Top 10 Pet Health Issues Seen by FACE and our Veterinary Partners

We are often asked about the kinds of pet health emergencies that are seen by our veterinary partners and referred to FACE, so that we may help qualified pet owners pay for life-saving veterinary treatments for their companion animals.  There are many common pet injuries and illnesses that we and our partners see on a monthly or even weekly basis.  Here’s a list of the top pet health issues helped by FACE grants.  Be sure to check out our website for more detailed information on each medical condition!

  1. Fractures

Broken bones are a very common pet injury that we see on an almost weekly basis.  Fractures of a dog or cat’s long bones are like human arm or leg fractures.  Some young or small pets can even sustain fractures from a jump off a couch or bed.  The most common signs of fractures are lameness, as well as pain and swelling at the injury site.  Be sure to get your pet to the vet as soon as possible.  Falls from high places (or being hit by a car) can cause serious, life-threatening internal injuries besides broken bones, like internal bleeding and ruptured organs, so quick diagnosis and treatment are critical.

  1. Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Most commonly seen in dogs, especially Dachshunds and other breeds with similar body types, IVDD occurs when the cushions between your dog’s spinal bones swell or rupture.  This can damage the spinal cord and lead to lameness, loss of sensation, incontinence, and even paralysis.  Mild IVDD can be treated with non-invasive measures, but a serious case requires surgery to decompress the spine.  Sadly, vets may often recommend euthanasia if a ruptured disc is left untreated.

  1. Foreign Body Obstructions

Dogs, cats, and other pets will often get into mischief and eat things they shouldn’t.  A gastrointestinal obstruction occurs when the object is not vomited up or passed through the intestinal tract.  Many common household items can cause an obstruction:  toy pieces, strings, rubber bands, coins, pieces of bone, etc.  An object stuck in the upper GI tract can be removed via endoscopy, but many stomach and intestinal obstructions require surgery.  Untreated obstructions can be fatal.

  1. Urinary Obstructions

A very common veterinary emergency, often seen in male cats, urinary obstructions occur when crystals or mucus form in the kidneys and enter the bladder and urethra.  Mild obstructions can cause your cat discomfort and distress, but complete obstructions (and the inability to pass any urine) cause deadly toxins to build up in your cat’s body, leading to death if left untreated.  Your cat’s urinary system will need to be flushed.  Chronic obstructions often require surgery.  Your vet will talk to you about dietary changes to prevent the formation of crystals in the future.

  1. Pyometra

Besides leading to unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, leaving your female dog or cat unspayed can also lead to a life-threatening medical condition called pyometra.  It is a bacterial infection of the uterus, occurring in one quarter of unspayed female pets.  Signs include lethargy, vaginal discharge, and anorexia.  A seriously infected uterus can be fatal, and the recommended treatment for pyometra is removal of the uterus and ovaries.

  1. Rattlesnake Bites

Here in San Diego, rattlesnake bites are a fairly common pet emergency that can happen year-round because of the warm climate.  Dogs are 20 times more likely to be bitten by a snake than us humans, mostly due to their inquisitive nature when they are exploring the great outdoors.  A bite from a venomous snake can be fatal to your pet, and immediate treatment with antivenom is crucial.  Your pet will also require additional treatment for pain, infection, and inflammation.

  1. Emergency C-Sections

Emergency Caesarian sections are sometimes required if your pet is experiencing distress during the birthing process.  Certain dog breeds with large head/small body size (like some bulldogs and terriers) can be especially vulnerable to problems.  It is critical to bring your dog to the vet as soon as possible if she is experiencing intense contractions with no sign of puppies.

  1. Enucleations

Enucleation is the removal of an eye due to an injury or illness that causes your dog or cat discomfort.  In pets, enucleation is often the best solution to relieve pain.  Conditions that may require removal of the eye include glaucoma, cancer, severe infection, and trauma.   Your vet will perform the operation to remove the eye under anesthesia, stitching the skin closed when done.

  1. Laceration Repairs

A laceration is a cut or tear in the skin, with severe lacerations often involving blood loss and damage to underlying structures like muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves.  Surgery under general anesthesia is often required to repair significant lacerations.  Lacerations should be treated as soon as possible to avoid infection of the wound.

