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Handle Every Stressful Situation Like A Dog If you Can't Eat It Or Play With It Just Pee On It And Walk Away - Unknown

 

 

Veterinary Care Assistance Grant Recipients

Photos and stories of the lives that Sam's Hope has impacted through its Veterinary Care Assistance Program.

2024

20 DogsEssential Pet Care to Local Seniors - Through our Pet Food Pantry/Food Pantry Assistance Program, Sam's Hope distributed 20 packs of flea and tick medication to financially disadvantaged senior citizens in our community.

These medications help prevent pets from contracting serious diseases spread by fleas and ticks. Fleas can cause itchy skin and tapeworm infections in pets, while ticks can transmit diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to both pets and humans.

By keeping pets free of fleas and ticks, Sam's Hope is helping to ensure the well-being of both pets and their owners.

 


Jake, a 16 Year Old Pug with CHFJake - Sam's Hope has been by Jake's side since his brave battle with heart problems began in early 2019. Jake, a sweet 16-year-old pup, relies on bi-annual cardiac exams and heart medications to manage his condition. Unfortunately, the rising costs of everyday essentials make it difficult for his mom to afford this vital care.

Thanks to Jake's wonderful sponsors, Bill M. and Kathleen M., Sam's Hope has been able to ensure Jake receives the medication and vet care he needs. This care has kept his heart issues stable for the past five years.

During Jake's recent visit, a new hurdle emerged. His heart murmur worsened to a Grade 5, and the coughing he's been experiencing was diagnosed as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). New medications and closer vet monitoring are needed to manage this condition and protect his kidneys, which can be affected by CHF medications.

Despite these challenges, Jake's spirit remains bright! He continues to bring smiles and joy to his mom's life. We hope these new medications will extend his happy and healthy years as her devoted companion.

*****

About Congestive Heart Failure (CHF):

CHF occurs when the heart struggles to pump blood efficiently. This can be caused by severe heart problems or complications from heart disease. CHF can impact a dog's daily activities and lifespan, but it can be managed with proper treatment. While more common in middle-aged and older dogs, CHF can affect any dog regardless of breed, sex, or age.

 


Carmen, an 11 Year Old Shih TzuCarmen - It was time for Carmen's yearly checkup! Despite her Cushing's diagnosis a few years back, she's been a trooper - no concerning symptoms at all. Her luxating patella acts up sometimes, but those daily walks never stop!

Today's visit included a thorough exam, blood work, and (let's be honest) Carmen's favorite - the anal gland expression! Everything seems great - even her teeth! Brushing them a few times a week with Mom clearly pays off, as she only has minor plaque buildup.

Fingers crossed, the blood work confirms a clean bill of health. Then, Carmen and her amazing mom can keep living their happy life together!

 


Lucy, a 12 Year Old YorkieLucy - During her checkup last week, Lucy needed some dental work and the vet discovered a small lump (epulis) in her mouth. They decided to remove it during the same procedure this week. Luckily, the dental went smoothly and she kept all her teeth!

There was a bit of a surprise, though. The lump was deeper than initially thought. The good news? It's benign and unlikely to come back!

Lucy was understandably a little out of it when her mom picked her up, but we know she's in the best hands. With some TLC from Mom, she'll be back to her happy self in no time!
See you next year, Lucy!

 


Lucy, a 12 Year Old YorkieLucy - Here’s Lucy!  AKA known as Lucifer (this was the name on the card at the adoption center); and why she was known as Lucifer baffles me, as she is just the sweetest little girl, and our vet and his wife both agree!

Lucy is a sweet 12 year old Yorkie; she was adopted by her mom, (a disabled senior citizen) from the shelter about 10 years ago.  We’ve known Lucy since that time; she comes for vet care once a year, and receives pet food and supplies via our Meals for the Pets of the Homebound and Elderly program.

It was time for Lucy’s yearly wellness visit; she has always been a super healthy girl.  But we became concerned when mom contacted us the day after Easter to let us know she found a lump in Lucy’s mouth.  Mom was very upset and concerned; I told her that Lucy would be seen today, April 3rd, and that we would have that looked at.

Today Lucy had her exam, vaccinations, nail clip and blood work.  Blood work was all clean!  So happy to hear that!  The lump on her gums; an Epulis which our vet believes is benign, and it will be removed during her dental cleaning next week!

*****

A benign oral mass may be as simple as a small bump on the gum tissue or it may be larger, displacing teeth or resulting in the destruction of the underlying bone. Along with a proper diagnosis, the size and location in the oral cavity are vital to surgical planning. When complete surgical excision of these growths is possible, the recurrence rate is extremely low and considered curative.

 


Grace, a 10 Year Old JRT/PapillonGrace - Meet Grace, a super-precious 10 year old Jack Russell/Papillon mix, who is the love of her mom’s life.

In February, Grace’s mom, a disabled senior on a fixed income, contacted us for help with a dental cleaning and possible extractions, as Grace was recently diagnosed with Grade 3 dental disease; pockets of bacteria and debris have accumulated to form further pockets of infection along the teeth. The infection has destroyed tissues around the teeth that hold them in place, and some have become loose. The gums appear bright red and bleed freely.

