. I do see her chewing more. I think she feels so good about not wetting that she is able to enjoy puppy-hood all over again. So she has been spunky and playful and chewful. I am so grateful for your organization and I hope that I can continue to give the quality of care to others."

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