For me, the story of Peaches begins when her picture first appeared on the rescue community’s network on Facebook. What her story was before that day no one knows. However, we can safely assume that her previous owner likely abandoned her or dumped her at Robeson Animal Control in NC which was at the time a very controversial high kill shelter. They (her former family) probably knew she was sick and could not or would not pay the vet bills to treat her. This picture is the one we all saw when we first were introduced to her.
Previously nameless, her new name was given to her by one of the rescue community’s members. The community’s need to save her was instantaneous. You can see how miserable she was, how uncomfortable she felt and the intense sadness in her eyes shows she knew her hours were numbered as long as she was in that shelter. Perfectly healthy animals are killed every day at the shelter, Peaches didn’t stand a chance.
So the next day, Peaches was pulled by local rescuers and taken to the South Robeson Vet Clinic to find out what was wrong with her. Many of us thought she was pregnant because she was so swollen or bloated. A donation drive was started to help pay for her vet bills and x-rays were ordered to find out if she was pregnant and if not, further tests were scheduled to find out what was ailing our poor Peaches.
X-rays showed she was not pregnant but results came back indicating that she high heartworm positive. Not great news but heartworm can be treated successfully and the money had been raised to at least get her first heartworm treatment done. A great deal of fluid had collected inside her due to the heartworm disease and a lot of this was drained out of her before treatment for heartworms began.
A couple of days later, this is Peaches feeling much better albeit still somewhat bloated. Those of us who were following her progress were much heartened to see her looking so much better.
Heartworm treatment requires that the dog is kept very quiet and on restricted exercise for a period of several weeks to allow the dog’s body to absorb the dead worms. Exertion can cause the dead worms to break loose and travel to the lungs causing respiratory failure and death. So it is absolutely necessary for the success of the heartworm treatment that the dog is kept very quiet and still after all the worms have been killed. This did not concern us as Peaches was being kept at the vet’s office for the duration of her treatment so there was little risk of overexertion.
This is a picture of Peaches from last Friday, the 4th of June, 2010. Look at how much better she looks! Obviously on the road to recovery and it won’t be long before we can proceed to find her a new worthy home and she can experience a normal, happy and love filled life like every dog should.
Sadly it was not destined to be. Peaches passed away on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010. Of course, we don’t know exactly what caused her death but it is assumed that one or more of the dead worms became dislodged. Speaking personally, I was devastated by her passing. Although I never met her, I loved her as if she was my own and I had been praying for her recovery and the ultimate pleasure of seeing her find a new healthy and wonderful life. After seeing the last picture of her, the last thing I expected was that she was still in danger.
The point of this story is this: Heartworm prevention is the only way to avoid putting your dog and yourself through this horrible experience. Mosquitoes, the carriers of heartworm disease, are everywhere and there is no guarantee that your dog will not be infected no matter where you live. If you don’t have your dog on heartworm prevention treatment already, do it now! Don’t let Peaches’ death be in vain. She is only one of thousands of dogs infected with heartworm across the country and it is completely preventable.
RIP Peaches. At the end, many loved you and were pulling for you to recover fully.
For more information about heartworm disease, treatment, and prevention: What is Canine Heartworm?.