Today, April 3rd, was the big day for Grace’s dental surgery.  Though we haven’t heard from her mom yet; the veterinarian’s office assured us that all went well for Grace and that she will be returning to her mom later today.

*****

Dental health is just as important for dogs as it is for humans.  Failing to have your dog’s teeth cleaned can open up your pet to many health issues. Periodontal, or tooth disease, can affect up to one in three dogs before they reach the age of three. Dental disease can wreak havoc on your dog’s body in the form of tooth root abscesses, oral pain, or even blood infections that can spread to other parts of their body like the heart or liver.

 


Stella, and 11 Year Old Cat with IBDStella - In January, 11 year-old Stella was, once again, feeling unwell.  Her dad applied for financial help for her visit so that she could have blood work and hopefully get her diagnosed and treated for whatever seems to be going on with her; frequent GI upsets!

Since January, she has been treated for IBD with medications and a prescription diet.  Her dad wrote us to say,

“I’m happy to say Ms. Stella continues to improve with the medications and food. I use pill pockets, treats and trickery.”

Which is just music to our ears!

This month, we helped Stella and Bob out with a case of prescription digestive food; which is quite expensive.  We hope with the medication and special food that Stella continues to be well and provide companionship to her dad, Bob.

 


Garfield, a 6 Year Old Orange KittyGarfield - “The sweetest cat we’ve ever had come through our doors,” proclaimed our veterinarian who has been practicing for over 50 years!

This morning, our friend and volunteer Ellen picked up Garfield, a 6 year old orange kitty, from his home in NE Philly, where he lives with his mom who is homebound and disabled.  During the whole trip to our vet’s office, not a peep from Garfield.  Which is not the norm; generally they cry and hiss and aren’t so happy.  Garfield was different from the very beginning until the end when he returned home.

Garfield has been experiencing mouth/dental problems.  His vet suggested a dental.  Living on a small fixed income, this was something his mom could not afford.  We don’t know how she found us, but found us she did, and after the application process, we were able to get Garfield to our vet for an assessment.

First thing, our vet ran blood work to ensure that everything else was ok; Garfield’s glucose was a bit high, but other than that, all was good.

Garfield had a substantial amount of inflammation in his mouth; but all in all, his teeth looked good and could wait for a dental.  Because of the elevated glucose, our vet did not want to prescribe steroids as they can affect glucose levels negatively.  Instead, Garfield was prescribed Clindamycin. 

Though Garfield has been eating well (he eats dry food only), the vet recommended that he eat wet food, which is best for stomatitis and the elevated glucose levels.

Mom is tasked with giving Garfield his meds, twice a day.  We will check in with her in a week or so to see how he is progressing.  She will switch him to a wet food diet; we are sending out an application to her for help with the cost of the wet food, which is considerably more expensive than the dry.
Once things settle down, we will schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning.

*****

Stomatitis is a more severe form of oral inflammation than gingivitis, involving more than just the gingiva. Stomatitis is often very painful, causing a decreased appetite or difficulty eating. Weight loss may occur. Often it will be too painful for the cat to self-groom, causing the haircoat to appear unkempt.

Source - https://vcahospitals.com/

 


Rocky, a 2 Year Old Cat with Urinary ObstructionRocky - Two-year-old Rocky's world turned upside down on February 13th. A urinary obstruction left him unable to urinate, leading to vomiting and a desperate race against time. Surgery was essential, but Rocky's family faced a heart-wrenching choice: afford the life-saving procedure or say goodbye.

That's where hope stepped in. On the 15th, Rocky's mom reached out for assistance, and her application landed on our desks. Even though it wasn't a normal review day, the urgency of Rocky's situation couldn't be ignored. We knew time was precious.

On February 16th, Rocky underwent successful Perineal Urethrostomy surgery. This procedure creates a new opening, bypassing the blockage and reducing the chance of future obstructions. By evening, Rocky was breathing a sigh of relief, thanks to the care he desperately needed.

While recovery takes time, Rocky's journey offers a powerful message. When faced with impossible odds, a helping hand and quick action can turn despair into hope. As of February 17th, Rocky's still recovering, but his future looks bright.

With continued care and time, we hope to see his playful spirit return.

*****

Male cats can easily develop obstruction of the urethra which is the tube draining urine from the bladder out of the penis.  

Obstructions are often the result of plugs of inflammatory material, mucus, crystals,  small stones (called calculi) that have formed in the kidneys and have passed down into the bladder. 

The cause of the inflammatory materials and stone formation is not well understood, though viral infections and diet may play a role. 

Other causes are reported such as cancer, previous injury causing scarring, and trauma are also reported. Early neutering of cats does not cause reduction of urethral size as in some other species.

Source - https://www.acvs.org/

 


StormyStormy - It was time for 6 year old Stormy’s annual check up and vaccinations; and what better day to get this taken care of; Valentine’s Day!

Our volunteer Ellen picked Stormy up from her home in NE Philly and brought her to our vet in Southampton.  Thank you, Ellen!

Stormy had her exam, vaccinations, blood work, and nail clip.  The vet recommended blood work because Stormy is morbidly obese.  Last year we put together a plan for her to lose weight (slowly), but unfortunately her mom did not follow through, which leaves Stormy at very high risk of diabetes and other problems.

During the exam the vet noted a very strong urine odor; and she was diagnosed with a severe UTI for which she was given medication.

