Meet Kate -
6 year old Kate (DOB 11/19/2014) was retired from breeding and released into our care. She is an absolutely precious girl but underneath her darling teddy bear appearance and goldielocks curls, she is suffering greatly. Kate’s ears have become so stenotic (bottom photo) due to chronic infection and inflammation that our vet is not able to see or assess them past the ear canal which changes the way in which we are able to treat them. The ear cytology showed both bacteria and a whole lot of yeast. We hope to get the inflammation down so we can better assess them at her recheck.
She is having terrible diarrhea and her fecal test revealed a very high amount of bacteria - rods, cocci, and spirochetes, as well as nasty whipworms. She is being dewormed and is on oral antibiotics as well as probiotics and supplements to help restore her gut health. It sounds like there is a war going on in her poor tummy.
She arrived with very, very angry, dry, inflammed, infected, and painful eyes (middle photo) so we were not surprised that her tear test was 0 meaning she was not producing any tears. Due to the chronic and neglected dry eye, she developed secondary infection, inflammation and a lot of pigmentary keratitis. The pigment forms on the surface of the cornea as a natural defense mechanism to “protect” the eye. Kate’s eyes are so bad and a lot of pigment has formed which has greatly affected her vision. Right now we are not able to see through the pigment to even see her pupil. We have started her on an array of eye medication to treat the infection, inflammation, work to dissolve some of the pigment, and try to stimulate her tear gland to produce some tears. In the meantime we are lubricaring her eyes around the clock with a lubricating gel. By the looks of her eyes, we are quite concerned that her tear gland may be “too far gone” and that we will not be able to successfully stimulate it to produce tears with medication. If that is the case, she would likely be a candidate for the PDT surgery that several of our other Cavaliers have undergone which reroutes their salivary gland to their eye where their eyes become adequately lubricated by their saliva. Only time will tell if she responds to the eye medications on not.
Kate also had severe dental disease and a rotten, infected mouth (top photo). Yesterday she underwent her spay surgery and much needed dental where she lost a dozen bad teeth which she will not miss a bit. She is also very overweight at 32 pounds and has a luxating patella which all the extra weight certainly isn’t helping. We will get the pounds off in foster care and her knee and overall health will greatly benefit from that.
The good news is here Kate’s heart is clear and her bloodwork looked great. Her mouth, ears, tummy, eyes - they’re all things we can fix and that we know how to fix very well! We are eager to restore her to good health and just sick that she has been left to suffer for so long.
Sweet Kate is quite timid but we feel a lot of that is due to her limited vision which has her feeling extra guarded and uncertain. When we are able to improve sight in our dogs, it truly improves so much more. We see our dogs go from afraid, guarded, and insecure to confident, curious, and content. We also know she isn’t feeling well with all she has going on. We will be aggressively treating her ailments and she will return for a recheck in 10 days to check on her progress. Kate is being fostered in Birmingham, Alabama close to our ophthalmologist.
She also received subconjunctival injections (into the tissue when you pull down on bottom eyelid) to help reduce the inflammation. These injections bypass several layers and thus increase penetration. If things are not looking better by the end of the week we will need to move forward with a culture to identify exactly that is growing, which will be the first time we’ve had to do that with an eye. As for the tear production, we feel that the tear gland is too damaged to be stimulated and that surgery on both eyes will be inevitable. Before surgery though, we need to have the infections cleared and inflammation managed which is our current goal.
Kate comes from a breeding kennel notoriously known for severe eye issues. In fact, you may remember Sable and Goldie who came through our rescue last Summer. They were also from the same breeding kennel with a song similar to Kate’s - no tear production, battling secondary issues, too damaged of a tear gland to stimulate, not responding to medication, and required Parotid Duct Transposition (PDT) eye surgeries. While “dry eye” is definitely a common congenital issue in the breed, the eye issues the Cavaliers from this kennel are experiencing is something more than that. We aren’t sure if something is being put into their eyes, or if there is a chemical they’re being exposed to, or 🤷🏼♀️, but something is turning off their tear production and making their eyes extremely resistant to medications. This is causing these poor babies a great deal of discomfort, pain, and suffering, and a long road of medical care.
It’s going to be a process, but like all the others before her, we will get this straightened out and well managed so she can go on living a comfortable and quality life with better vision 💜
UPDATE MARCH 15, 2021: 🚘 Curbside vetting got Kate like...
Precious Kate has been with us 2 weeks now and had a recheck vetting appointment as well as a consultation with our ophthalmologist.
