by Lee Juslin
Kenner, a sweet Westie boy, has been in foster care with Westie Rescue of Austin Texas for a year. They figure him to be about eight years old. Kenner is still waiting for his forever home, but with some significant health issues, he may remain in foster care.Kenner was picked up on the mean streets by a shelter about sixty miles away from Austin. He seemed to have kennel cough and skin issues, so the crowded shelter put him on death row. A local rescue person was able to pull him from the shelter and contacted Linda at Westie Rescue in Austin. Linda set up a vet appointment before she even took him in, but unfortunately, what Linda and the other rescue person thought might be kennel cough the vet diagnosed as Westie lung disease, an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis of unknown cause that is progressive and not curable. Kenner also had skin issues and possible heart issues. The rescue group invested in an echocardiogram and fortunately it showed no heart problems. However, though he was not symptomatic from the lung disease, Linda and the vet both knew it was a case of maintaining him as comfortably as possible.
Another problem was that, although Westie Rescue of Austin makes it a point to neuter all their rescues before putting them up for adoption, Kenner could not undergo the procedure due to his health issues.
Recommendations for Westies with lung disease include regular doses of a cough suppressant, low activity level and maintaining the home at sixty-five degrees; an impossibility in Austin, TX. However, Linda compromised by using a big fan to blow air towards Kenner’s crate; eventually, he would need a nebulizer. Linda found that limiting his time outside and his play time were not difficult, as Kenner was a rather subdued, non-demanding Westie, an easy boy to have around despite being an intact male. However, these same traits that made him an easy to care for also caused him to go unnoticed.
Although Kenner shows no real signs of the lung disease, Linda has dealt with this before. “We had a twelve-year old Westie who had progressed to the point of having fluid build-up in his lungs, so we had to take him to the vet to have it drained on a regular basis.” Kenner has not needed to see the vet since last spring, however, he will be going in for a check-up before the holidays.
Adoption is out of the question for Kenner, but a permanent foster home is a possibility. In such a situation, if an appropriate home in the Austin area could be found, rescue would continue to pay Kenner’s bills. “But, right now, “says Linda, “he’s a happy boy, gets along well with other dogs and really doesn’t know he’s sick.”
Westie Rescue of Austin, TX is a small group, and they work closely with other Westie rescue groups within their area of TX. Like most rescues, they are an all volunteer group and depend on donations to cover veterinary and other costs for each rescued dog. Long term fosters, like Kenner, with on-going health issues are even more expensive.
If you would like to learn more about Westie Rescue of Austin, TX, volunteer, or give a donation, visit their website.
If you would like to read about Westie Lung Disease: Westie Lung.
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