They managed to get her nails clipped just in time, because a few minutes later she went from sweet purring kitty to growling kitty.

We relayed all of the information to her mom when she was returned home.  We are hopeful that mom will take heed and do something about the weight problem.  I can guarantee it is easier to reduce the cats caloric intake than give her injections of insulin.  Fingers crossed that everything works out.

*****
Obesity in cats leads to insulin resistance via multiple mechanisms, with each excess kilogram of body weight resulting in a 30% decline in insulin sensitivity. Obese, insulin-resistant cats with concurrent beta-cell dysfunction are at risk of progression to overt diabetes mellitus.

 


Stella, a 12 Year Old Cat with IBD and StomatitisStella - Stella, Stella; once again under the weatha (weather)! 

Since Stella was adopted by Bob in January 2023, it has been a merry-go-round with her.  One day she is happy, healthy, eating and sociable, and the next day she can be hiding, not eating and lethargic.  We have had her to the vet numerous times; she has had a dental, exams, medications, blood work and all appears to be well.

All of this appears to be happening on a “schedule”, meaning she will be well for 3 - 4 weeks, and then start again.  There is no rhyme or reason, not that we can figure out.

So, once again, Stella started not feeling well, all of the same symptoms, and again a trip to the vet, where she had an exam and bloodwork.  This time we got some answers; not from the bloodwork which was all perfect, but from another exam of her mouth.  It appears she has a sore mouth; stomatitis, and IBD, which is chronic inflammation of the GI tract.

Stella went home with a handful of medications; she loves pill pockets, so hopefully dad won’t have a problem getting the meds down her. 

Unfortunately, the prognosis for Stomatitis is poor; teeth affected by the disease need to be extracted; and medications will have to be continually administered by the pet parent.

The IBD; we are praying for a positive response to treatment, which will give Stella a good prognosis.

 


Ivy, A 12 Year Old SchnoodleIvy - 12 year old Ivy, a Schnauzer/Poodle Mix (Schnoodle?) was saved by her mom, Sharon, 9 years ago when a neighbor’s co-worker was going to surrender Ivy to PSPCA. 

Ivy hasn’t been right for quite a while now.  She started losing hair from the sides of her body, grew a pot belly, had increased thirst and urination, and fragile skin.  Ivy’s vet gave a preliminary diagnosis of Cushings, but testing needed to be done to confirm diagnosis prior to treatment. Along with the Cushings, Ivy was also suffering from severe dental disease.

Unfortunately, Ivy’s mom, a disabled senior on a fixed income could not afford to provide the extensive care that Ivy needed.  And that is when we stepped in to provide that care so that Ivy could live out the rest of her days in comfort with the mom she has known and loved for 9 years.

Getting Ivy to the vet was a team effort; our volunteer Cathy and her husband Jay headed into Philly early this morning to pick Ivy up and bring her to our vet.

And following her testing for Cushings, and a dental that resulted in 10 extractions, our volunteer Tony brought her back home to mom.  When Tony arrived at mom’s door with Ivy in the travel crate, mom could hear Ivy’s tail thumping the sides of the crate.  Poor girl, she probably couldn’t figure out why she was in the hands of all of these strangers, alone without her mom.

Ivy will be on antibiotics for the next 10 days, and tomorrow we should have the test results.  Our vet is convinced that Ivy has Cushings; which is going to result in daily medications (Vetoryl) and periodic retesting.

We think Ivy, though sore from her dental and extractions right now, will be feeling a whole lot better without the severely compromised teeth in her mouth.  And the best take-away here is that the systemic effects of dental disease have been greatly minimized.

*****
The bacteria found within the mouth of pets with dental disease are the same bacteria that are often implicated in heart disease. These bacteria are associated with both endocarditis (inflammation/infection of the interior of the heart) and valvular disease in dogs and cats. Additionally, the presence of periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease in dogs.

The liver and kidneys are especially susceptible to the effects of dental disease. Both organs function primarily to filter the blood, which allows bacteria from the oral cavity to easily spread to each of these organs. Infection and inflammation within the liver and kidneys can cause signs of systemic infection (such as fever, weight loss, and decreased appetite), while also interfering with the function of these organs.


Source - VCA Animal Hospitals

 


2023

Gabe, a 6 Year Old Norwich Terrier MixGabriel - 6 year old Gabe, a Norwich Terrier Mix, has been a bit “off” since Christmas.  Today (December 28th) he started off his day by refusing food, then later in the day when out for a walk, mom noticed that Gabe had blood in his urine.

Mom called us to let us know what was going on and asked if she could take him to our vet to be checked out.  Thankfully our vet had office hours and was able to see Gabe immediately!  That is always a great relief to us and the pet parents we help.

Gabe was examined, diagnosed with a UTI and prescribed antibiotics, which should start working in a few hours, and Gabe should start feeling better within a few days, which will ensure that he is feeling well to bring in the New Year!

*****

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a relatively common condition in dogs, especially in females. They can occur as isolated infections or they can be recurrent, particularly if a dog has underlying health conditions. Recognizing symptoms early is an important step toward making a diagnosis and starting treatment.

UTIs generally occur when bacteria enter the bladder from the external environment, evade the body's immune defenses and cause infection. E. coli is the most common bacteria identified in UTIs. 