Her spay and mouth have healed well following her surgery and big dental. While her ears are far better than they were 2 weeks ago when they were nearly swollen shut, there is till some yeast and bacteria and needed to be retreated. She is also down 3 pounds from 32 to 29 and is already moving and breathing better with some extra pounds off.
Her eyes are a different story- we did not like how her eyes looked on intake and still don’t like how they look after 2 weeks of medication. She has severe dry eye (producing no tears) and as a result has developed a lot of pigment which is negatively affecting her vision. She also has secondary infection and inflammation which is not responding well to medication. Today we have added two more antibiotic drops to her regimen in hopes of something being effective to clear the infection.
UPDATE APRIL 22, 2021: Yesterday, teddy bear Kate underwent Parotid Duct Transposition surgery where her salivary glad was rerouted to her eye so that her dry eye, which was not producing any tears, is now being adequately lubricated by her saliva 💦 This afternoon she was able to be discharged and is now back in the comforts of her foster home resting and recovering 💕 She is on lots of medications and drops and will return back to the ophthalmologist this time next week for a post-op recheck 💜 In the meantime, it is important for her salivary glands to stay stimulated so plenty of treats are being prescribed 📝
UPDATE MAY 12, 2021: 3 weeks ago darling Kate underwent Parotid Duct Transposition (PDT) surgery where her salivary gland was re-routed to her eye so her eye, which isn’t producing any tears, could be adequately lubricated by her saliva. We’ve had many dogs undergo this procedure with great success but unfortunately Kate’s was not a success.
Her post-op recheck revealed that her eyes were still dry and despite our best efforts to try to stimulate her salvary gland with tasty food and treats 🐠🥩🥘 , there was no saliva making it to her eye. We were hopeful that post-operative inflammation was to blame and that swelling was closing off the flow of saliva. We started her on anti-inflammatories but unfortunately we saw no improvement. So yesterday she underwent another procedure to try determine where and what the blockage is that is preventing the flow to the eye and open it back up.
The procedure did indeed give us answers but not what we were hoping for. There was no blockage rather it was discovered that her salivary gland was not secreting well enough for the saliva to make it upstream to the eye, which is extremely rare. Therefore, her eye is not able to be lubricated in this way. While under, she did get a ‘tear stimulant implant’ put in her eyes which will slowly release the tear stimulant medication with the hope that between that slow release implant and her tear stimulant drops that we can get her tear gland activated and see some improvement.
Worst case is that despite the slow release implant and tear stimulant drops that her tear gland is just too atrophied and too far gone to stimulate, and that her eyes will need to be manually lubricated through ointments and gels. There will likely be secondary issues, mostly infection, that will arise and would need to addressed along the way. While she was under yesterday we did collect and send off for a culture and sensitivity test so we could learn what medications she is most sensitive to so that any infections down the road can be best handled.
We are still holding out hope though that the new implants can bring some improvement. We will give it some time for post-op inflammation to go down and then will be rechecking her tear production over the next couple weeks. We will have a better idea from there what her long term care plan will look like and then will be looking for the perfect furever family for the job. No matter what the outcome is, Kate has the most amazing attitude and spirit and will not let anything stop her from fully enjoying her new and amazing life 💜
UPDATE MAY 31, 2021: Y👀 We spotted Kate having a #SundayFunday at a pool pawty in Birmingham, Alabama 💦☀️ This was Kate’s first pool experience and her foster mom was happy to report that she liked it! 💜 Smart girl knows it keeps her cool and feeling good!
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 13, 2021: We’ve been working hard to clear Kate’s eye infections. Per her ophthalmologist, “she’s a petri dish!” 🦠 She had a lot of different organisms growing including some that were very “exotic” and rare (compliments of the puppy mill 🙄) and that were very difficult to treat. Per her last cultures, we have finally treated those organisms 🙌🏼 are are now left with your much more common bacterial organisms that are found in everyday contact.
This is the same bacteria that all other dogs are coming into contact with but the difference is that their eyes act like a “flushing mechanism” 💦 to continuously flush out this bacteria. Kate’s eyes don’t produce any tears though and because this bacteria isn’t being flushed out, it’s harboring in her eyes. So her foster mom has been her “flushing mechanism” and is flushing out her eyes around the clock so that hopefully this bacteria doesn’t get a chance to grow. Tomorrow she returns to the ophthalmology where we will re-culture and see if all these efforts are paying off 🤞🏻 Visibly her eyes are looking so much better and more comfortable 💜