  1. Severe Dental Work

Rounding out the list of the most common pet health issues we assist with is a relatively new addition…severe dental work.  Serious periodontal disease in dogs, cats, and other pets can lead to life-threatening health conditions.  Left untreated, diseased teeth and gums can lead to loss of tissue and bone in the mouth and the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, leading to bone infection and organ damage.  Talk to your vet about prevention strategies like home tooth brushing.

 

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San Diego Union Tribune Profiles FACE Success Story Cece the Cat

Meet Cece, a beautiful Siamese cat who escaped from home a few months back.  Cece was struck by a car and suffered a fractured back.  The surgery to save her life was more than her family could afford, but they applied for a FACE grant and Cece was able to have her surgery.  We’re happy to report she’s doing great now!  Check out this VIDEO about Cece and her family on the San Diego Union Tribune website.

FACE co-founder Dr. Keith Richter with his pups Mr. Piggy and Bloopus

Accompanying the video is an ARTICLE about Cece and the work that we do to save pets in need of critical veterinary care in the San Diego area.  With the cost of diagnostic services and specialty treatments for unexpected pet illnesses and injuries often running thousands of dollars, FACE provides hope for pet owners faced with the sad reality of economic euthanasia.

Thank you San Diego Union Tribune, for the wonderful profile of Cece and FACE!

 

FACE Grants Help Service Dogs in Need of Critical Veterinary Care

Recently FACE received a wonderful thank you letter from a truly special grantee.  Meet Kenneth and his service dog Sampson.  FACE provides financial assistance for emergency veterinary care to qualified pet owners…and some of these pets happen to be service dogs like Sampson!  Ken receives life-saving support from Sampson.  Ken has multiple health challenges, and Sampson provides comfort and assistance on many levels.  Not only is Sampson a diabetic alert dog, he also helps Ken get around in his motorized wheel chair and provides emotional support too.  Ken is hard of hearing and taught Sampson American Sign Language, so Sampson alerts Ken to the phone and doorbell as well.

Meet a few more FACE success stories who also happen to be very special assistance animals like Sampson!

Bella Amia is a registered service dog for her disabled owner.  Bella developed a cancerous tumor and the cost of surgery was more than her owner could afford on a fixed income.  FACE stepped in to help Bella…thanks to generous pet cancer grant funding from the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo.

Pete provides emotional support to a young girl who has cerebral palsy.  After he broke his leg, Pete’s owner, a single mom, needed some financial assistance for his surgery.  With a FACE grant, Pete was able to get his surgery, much to the relief of his loving family.

Rascull is an emotional support dog for a disabled senior who struggles with some mental health issues.  Rascull swallowed something he shouldn’t have and needed surgery his owner couldn’t afford.  Knowing how important Rascull was to his mom, his vet called FACE and we were able to provide assistance to save his life.

 

“Words of Thanks” Video on FACE YouTube Channel

Hey, did you know that the FACE Foundation has its own YouTube channel?  We get so many wonderful letters from the families of pets saved with the help of FACE grants that we decided to make a video to share some of their kind words.  Hope you enjoy this heartwarming video as much as we do!

 

Proposed Legislation Gives Hope to CA Pet Owners Facing Large Vet Bills

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Here’s some good news for California pet parents…a bill introduced by State Assemblyperson Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) seeks to provide assistance to pet owners seeking help for large veterinary expenses. The proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 942, would provide for an income tax credit that would let California pet owners write off half of the money spent on veterinary care, up to $2,000 per year.

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According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, this tax credit would be for dog and cat owners only, and would cover expenses like vaccinations, check-ups, surgery, X-rays, and prescriptions.

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Mathis was inspired to introduce this bill based on the sad fact that pet owners sometimes have to euthanize a seriously sick or injured animal because they cannot afford treatment. The FACE Foundation was founded to end the tragedy of economic euthanasia by providing financial assistance to qualified pet owners for life-saving veterinary care.

We applaud the effort by Assemblyperson Mathis to help end economic euthanasia across California. As he says, “It helps everyone across the state, every family and every pet lover out there.” We couldn’t agree more!