Source - https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/riney-canine-health-center/health-info/urinary-tract-infections

 


Minnie, a 7 year old Cat with PyometraMinnie - 7 year old Minnie was ill for at least 2 weeks; she had a swollen abdomen, refused food and water, and basically existed curled up in a corner, staying as far away from her elderly mom as space permitted.

Minnie’s mom is a homebound senior that faces numerous challenges, both personal and those pertaining to having a pet.  Being homebound, she does not drive, so she was unable to take Minnie to the clinic for an exam, and then there is the financial aspect. 

Her mom finally found someone willing to give her a ride to the vet, where she got some pretty bad news.  Minnie had Pyometra, a serious and life-threatening infection in the uterus that must be treated quickly.  Unfortunately, Minnie’s mom did not have the funds available to have Minnie treated, so she took her back home and prepared herself for losing her beloved cat.

The next day, we received a call from Minnie’s treating veterinarian, who told us of the situation and asked if we could help cover some of the cost of the surgery.  We told her we could; provided that Minnie’s mom would complete an application and provide the needed documents.  The vet said she would get one of her assistants to help with that, and the next morning we had everything needed to proceed with a vet care assistance grant for Minnie.

Minnie was scheduled for emergency surgery the following  morning; one more day and she probably wouldn’t have made it.  But we are happy to say she did; though it was a rough go and she needed to stay in the hospital for two days to recover.

Upon her discharge, the vet assistant delivered Minnie to her mom where they had a joyful reunion.  We wish we could have witnessed it!

*****

Pyometra is a secondary infection due to hormonal changes in a female's reproductive tract. Following estrus (heat), progesterone levels remain elevated for several weeks, stimulating the uterine lining to thicken in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur for several estrus cycles, the lining increases in thickness until cysts form in the uterus. This condition is called cystic endometrial hyperplasia. The thickened cystic lining secretes fluids, creating an ideal environment where bacteria can grow.

The clinical signs depend on whether the cervix remains open. Purulent discharge will drain from the uterus through the vagina to the outside if it is open. This discharge may be observed on the skin or hair under the tail or on bedding and furniture where the cat has recently laid. Because cats are usually very concerned with cleanliness, the discharge is usually cleaned up before it can be seen. With an open pyometra, fever, lethargy, anorexia, and depression may or may not be present.

If the cervix is closed, the discharge that forms cannot drain to the outside. It collects in the uterus, causing distention of the abdomen. The bacteria release toxins that are absorbed into the circulation. Cats with closed pyometra become severely ill very rapidly. They are anorectic (will not eat), listless, and depressed. Vomiting or diarrhea may also be present.

Toxins released by the bacteria affect the kidney's ability to retain fluid. Increased urine production occurs, and the cat drinks large amounts of water to compensate. This occurs in both open- and closed-cervix pyometra. - VCA Hospitals - https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/pyometra-in-cats

How to prevent Pyometra - EASY!  Spay your pets!!

 

StellaStella - Sam’s Hope provided a three month supply of prescription food to Stella and her dad. 

Stella suffers from bouts of digestive issues; hopefully this new food will help solve her problems. 

 

 


 

 


CarmenCarmen - Sam’s Hope provided a three month supply of Gastrointestinal prescription food to Carmen and her mom. 

Carmen suffers from digestive issues, and this prescription food solves all of her problems. 

 

 

 

 

 


RomeoRomeo - Sam’s Hope provided a three month supply of low-fat, GI prescription food to Romeo and his mom.  Romeo suffers from bouts of pancreatitis; this prescription food has helped Romeo so much, and he hasn’t had an issue since he started eating it. 

The best part is, he loves it!. 

 

 

 

 


Stella - an 11 Year Old CatStella - It was time for Ms. Stella’s yearly wellness visit to the vet for an exam and vaccinations. 

11 year old Stella continues to perplex all of us with her on again/off again eating and bathroom habits; but she is doing well and in good health.

During her visit, she was also treated to a shave; Stella has a lot of matting, and now it is gone.  Not the most glamorous haircut, but effective in getting rid of the mats!

See you at pet food delivery time, Stella and Bob!!

 


Toto, a 10 Year Old YorkieToto - In August 2023, Toto’s dad, Rob, came to us for help with Toto’s yearly checkup, vaccinations, and to check out a cough that was getting worse.  Toto’s vet suspected mitral insufficiency, but needed to do testing in order to make a diagnosis.  Bloodwork, x-rays and ultrasound were recommended.  Unfortunately, Rob, who is being treated for multiple myeloma and unable to work, was not in a financial position to afford the testing for his beloved Toto. 

We suggested he re-apply for help from Sam’s Hope, and if approved, he would have to bring his dog to our veterinarian for testing and treatment.

On October 5, 2023, Rob and Toto made the one-hour trip from their home to our veterinarian.  Toto had an exam, blood work, x-rays, and 4DX test.

To our surprise, Toto’s problem was not as his previous vet suspected, but instead it is heartworm, which might be the reason for the coughing.  Or it could be the very tight collar he was wearing that was making him cough when he pulled on his leash. The x-rays indicated, thankfully, that he did not have a collapsing trachea, but that certainly could become an issue in the future if the collar issue isn’t corrected.

