October 7, 2013
BOSTON, Oct. 7, 2013 – An emaciated, diseased and homeless dog is alive today after he collapsed on the front porch of a Miami home and was discovered by a Massachusetts couple who ultimately saved his life, the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center announced today. Now, after months of specialty care to treat a range of life-threatening health problems, the little dog they named “Plucky” is enjoying a whole new life.
Victoria and Pamela Mederos-Streetz of West Roxbury were visiting Victoria’s mother in Florida last October when they returned home to find the small black and white terrier—too ill to even lift his head—lying on the steps. He was emaciated, covered in fleas and suffering from a gaping wound in his mouth. “I never in my life saw a dog appear so sick; it was clearly all he could do to make his way up the walkway before collapsing on the porch,” Victoria would say later. Afraid to expose their two other dogs to a potentially contagious disease, but concerned for Plucky’s wellbeing, the couple set out blankets, food and water before trying to find the little dog’s owner.
The couples’ calls to neighbors revealed that Plucky had been seen wandering the neighborhood for several months, seemingly thinner and weaker every time he was spotted. Neighbors suspected he was abandoned after his owners left town. He had no identification tags and was not microchipped. Determined not to leave the dog to his fate, the couple brought Plucky to a local veterinarian the next day. The veterinarian diagnosed him with Ehrlichia, a tick-borne illness that causes rapid weight loss, anemia and life-threatening blood disorders.
|After a year of specialty treatment at Angell Animal Medical Center Plucky is slowly returning to health (credit: MSPCA-Angell)|
Plucky’s case was one of the worst the veterinarian had ever seen; she estimated the dog had been suffering for months with the disease and had virtually no platelets, the vital blood cells responsible for clotting, in his blood. Plucky was administered heavy doses of antibiotics and steroids and over the course of a week he got well enough for Victoria and Pamela to bring him inside for the first time to meet their other two dogs. “It warmed our hearts to be able to bring him indoors for the first time and as soon as he settled in with our two other dogs—who warmly welcomed our frail newcomer—we knew we were committing to Plucky for the long haul.” The couple returned to West Roxbury at the end of October with Plucky in tow.
Plucky continued to improve and seemed to enjoy living in a comfortable home so different from his days on the street. His treatments continued uneventfully until his health suddenly nosedived in August of this year.
As it turned out the very life-saving steroids that brought him back from the brink began compromising his immune system to the degree that he fell victim to a host of new life threatening conditions including anemia, a staph infection, ringworm and other parasites. Moreover, Plucky was unable to fight off a viral papilloma infection, causing his entire body to break out in warts. Desperate to save Plucky Victoria and Pamela took him to Angell, where dermatologist Dr. Klaus Loft took over his care.
Dr. Loft, who leads a two-dermatologist team at Angell and focuses on healing skin conditions of all sorts, assessed Plucky’s condition and lauded Victoria and Pamela for the actions they took to save him. “There’s no doubt in my mind Plucky would have died had Victoria and Pamela not acted quickly to get him to a veterinarian for life-saving care,” he said upon first meeting the dog in August. “The initial treatment brought him back from the brink and in fact saved Plucky’s life, but unfortunately it left him vulnerable to a host of other maladies that required specialized dermatological care.”
Plucky is currently undergoing aggressive treatments spanning oral medications to heal the blood disease that is destroying his platelets and special “lyme dips” to kill the fungus attacking his skin. His road to recovery is a long one, according to Dr. Loft. “After we get Plucky’s blood and skin disorders under control he’s going to need dental surgery to repair major tooth and gum damage resulting from his weakened condition.”
Despite the set-back and with many months of treatment still ahead of him, Plucky’s future looks bright. “I’m so grateful that this level of specialty care is available to animals in Plucky’s condition,” said Victoria.
To learn more about Angell Animal Medical Center’s specialty services click here.
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mspcaangell