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Archive for May, 2014

This unique, special dog has been part of our family since November. It’s obvious something is wrong with her but our veterinarians were all perplexed. We’d resigned ourselves to simply knowing she was born with deformities. Despite them she is thriving!

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In the past few weeks we’ve found what it is she has. Mucopolysaccharidosis VI (MPS-VI) is extremely rare. It afflicts humans and a few known dog breeds. Most dogs do not survive. They are euthanized early on due to pain. * Grimmy has shown no pain in the 6 months we’ve had her. *

In MPS VI certain large sugars (polysaccharides) of the body are not properly broken down. In MPS VI, the deficient enzyme is arlysulfatase B, which is responsible for degrading dermatin sulfate. MPS VI is autosomal recessively inherited and has been seen in cats, humans, and more recently in dogs (including the Miniature Pinscher).

MPS VI results in skeletal deformaties, including defects to the sternum, vertibrae, and particularly the hip joints.  To various degrees, they may also experience corneal cloudiness and facial dysmorphia.

Diagnosis is done through a blood test done by PennGen.  At this time, there is no effective treatment for this disease.

This is an excellent site for more information: MPS-VI in Miniature Pinschers.

Once we were certain MPS-VI is what Grimmy has our thought was to reach out to the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Let’s have her tested. After a long talk with her wonderful vet, Dr. Beth from The Animal Hospital of Lake Mary it was decided our money would be better spent toward an echocardiogram. Potential heart defects are clearly on the horizon. Dr. Beth has clinically diagnosed her with MPS-VI. Her x-ray speaks volumes. Back in November her blood work indicated organ issues along with severe anemia. Through love and proper nutrition we’ve been able to improve those lab results. Now in May she’s only slightly anemic and her organs are functioning normally! If we knew where she came from (other than being found stray in Sanford) then testing would be essential. Stopping the breeding of dogs who carry this gene is crucial to the well-being of all Miniature Pinschers.

You see the malformed spine, displaced trachea and jumbled sternum.

You see the malformed spine, displaced trachea and jumbled sternum.

Grimmy & Dr. Beth

Grimmy & Dr. Beth

Our original plan when we brought her home was to give her the best quality of life possible. That has not changed with our new information. The fact she has improved is amazing! Now we know about this disease we are taking necessary steps to keep her comfortable for as long as possible. She has a great life! She sleeps in bed under the covers between Scottie and me every night. She loves lounging in the sun. She is a professional bone chewer. Grimmy has an extensive wardrobe. She decided early on she didn’t want special treatment. I tried to keep her safely in a crate when we were gone. She was having none of that. She wanted to be a dog like everyone else. Grimmy somehow knows where every comfy dog bed is, though she cannot see. She chases the cats. She “protects” me from my Blue Heeler when we’re on the bed! She is a hoot. We adore her.

Grimmy in one of her many outfits.

Grimmy in one of her many outfits.

Grimmy has her own Facebook page. We hope to inspire and educate.

Go to: https://www.facebook.com/GrimmyLivingwithMPSVI

 

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Sam was only three years old when he was headed for a horrific fate. The cowboys who’d bought him to actually work cows gave up on him when his training wasn’t coming along like they wanted. As is often the case in the horse world, the horse was sent to auction. On this particular day a group of ladies were in attendance who had only one thing on their minds. (Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue) Saving horses from going to the kill buyers. The kill buyers who buy to sell to the slaughter houses don’t want the old and infirm as we are led to believe. They want horses like Sam. A young, healthy muscular horse who’s had some training so he’s easier to handle.

That happened to be Sams’ lucky day. One of the ladies had been asked by Gayle to save a brown horse. She was giving herself a birthday present by honoring her long-lost horse from her youth. Her intention was simply to pay for his refuge from the horrors of slaughter. Fate had other ideas. Once in the custody of the rescue, Gayle went to visit the horse she’d help to rescue. He made it abundantly clear he intended to live with her! So that’s what happened. Sam has been a major part of Gayle’s life for the past six years.

Sam & Gayle

Sam & Gayle

There have been many ups and downs on their road to partnership, trust and respect. Fear makes all of us, human and horse, do stupid things. They’ve overcome every obstacle and naysayer. Gayle and I became friends the weekend we both brought our terrified horses to live at the same boarding stable. We’ve all been through a lot. I can say I’m extremely proud of both of them. What I’m most proud of is watching Sam show us his true destiny.

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These are Gayle’s granddaughters. They help take care of Sam. The greatest thing is, Sam understands he’s to take care of them. He will be a huge part of their lives for the rest of his life. Girls who grow up with horses have such a special advantage to those that don’t. They learn confidence, empathy, responsibility. Little girls learn how not to get stepped on or pushed around. Think about that for a minute… If a thousand pound horse can’t do it, do you think they’ll let some teenage boy do it?! They learn just how capable they really are. They learn an incomparable love.

His little girls.

His little girls.

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They are family. They bring one another joy. There are many more Sams out there. Waiting. All it takes is the right person at the right time. I believe there are no unwanted horses – as proponents of horse slaughter want us to believe – there are horses who need to find their destiny. People need to take responsibility, rather than taking the easy way and easy buck out.

 

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