Our vet’s wife so kindly gave Toto a larger, adjustable collar until dad gets him a new harness and leash.  We stressed the importance of this, and Rob promised to go out the following day to get him what he needed.

Blood work was all normal; always happy to see that, especially in an older dog.  But a flea problem was discovered.

Toto went home with medication for heartworm and fleas; a strong recommendation for a harness, and a plan to work with him via email on getting Toto’s weight under control.  He weighed in at a hefty 20 lbs. (he is not a small Yorkie), but he is not supposed to be 20 lbs.!  I estimate that 5 lb. weight loss should get him where he belongs.

After all of these issues are resolved, we will have him back for a dental to take care of the periodontal/calculus issues; that will probably happen early 2024.

Many thanks to Janice S. for her financial support; and helping us get Toto back to good health

 


Whisper, an 11 Year Old TortieWhisper - 11 year old Whisper was long overdue for her yearly wellness visit due to the pandemic and her mom being homebound.  We made an appointment for her in January, but mom couldn’t find transportation to get her to the vet.  Thanks to our volunteer Ellen, who picked Whisper up and brought her to our vet, then back home again, Whisper finally made it in to see our vet.

Whisper had an exam, vaccinations, skin check, senior blood work and had her nails cut.  For an 11 year old cat, she is in good shape, except for a few things; her teeth are in dire need of a cleaning and perhaps a few extractions, and her thyroid levels are a bit high, but not enough to medicate.

Early in 2024, we will schedule Whisper for a recheck and dental cleaning.  In the meantime, we told mom to keep an eye on her and let us know.if she begins to lose weight while having an increased appetite.  This is the most common sign of hyperthyroidism in cats.

Whisper’s Back Story:
In April of 2020, Eleanore lost her beloved cat of 15 years, a giant (25 lb.) tuxedo fittingly named Leo.  She was heartbroken; so much so, that she decided she would have no more pets.

Eleanore, a homebound senior, started to feel the loneliness during the summer, as the pandemic had her isolated.  In August she reached out to us to see if we would help her with the home-delivered pet food and supplies if she decided to adopt another pet.  We said we would.

A few months passed, and we reached out to her to see if she had, in fact, adopted.  The answer was no, and she asked for our help in adopting a cat.  We assisted with the application process and worked with the rescue to make this happen.

On November 7th, the rescue delivered Whisper to Eleanore, and a few days prior, we  delivered everything she might need for her new friend; bed, litterbox, scoop, carrier, scratching posts, toys, food, litter, etc.  From what we are hearing, Eleanore is in love with her tiny cat (all of 6 lbs.) and Whisper is settling right into her new home.

Today our wonderful volunteer, Pat Vertlieb, along with four-legged volunteer, Spike, picked up Whisper from her home and transported her to our vet’s office for a wellness visit.  She had blood work, urinalysis, flea check, skin check (flea allergy dermatitis, but thankfully NO FLEAS), and her nails clipped. 

With a clean bill of health in hand, (was so happy with the good news), Pat and Spiker whisked Whisper home to her mom who was anxiously awaiting her arrival. 

 


Bella - a 17 Year Old CockaPoo - Rest in Peace Dear GirlBella - Bella, who turned 17 years old a few weeks ago; has had her share of ups and downs over the past 5 years that we have known her.  But with lots of love and care from her mom, no obstacle was too large. 

Sadly, the last 72 hours have been quite a struggle for Bella; she wasn’t eating, and what she did eat, she vomited.  When we saw her at the vet, she was so thin and; walked so slowly; not the Bella we knew and loved.

Blood work indicated that she was in kidney failure, and her mom had to make that very difficult and heartbreaking decision.

Rest in Peace, Bella.  Your mom will hold you forever in her heart and memories, and so will I.

Bella’s Back Story:
In April 2018, a happy, healthy 15 lb. Bella, unzipped her mom’s handbag, which was on the kitchen counter, and ate 25 - 32 pieces of chewing gum, which contained Xylitol.  She was hospitalized and treated, and miraculously survived.

She seemed to make a full recovery; she was happy, playful and eating well, but for some reason she was losing weight, even on her current diet of 3 cups of dry puppy food per day, (recommended by Bella’s vet) which contains an amazing amount of calories and fat.  Add to that, every time she ate, she had to poop….and her poop wasn’t quite right either.  It was mushy, and had a strange color and texture.  Her vet also prescribed probiotics, which didn’t help at all...and she continues to lose weight.

Bella’s mom contacted us after Bella’s hospital stay for assistance with blood monitoring after her hospital stay, and earlier this week, telling us that she was nothing but skin and bones despite the huge amounts of food she was eating.

We asked mom if she would be willing to bring Bella to our partner vet, who was quite a distance away, and she agreed.

After reviewing Bella’s labs from May, and seeing her condition, he believes that Bella has EPI, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.  More blood was drawn, we will have the results on Monday, and see if they confirm his suspicions.  In the meantime, Bella was prescribed enzyme replacement therapy which will help Bella digest fats, proteins and sugars.

All of this, compliments of Xylitol, a sweet-tasting crystalline alcohol derived from xylose, used as an artificial sweetener in foods. 

PLEASE KEEP ALL FOOD ITEMS MADE WITH XYLITOL AWAY FROM YOUR PETS - Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.

