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Please Help Swell (Siberian Husky) Keep Her Healthy Eye

Photo of Swell showing her beautiful yet unhealthy eyes Swell is a sweet, petite, 3 year old, female spayed, black and white Siberian Husky. She was purchased by a well meaning and caring person from a pet shop in Colorado. Swell and her owner then relocated to San Diego, CA in 2009. Financial constraints lead Swell’s heartbroken owner to surrender her to a San Diego animal shelter. Due to Swell’s underlying medical conditions, including cataracts in both eyes and obesity, the shelter gave her a low probability of being adopted. Swell was then scheduled to be put sleep after the three day mandatory holding period. Fortunately, the caring shelter staff sent out a plea to the Southern California animal rescue community. A volunteer for a Siberian Husky retrieved Swell from the grips of impending euthanasia to give her another chance at life. Swell’s foster mom contacted me to evaluate Swell’s overall health. Besides the aforementioned conditions, Swell had no other significant physical exam abnormalities. Initially, Swell was very outgoing and playful. Her activity increased and her body condition score (BCS) significantly improved (i.e., she lost weight). She was started on a high quality food and dietary supplements. Swell adjusted well to her foster home and found her place in the Husky pack. Swell always had appeared to have big and beautiful blue eyes. Besides her juvenile cataracts, Swell’s eyes developed chronic inflammation and infection. As Swell’s eyes worsened, she became reluctant to play in the yard with her Siberian Husky sisters and began hiding in her crate. Swell’s left eye suddenly appeared engorged with blood, so I referred Swell to Eye Care for Animals (Culver City, CA). Dr. Christin Fahrer determined Swell’s enlarged left eye to have a deep corneal ulcer and dangerously high eye pressure (intraocular pressure= IOP). The condition of the left eye merited surgical removal (enucleation) and biopsy to rule out potential abnormalities that could adversely affect Swell’s remaining right eye. Photo of Swell shows her unealthy left eye before surgery Biopsy ruled out cancer, but revealed a narrow drainage angle commonly seen with glaucoma. To keep Swell’s right eye pressure in a healthy range, she must receive prescription eye drops multiple times per day. Additionally, frequent reevaluation by a veterinary ophthalmologist is needed to ensure the remaining eye stays healthy. Swell’s surgery site has healed well and the sutures have been removed. Her foster parents noted an immediate, positive improvement in Swell’s demeanor post-surgery. Now that the mandatory convalescent time has passed, Swell is playing again with her canine companions. The vision in her right eye permits her to confidently skip stairs as she bounds through her environment with youthful enthusiasm. The decision to have Swell evaluated and treated by a veterinary ophthalmologist was the best route of action to improve the likelihood she will have a positive long term outcome. In pursuing premium care for Swell, her foster parents have incurred significant personal cost in pursuing diagnosis and treatment. Siberian Husky Rescue and Referral of California is accepting donations to help cover Swell’s ongoing veterinary care. Please make a tax deductible financial donation for Swell on the Siberian Husky Rescue and Referral of California website. Thank you for reading Swell’s story. Please pass her story onto other Siberian Husky lovers, pet welfare organizations, or anyone that you think may be inspired by Swell’s remarkable life. To see a gallery of Swell’s photos, please follow this MobileMe link. Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW), Inc.
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