“When he first came to us, he couldn’t stand at all.”
As the large black Great Dane hopped around the small yard on three legs, veterinarian Dr. Amanda Brumley detailed the injuries Lou suffered a month and a half ago after being struck by a car in Mississippi.
She pointed out his healed lacerations and talked about his broken ribs, fractured pelvis and severely broken front left humerus.
“He was finally able about a week and a half ago to stand and go outside without crying,” Brumley said Tuesday afternoon.
Lou’s journey may have started with the heartlessness of his former owner, but it’s led him over hundreds of miles to the generosity and love of the staff at the Richmond Veterinary Clinic.
“He’s certainly worked his way into our hearts,” Brumley said.
Lou’s journey to Kentucky
In late October, Lou was struck by one, possibly two cars, in Greenville, Miss., according to Trista Perkins, director of the North Mississippi Great Dane rescue.
One of the drivers who struck Lou took him to a local veterinarian. The vet recognized the Great Dane and contacted the owner, letting him know his dog had been found and was seriously hurt.
The person denied owning the injured dog.
Perkins said neighbors in the area confirmed Lou’s ownership, but she believes his owner did not want to be liable for damage to the vehicle or be responsible for the dog’s veterinary bills.
Knowing that Lou needed major orthopedic surgery, Perkins turned to a former volunteer and Great Dane enthusiast who had just graduated from Auburn University’s veterinary school and moved to Kentucky – Brumley.
Brumley spoke with her boss, Dr. Michael Putnam, and he agreed to take in Lou and provide the care needed to save the dog’s leg at cost.
After paying the initial $2,000 vet bill in Mississippi, volunteers with the Great Dane rescue drove Lou more than 600 miles to Richmond, Perkins said.
“We knew he’d be in awesome hands,” she said.
Brumley largely credits Putnam’s expertise in repairing Lou’s leg during the lengthy surgery.
“We reduced, pinned and plated the humerus,” Brumley said. The break was close to the elbow joint, which made the work more difficult.
Right now plates keep Lou’s elbow immobile but as he heals, the plates will come off, and Brumley hopes he will regain a normal range of motion in the joint.
The next challenge was keeping the 14-month-old dog calm while the bone healed. A donated Memory Foam bed has helped keep Lou comfortable, and he has stayed at the clinic while recovering.
“(Great Danes) grow so fast, an injury like that is hard to keep from re-injuring,” Perkins said.
The vet clinic has tried to keep costs for treating Lou low to help the dog rescue, and the group also is not being charged a daily hospitalization fee, Brumley said.
X-rays show that Lou’s leg is healing nicely, according to Brumley.
However, a post-operative urinalysis incidentally revealed that Lou’s heart is heavily infested with heartworms.
“It was devastating” learning about the heartworms, Brumley said, especially since Lou’s original vet said he was heartworm negative.
Heartworm treatment can be hard on a dog’s system, she said. Lou started pretreatment on Nov. 11, and full treatment will start Monday.
During the six-week course of medication, Lou must be kept calm and largely inactive since there is a danger of fatal clots as the adult worms die and become dislodged from the heart muscle.
The clinic is hoping to find a foster home to keep Lou while he’s being treated for heartworms, and after that, a permanent home for him.
But for now, Lou is content to hang out with the vets and staff at the clinic and cuddle with the foster kittens, Brumley said.
She hopes they can figure out a way to include Lou on the clinic’s float Saturday in the Richmond Christmas parade.
Perkins said that although several people have failed Lou in the past, she knows he has a bright future.
“He’s a lovey, he’s just very outgoing,” Perkins said. “He’s the star of the clinic.”
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.