 


Toto, a 10 Year Old YorkieToto - 10 year old Toto, a Yorkie, came to us for help with his yearly vet visit for exam and vaccinations, as well as a cough that was causing his dad a quite a bit of concern.  It concerned us also, and we urged dad to make that vet appointment ASAP to have Toto seen and the cough diagnosed.

Toto had his exam, vaccinations and was diagnosed with Mitral Insufficiency; heart problems.
Further testing is needed to determine exactly what is going on and the treatment plan.  Toto will need senior blood work, chest x-rays, and possibly an ultrasound. 

He was also diagnosed with periodontal disease and desperately needs a dental and possible extractions.

Please consider a donation to help Toto get the testing and treatment he desperately needs; thank you!

 


Romeo, a 10 Year Old PomeranianRomeo - Romeo, a 10 year old Pomeranian, was seen by our partner vet in late June 2023 for persistent coughing and labored breathing when walking. 

He was diagnosed with early heart disease and put on medications.  He is doing very well, no longer huffing and puffing and no coughing.


Today we provided 2 months of heart meds to Romeo and his mom; which is a big help to them as Romeo is also on prescription food for another health issue; chronic Pancreatitis.

We hope and pray Romeo continues to do well, and can stay with his mom Carol for many more happy years together!

 


Harley, a 10 Year Old Golden RetrieverHarley - We helped Harley celebrate his 10th birthday with a visit to the vet!  Needless to say, he was not impressed with our efforts; however it was a very important gift for his health and well-being.

Harley had a cardiac exam, blood work to ensure all was well with his kidneys, and refills of his heart medications.

We are happy to say that Harley is doing very well, kidney function is great, and his ticker sounds good!

Along with vet care, Harley went home with a 2 month supply of dry and wet dog food, and a huge box of treats.  He said the box of treats was the best part of his day!

 


Jake, a 15 Year Old Pug with Cardiac ProblemsJake - Sam’s Hope has been providing medical assistance and home-delivered food and supplies to 15 year old Jake since he was diagnosed with cardiac problems in early 2019.

We help with his bi-annual cardiac exams and refill his heart medications when mom isn’t able to afford them, which seems to be more and more these days due to the current economic climate and the fact she is a senior on a fixed income. 

Jake and his mom, Kim, were awarded a veterinary care assistance grant for a cardiac exam and refills of all of his heart meds for 3 months. 

We are always happy to help out when needed and can do so thanks to Jake’s sponsors, Bill M. and Kathleen M., who donate monthly to his care.

Jake continues to do well, and his mom is taking such good care of him!  She feeds him all of the right stuff, watches his weight and makes sure every little pill makes it down his throat.

 


Romeo, a 10 Year Old PomeranianRomeo - 10 year old Romeo, the beloved dog of our senior client Carol, had a bout of Pancreatitis about a month ago.  He was treated by a mobile veterinarian (Carol is homebound), put on prescription food and is doing well.

During the visit, mom expressed her concern over Romeo’s coughing and getting out of breath when he exerts himself.  The vet suggested it could be an enlarged heart, but never followed up with an offer of testing him to see what was going on.

After Romeo switched to prescription food, mom called us to let us know that Romeo would no longer be needing the food we deliver to her as he must stay on the prescription food for life.  That is when she told us about the coughing and breathlessness; and that is when we offered to get the issue looked at, diagnosed and treated.

Romeo was seen by our partner veterinarian for a cardiac exam and x-rays.  He indeed has an enlarged heart, both left and right side, but thankfully it is early in the disease.  Mom broke down in tears, as she thought for sure she was going to lose Romeo.

Romeo was prescribed the lowest dose medication; we will check in with mom in about a week to see if there is improvement; if not, the dose will be increased.

We are so happy Carol called us that day to let us know what was going on; otherwise it might have been a year before he saw the vet again, making his heart situation very different.

Early detection leads to prompt treatment, which in turn optimizes the time during which the pet can enjoy a healthier life.

Here is to a long and healthy life for Romeo!

 


20 Dogs Received Flea Tick Treatment20 Dogs - We distributed a three-pack of flea and tick medication to 20 dogs and their people who are receiving help through our Pet Food Assistance Program.

 

 

 

 

 


Charlie, A Beagle with CKDCharlie - 13 year old Charlie, the beloved best friend of Mimsi, has not been feeling right for some time now; and during the past week he got increasingly ill.  Mimsi is a senior on a fixed income who could not afford to take Charlie to the vet other than for his yearly exam and vaccinations. 

Charlie was not eating at all, had increased thirst and increased urination.  He was also very lethargic, not wanting to move from his bed.

Charlie was seen by our partner veterinarian for an exam, blood work and urinalysis and was diagnosed with advanced stage kidney failure.  He is being treated with medications and supplements to slow down the disease and induce appetite, as well as prescription food.

We are praying that mom can stick to the plan and Charlie can go on to enjoy a good quality of life.

 


Gabe, a Norwich Terrier MixGabe - Six year old Gabe was surrendered to Montco SPCA in the fall of 2022 when his dad became homeless. 

arol, who lost her sweet little Pekinese in the Summer of 2022, decided it was time to open her heart and home to a homeless little one, and adopted the charismatic Gabe in October 2022.

