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about lou lou
Meet SEPR Lou Lou, a sweet girl with a gold heart and a happy, shining personality that refuses to be dulled.
She found herself in a small town shelter that was underfunded and understaffed after her family had made the difficult decision to relinquish ownership. Lou Lou, her mother, SEPR Journey and companion SEPR Kiefer, sat in that shelter for over a year. During that time, she dwindled to a skeleton starved for food 20 lbs underweight, covered in pressure sores and stains from sitting in her urine on the cold concrete. We wasted no time getting her medical attention. It was quickly determined that Lou Lou had a massive obstruction in her stomach that needed to be removed; she had to gain weight before it could be safely removed. Once she gained enough weight, exploratory surgery was performed to remove the significant obstruction, which turned out to be numerous heavy-duty plastic pieces like PVC. She had been eating anything she could find to fill her aching stomach.
Lou Lou quickly recovered from surgery; she began putting on some much-needed muscle mass with the help of a stable quality diet and regular physical activity. Once she was fully healed, we tackled the next medical hurdle, an unknown condition causing some mobility and muscle control issues.
Lou Lou was taken to VCA neurology clinic for evaluation, where we discovered that she was born with a genetic abnormality called Syringohydromyelia. This congenital disability is characterized by multiple cyst-like spaces inside the spinal cord that collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). As the cyst-like areas collect CSF they enlarge and compress the spinal cord, which leads to loss of function. The cyst-like spaces are pressing on her spinal cord, leading to an inability to control the muscles in her lower body completely. This causes slight mobility issues, making stairs tricky, and jumping on furniture or the bed can be difficult. The condition also affects the muscles around her bladder; because she is not able to fully control those muscles, she has trouble fully emptying her bladder, which causes her reoccurring UTI’s.
After working with a neurologist and obtaining an MRI, Lou Lou is on a treatment plan that includes daily Omperazole and a Prednisone regimen. Another aspect of her genetic abnormalities is that a large portion of her lumbar muscles are absent and have been replaced by fat, affecting how her lower body moves. Without those muscles for normal movement, she swings the lower part of her body back and forth, giving her a unique walk. The medications will slow the production of CSF, which will help reduce the size of the cyst-like spaces. She will need to be on these medications for the rest of her life, but so far, her mobility has improved. Because of the lack of lumbar muscles she can’t always walk super long distances, but she does enjoy a 1-mile walk two to three times a week. She can also jump on the couch by herself now, although there are times when her lower body is tired on higher activity days and she doesn’t quite make it on the sofa but is entirely comfortable being lifted. She even has a handy lift assist harness to help. We are still working on figuring out her reoccurring UTI’s, but don’t worry Lou Lou does her best to avoid accidents. She might only have an accident if it’s 10 to 12 hours between potty breaks, like being crated during long work hours or sleeping in; most days, she has no accidents at all.
Lou Lou has seen more than her share of bad luck, but she doesn’t let any of it get her down. She always has a smile on her face; even if she just fell getting on the couch, she is happy doing it. She has never seen a person she hasn’t wanted to meet. As much as she was starved for food, she was starved for attention more; all she wants is to be close to you. Her happy attitude doesn’t stop with people; she also extends it to her canine siblings. Lou Lou happily coexists with three other dogs; because of her mobility, playtime is constantly monitored closely since the other dogs move better than her. However, she is also completely content to play by herself with her toys.
Even after experiencing disabling conditions, isolation, starvation, and invasive surgery, Lou Lou refuses to be held back. Her bright, happy personality is always shining through, her tail is always wagging, and all she wants in life is love. A shining example of the resilience of the breed.
Everyone who meets Lou Lou immediately falls in love with her; we are sure she will make some family very lucky. Be sure to check back for updates as her journey continues.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION TO LOU LOU'S FOSTER FAMILY FOR THEIR TIME AND DONATIONS:
Mike & BJ