On the afternoon of November 1, 2016, an emaciated, paralyzed German Shepherd named Cubby was surrendered to the Harris County Shelter (HCS) in Houston.
He was so weak that he had to be pushed there in a wheelbarrow.
The prognosis was grave, but shelter volunteers could tell that Cubby was not ready to give up, so they decided that they would give him every possible chance to fight for his life.
Veterinarians determined that the dog was suffering from Parvovirus and swelling in his brain and spinal cord caused by an unknown infection.
The HCS-affiliated rescue group, Val’s Pals GSD & Large Paw Rescue, stepped in to help with the costs of care.
The veterinary team at Texas A & M supported the group’s decision to give Cubby a fighting chance.
After traditional therapies failed, they suggested a radical last-ditch treatment plan that would either save or end Cubby’s life.
They would administer high doses of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin which is found in heartworm and intestinal deworming medications.
Ivermectin is safe in very low doses, but high doses can cause blindness, toxicity and even death.
The vets suspected Cubby’s mystery illness could be due to a parasitic infection in his brain, but if they were wrong, the treatment would surely kill the already weakened dog.
Cubby’s supporters agreed to the risky plan and were delighted to find that Cubby was improving after just one injection!
After the second dose, he stood for the first time and took his first shaky steps.
He was soon well enough to be released from Texas A & M and welcomed into a loving foster home under the care of his rescuers.
Cubby’s weak gait and neurological deficiencies continued to improve with time and he was finally cleared to undergo treatment for heartworm disease – the easily preventable condition that led to his critical illness.
Now just 3 months after he arrived at the shelter starving and suffering, Cubby is strong and healthy.
The dog he has become is unrecognizable from the pitiful pup in the wheelbarrow.
All Cubby needed was someone to believe in him and he was lucky enough to find it in the devoted rescue workers at the Harris County Shelter, Val’s Pals Rescue, and the huge team of veterinary staff who contributed to his care along the way.
Cubby is now ready to be adopted by a family who will love and appreciate him.
Click here for more information about adopting him or one of the other available cuties at Val’s Pals.
And check out the Harris County Pet Adoption page to see their available dogs and cats.