Gabe was neutered, and had all of his shots prior to leaving the shelter.  He didn’t seem to have any problems/medical issues…well, except for his teeth.

Every time he chewed on a dental bone, his mouth would bleed.  His mom has been diligent about brushing his teeth daily, and though she has made some progress, no toothbrush can remove the heavy plaque on his teeth.  Some of the teeth are black, and he is missing quite a few in the front.

Unfortunately, a dental cleaning just isn’t in her budget, as she is a senior living on a small fixed income, made even smaller by the current economic climate.

Today Gabe was seen by our veterinarian for an exam, dental exam and blood work.  The good news is he is in great health.  He weighed in at 11 lbs., a 4 lb. weight gain since his adoption, (Gabe was extremely thin when he was adopted by Carol).  And other than his teeth, there are no issues at all. 
Gabe will undergo dental surgery on Friday; and hopefully will be enjoying his dental bones in a few weeks.

Luv ya, Gabe…you are the sweetest little guy!

*****

Dental health is a very important part of your pet's overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet's teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of problems and to keep your pet's mouth healthy.

 


Lucy, a 10 Year Old YorkieLucy - Sam’s Hope has been providing medical assistance and pet food assistance to Lucy and her feline brother Charlie since 2016.  Now they will be receiving home-delivered pet food and supplies though our Meals for the Pets of the Homebound and Elderly Program.

Lucy missed her annual vet visit in 2022 due to her mom’s medical issues.  We finally got her in today for her yearly exam, core vaccinations and blood work; and right in time as her mom is going to be undergoing knee replacement surgery at the end of May.

Lucy is in good shape overall; except for the fact that she was diagnosed with hyperlipidemia today.  Hyperlipidemia is characterized by abnormally excessive amounts of fat, and/or fatty substances in the blood.

Our vet prescribed medication to help with this issue; we will be discussing a reduced fat diet for Lucy, which should also help.

Lucy will be back to see us as soon as her mom has healed from her knee replacement surgery, and will be retested to see if she is on the right track.

 


Jake, a 15 Year Old Pug with Cardiac ProblemsJake - Sam’s Hope has been providing medical assistance and home-delivered food and supplies to 15 year old Jake since he was diagnosed with cardiac problems in early 2019.

We help with his bi-annual cardiac exams and refill his heart medications when mom isn’t able to afford them, which seems to be more and more these days due to the current economic climate and the fact she is a senior on a fixed income. 

Jake and his mom, Kim, were awarded a veterinary care assistance grant for refills of all of his heart meds for 3 months. 

We are always happy to help out when needed and can do so thanks to Jake’s sponsors, Bill M. and Kathleen M., who donate monthly to his care.

Jake continues to do well, and his mom is taking such good care of him!  She feeds him all of the right stuff, watches his weight and makes sure every little pill makes it down his throat.

We will be seeing Jake in a few months for his cardiac exam and blood work.

 


Panda, a 23 Year Old CatPanda - Sam’s Hope has been providing medical assistance and home-delivered food and supplies to 23 year old Panda since he was a youngster at just 14 years old. 
When he was a kitten, his family moved away and left him abandoned in their yard; which was the best thing that could have happened to him as their neighbor found him, adopted him and loved him for 23 years and counting.

Panda has been having episodes of rear paralysis, not eating and drinking, and general weakness for the past few months.  But his dad nurses him by hand feeding, dropper watering and around the clock care.  And by some miracle he just keeps bouncing back.

The episodes are now occurring more frequently, and he isn’t bouncing back like he used to.  We were going to have him at our vet on Monday, five days away, but this morning things became rather urgent.  When I called our vet to see if he could see Panda as an emergency, I explained what was going on and mentioned that this visit may be a euthanasia.

Panda was seen by our vet early in the afternoon; he had an exam and blood work.  His kidney values were on the high side of normal, but nothing remarkable.  He was weak.  And of course his age wasn’t helping.

Without further testing, it was difficult for the vet to say what the cause of the rear paralysis was; I suspect that it was due to the fact that Panda (once an indoor/outdoor cat) was hit by a car early in 2020, and has been limping since.

Our vet wasn’t convinced that Panda had reached the end of the road; he sent Panda home with steroid treatment for the lameness, which should also help with his appetite, along with other medications and a recommendation for a prescription diet for his kidneys.  But that is for another day; once he starts eating and gets back on four legs.

Panda is a fighter; his dad is the best cat nurse around.  We are praying they both beat this and that Panda will reach that magic 25 in a year and a half.

 


6 Year Old Chi with PancreatitisBella - Four years  ago, 6 year old Bella was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and was hospitalized.  She has been doing well since; and then suddenly she became lethargic and was having bouts of severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Emergency care just wasn’t in the budget this time around; her mom had retired and was now on a fixed income.  She began calling local vets to see if they would help Bella and offer her a payment plan to get the treatment she needed.  One of the vets she called referred her to Sam’s Hope.

Within hours we had Bella seen by our partner vet as an emergency.  After testing  was completed to ensure that this was indeed another bout of pancreatitis, Bella was given an IV, and spend the day at the vet’s office under observation.  That evening she was sent home with anti-nausea and appetite stimulant medications, along with a low-fat,  highly digestible, prescription food, as well as stern instruction “DO NOT FEED BELLA ANY TABLE FOOD”!  As that is what (most likely) caused this second bout of pancreatitis.  She just loved to share her mom’s lunch which was made up of high-fat lunch meats.

