The 6-year-old Doberman pinscher can walk again. Local rescue is hoping to recoup $10,000 spent on medical care
By Brandie Kessler
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Dogs need few things to live meaningful lives.
That’s what veterinarian Jon Nannos believes.
“They need to be able to go out, pee and poop, eat and drink, and they need to be able to play,” Nannos said.
As a veterinarian who performs surgery on animals at Metropolitan Veterinary Associates in Norristown, Pa., Nannos sees many dogs who have been injured and are unable to play.
Diseases that limit play in dogs may not themselves be life-threatening, Nannos said, but they severely limit the dog’s desirability.
When Nannos met Rusty, a 6-year-old red Doberman pinscher who was up for adoption through the Doberman Pinscher Rescue of PA, the dog was paralyzed.
Gail Stambaugh and her husband David, of North Codorus Township, who are members of the Doberman pinscher rescue and have four other Doberman pinschers, were fostering Rusty.
Gail Stambaugh said Rusty wasn’t paralyzed when she met him in February.
Because the Stambaughs work often with the rescue, they were asked to foster Rusty. They were supposed to house him and care for him until another foster family that could keep him for a longer period of time could take over his care.
They drove to the Chester County SPCA to get him on Feb. 19.
“When we arrived at the SPCA, Rusty was having a lot of trouble standing,” Gail Stambaugh said. But he was able to stand on his own feet.
They got Rusty home. Two days later, the Stambaughs learned the family that was going to keep Rusty long-term wasn’t going to work out. That family had stairs and floors that were not carpeted. Rusty would have too much difficulty on those floors.
The Stambaughs took Rusty to their family veterinarian at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital. Rusty was diagnosed with wobblers syndrome, a neurologic disease in dogs that affects their spine.
About a week after the Stambaughs had Rusty, “he became totally paralyzed,” Gail Stambaugh said. “He cried in pain, he cried real tears.”
Stambaugh said a friend referred her to a holistic veterinarian, who said he needed an MRI.
In early March, the Stambaughs took Rusty to Metropolitan Veterinary Associates. By then, they were carting Rusty around in a wagon.
“He couldn’t move, he literally couldn’t move,” Gail Stambaugh said. “His legs were ice cold.”
When Rusty was examined, the veterinarians discovered he had a bulging disc in his neck and he needed surgery.
Rusty underwent surgery March 11. Two days later, he stood up on his own.
It was miraculous, Stambaugh said.
Nannos said Rusty recovered better than expected.
“The disc, bulging, puts pressure on the spinal cord,” Nannos explained. “It’s like you or I stepping on a garden hose. The water supply is stopped. …So what the disc is doing, it’s stepping on the garden hose and preventing nerve impulses from going up and down.”
But unlike removing the pressure on the garden hose, removing a bulging disc might not allow for the pathways to be cleared. At best, there’s a 50 percent chance of a full recovery, Nannos said. Rusty’s was a “phenomenal outcome,” Nannos said.
But it didn’t come without a cost.
Stambaugh said the rescue paid for Rusty’s medical care, including the surgery. The total amounts to about $10,000.
Although she and her husband have decided to adopt Rusty, and he’s now part of their family, they want the rescue to be able to help other Doberman pinschers that are in need of medical care.
The Doberman Pinscher Rescue of PA will be at the York Reptile and Pet Expo at the York Fairgrounds. They will be collecting old and used shoes.
They sell the shoes to a company that pays them 50 cents per pound, and recycles the shoes into various things. That money will help recoup some of the money that was paid to help Rusty.
“Times are hard,” Gail Stambaugh said. “But people are always looking to get rid of shoes.”
Contact Brandie Kessler at 771-2035.
Fund-raiser for pinscher rescue
The Doberman Pinscher Rescue of PA is having a fund-raiser later this month at the Reptile and Pet Expo at the York Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 17.
Admission is $10, and children under age 5 are free. Get $2 off your adult admission by bringing an animal-related supply which will be donated to one of the rescues at the expo.
Learn more about the expo at www.yorkreptilepetexpo.com.
Learn more about the Doberman Pinscher Rescue of PA by visiting www.dprpa.org.