Heartworm Medical Case: Rescued Senior Dog Receives Life-Saving Treatment

Last February, Rusty was added to our growing list of 2024 Kitu’s Fund cases. The heartworm positive senior dog was found severely undernourished and worse for wear. Thanks to Kitu’s Fund, we were able to start treatment and he’s responding well. But the high-cost medical cases just keep coming in. They all deserve a chance, and that’s why we’re asking for your help. Please give to Kitu’s Fund 2024 and help us reach our $20,000 goal.

Neglected senior dog still trusting

A thin, greying senior dog peers sadly from Rusty’s intake photo. Now at a healthy weight, his body still shows signs of past trauma, particularly his legs. The bone protruding from his left knee, shown below, is evidence of long-healed, untreated breaks.

It’s difficult to imagine the pain he endured. Other evidence of hardship and neglect include scarring and broken teeth. But whatever his history, all it took was a little TLC for Rusty’s naturally trusting, outgoing personality to surface. In May, he greeted Ali and Sydney with a waggy tail and smiled for the camera.

And when I visited last week, he leaned affectionately against Laura Finley and basked in our attention.

Now Rusty needs a foster hero

As per Rescue Ranch protocol, Rusty was tested for heartworm. He came up positive. We’ve covered heartworm in a previous article, but the upshot is that, untreated, it’s fatal in dogs, and treatment lasts three to four months minimum. In Rusty’s case, he had to gain weight before his body could withstand treatment. As of publication, he has received his first shot.

Heartworm cases are Kitu’s Fund cases. Typically the vet costs run between $750-$1000, more if there are complications. Additionally, dogs undergoing treatment must remain at rest for weeks. Care itself isn’t terribly onerous, but requires complete rest and monitoring. Even the relative calm of the Sanctuary isn’t ideal. A quiet private home would be better for Rusty.

So far, he’s doing great, but as a senior dog who loves people, Rusty would benefit from a home environment with a loving foster who could ensure he made his vet appointments. Rescue Ranch would cover medical expenses and food. Once Rusty’s treatment is complete, if all parties agree, the foster could become a long-term arrangement. Senior dogs with special needs tend to do better in foster care than at the shelter. Molly and Cleo are two examples of successful long-term senior fostering. Want to become Rusty’s foster hero? Please contact Rescue Ranch at info@rrdog.org.

Kitu’s Fund saves lives like Rusty’s

Kitu’s Fund was established to cover high-cost, out of the ordinary, veterinary expenses. These can run from several hundred to many thousands of dollars. We’ve had many cases this year, and we never know when the next one will arrive. What we do know is that without Kitu’s Fund and our belief that every dog deserves the chance to live, many would die. If you agree that dogs like Rusty deserve that chance, please give to Kitu’s Fund 2024, and help us reach our $20,000 goal .