Shadow7, March, 2001
Shadow, a young black male Lab, was abandoned by his owner on a piece of land belonging to the rescuer's family outside of Dallas, TX. Barely able to get up, let alone walk, Shadow was taken home by a good Samaritan who had observed what happened in the hopes that his wife - who works for a veterinary clinic - could find help for Shadow.
Shadow was very weak and had a fever. His rescuer took him to the clinic where she works and had him examined. X-rays showed that the right side of Shadow's heart was enlarged. A follow up echocardiogram confirmed the heart problem and an abdominal ultrasound showed that Shadow's liver was enlarged as well. The vet diagnosed Congenital Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD) and put Shadow on medication. Shadow's rescuer knew that this treatment would buy Shadow only a little more time and she started to explore other treatment options.
A nearby vet school had a solution. Shadow was a good candidate for a new type of heart surgery the vet school had developed. The cost of the surgery was prohibitive but the vet clinic offered to do the procedure at a fraction of their cost and several clients of the clinic where Shadow was diagnosed were willing to help.
Shadow's rescuer asked LABMED for help. Shadow's tests were done by his rescuer's employer who gave her a substantial discount but they were still quite expensive. When she and her husband rescued Shadow they didn't know what was wrong, they only knew that this Lab boy needed help. The surgeon at the vet clinic gave Shadow a good prognosis; he is optimistic that Shadow will be able to lead a full life - without medication - after the surgery. LABMED discussed this case extensively and while we can't help fund the surgery since it is a very new and mostly unproven procedure, we were able to fund part of the diagnostic testing.
Shadow, along with another dog, was scheduled for surgery in early April. But one of the members of the surgical team had to do other emergency surgery and had only time to operate on one dog at that time so Shadow will have to wait just a bit longer.
Shadow goes to work with his rescuer and has made many friends at the vet office. He is a friendly, easy going dog who just loves people and other animals. There is even a family who is considering adopting Shadow after the surgery; they met Shadow when they brought their dog for treatment.
To learn more about TVD, please visit http://www.labbies.com/tvd.htm.
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