12 Saves of Christmas: #9 Chispita the Terrier

Nevada Humane Society’s 12 Saves of Christmas was introduced several years ago. It received an overwhelmingly positive response, letters of appreciation, and more, all of which came unexpectedly to us. We see day in and day out the difference we make in the lives of thousands of animals but we didn’t realize we weren’t fully communicating those lifesaving efforts to you – our biggest fans. Thus, the 12 Saves of Christmas was created. Now, every holiday season, we find ourselves receiving messages asking when our 12 Saves of Christmas begins. Without further ado, we present to you the 12 Saves of Christmas of 2016.


12 Saves of Christmas #9: Chispita the Terrier

Animals arrive at Nevada Humane Society one of two ways. First, lost or found pets who go to Washoe County Regional Animal Services that are not reclaimed by their person are transferred to us. Second, when people come upon hard times and can no longer keep their pets, they can relinquish them to us (though this is for residents of Washoe County and Carson City only). Occasionally, there is a third route, when we have the added resources and can take animals in from outlying shelters to help them out, saving even more lives.

Of all of these ways, probably the hardest arrival to witness is when someone has to give up a pet. We strive to teach people that having a pet is a commitment and you need to be able to provide for them. We educate that spaying and neutering pets is vital for pet overpopulation and the health of the animal. However, we also understand that times can get tough, especially unexpectedly—and we are always here to put the best interest of the animal first.

Chispita was someone who needed our help. She was given up for her health—her owner didn’t know what was wrong but she couldn’t care for her. When she arrived she was lethargic, emaciated and having seizures. We rushed her into our veterinary clinic.

Our team was able to stabilize her and begin monitoring her to see what was wrong. We administered fluids to keep her hydrated, took some blood tests and then did a series of x-rays to see what was going on inside. She was only one so we were concerned with the bigger picture of overall health. Was this something we could fix?

The next 48 hours were crucial. Her x-rays revealed something small in her intestinal tract, but luckily it was able to pass on its own. After it did, her appetite and strength began to reappear. The bigger concern was the seizures. What was making this happen?

Chispita’s blood work was consistent with possible liver disease, but again, because she was so young, that seemed unlikely. The other option was a congenital liver shunt, where the body’s circulatory system bypasses the liver. This causes toxins to build up internally, along with high blood pressure and seizures. Chispita was displaying all of these symptoms, so we called our friends at Sierra Veterinary Specialists for further diagnostics and a second opinion.

Her consultation went well and they too agreed it was more than likely a liver shunt. Surgery was the next step so that we could see if it was able to be repaired and to rule out any other conditions.

Chispita went in for surgery just over a week ago. Luck was on her side because the shunt was confirmed and repaired. Chispita is now in recovery, and though she needs to remain on cage rest with minimal activity for several weeks, she is doing well. Eventually, she’ll be ready for adoption and a loving, new family.

We are so grateful to have Sierra Veterinary Specialists on our side, as well as you, for supporting our lifesaving mission and allowing us to create a better future for Chispita.


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