Within a few days, all of Bella’s issues resolved.  She actually loved the new food, (go figure)!  Hopefully mom won’t give in to the pleading eyes and whining again!


Bella will be seen for a recheck in a few weeks.


The most common clinical signs include nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. During an attack, dogs may take a 'praying position', with their rear end up in the air and their front legs and head lowered onto the floor. If the attack is severe, acute shock, severe depression, and even death may occur.

 


Carmen, a 10 Year Old Shih TzuCarmen - We assisted Carmen, a 10-year-old Shih Tzu, and her mom for Carmen's annual check up.

Despite being diagnosed with Cushings disease early in 2022, Carmen had a great year and currently displays no symptoms, thus requiring no medication at present. Carmen's digestive problems have been resolved with the use of her prescribed food.

At her annual visit, Carmen received an examination, rabies shot, heartworm check, and anal gland expression. Due to her history of frequent ear and skin issues caused by allergies, she was given ear medication and medicated shampoo.

Carmen's overall health is excellent, and she has even lost half a pound since her last check-up. Credit goes to her mom who is very strict with her food intake, which is a positive thing considering the high number of overweight pets we encounter.


Routine veterinary visits help your pet live a long, healthy, and happy life. Annual or biannual exams nip emerging health problems in the bud and are key to extending your pet’s time by your side. Early detection and intervention allows your veterinary team to treat a disease in the beginning stages, and then manage the condition with medication or simple lifestyle changes. Your veterinarian also can give you pointers that will help your pet live her healthiest life and stave off potential medical conditions.

 


Stella - a 10 Year Old Cat with Severe Dental DiseaseStella - On January 1, 2023, Stella was adopted by her new Dad, Bob, after losing her lifelong home when her senior dad went into memory care.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Stella's appetite decreased and she stopped using her litter box. A visit to the vet revealed that her teeth were causing the problem, and she was prescribed antibiotics.

After a month, she underwent a dental cleaning with our partner vet. Stella's mouth was in poor condition, but fortunately, no teeth needed to be extracted. The surgery was successful, and she returned home to her Dad later that day.

She was given antibiotics and medication for her pre-existing diarrhea, had her nails trimmed, and received a clean bill of health. For the next few weeks, she will only be consuming wet food until her mouth has fully healed.

 


Magic, a 12 Year Old Cat with HyperthyroidismMagic - In January 2023, we met Magic, a 12-year-old cat, where she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism by our veterinarian.

Our vet prescribed Methimazole, and since starting the medication, Magic's condition has greatly improved.

Thanks to our veterinary care assistance grant, we were able to provide Magic's owner with refills of the medication, ensuring that she would have enough for the next two months.

Given that Magic's owner is a senior citizen with mobility issues, we opted to use transdermal medication, which is much easier for her to administer.


Transdermal Methimazole refers to a medication in the form of a cream or gel that is applied to the skin to treat hyperthyroidism in cats. Methimazole is an antithyroid drug that helps regulate the overproduction of thyroid hormones in the body. Transdermal administration provides a convenient and effective alternative to traditional oral medication.

 


Harley, a 9 Year Old Golden RetriverHarley - We met 9 year old Harley back in August of 2022 when his Dad contacted us; he needed help with medication for Harley’s heart condition.  At one time his senior dad could well afford to meet Harley’s needs, but with today’s economic climate, he is forced to make choices; buy Harley’s meds or pay the rent.

For the past months Harley’s dad has been able to put enough money away to maintain his meds; but this month he fell short and reached out to us for help again, which we gladly gave.

We helped refill all of Harley’s heart medications; a two month supply.  This will give his dad some breathing room and time to put away funds for the next round.

Along with the medications, we provided a 2 month supply of dry and wet dog food.

 


Stella, a 10 Year Old Cat with Severe Dental DiseaseStella - 10 year old Stella recently lost her lifelong home when her senior dad went into memory care.  Around the same time, one of our seniors suddenly lost his beloved cat Sammy.  Though Sammy’s dad was still grieving his loss, he decided to adopt Ms. Stella, and we are very happy to report it is working out very well for both of them; they are healing from their losses TOGETHER.

Super Bowl Sunday was the last day Stella ate and used the litter box; and she was hiding under the bed.  Dad saw no improvement on Monday, and contacted us early on Tuesday.  I have to admit, my heart dropped to the floor; Stella had a thorough check up and blood work prior to her adoption on January 1, 2023, and was deemed in extremely good health, that is EXCEPT for her teeth.  She desperately needed a dental.  But we decided to put that off until she adjusted to her new home and life.

We had her dad call our partner vet, who thankfully, was able to see her on Tuesday afternoon; and sure enough she had major infection in her mouth.

Our vet prescribed a liquid antibiotic; she will be on that for 10 days.  Then we will schedule the dental and get this little girl back to optimum health.

 


Hooch, an 8 year old LabHooch - 8 year old Hooch, a Lab, was feeling unwell all weekend.  It all started with vomiting, loss of appetite, and inability to defecate, no matter how hard he tried. 

His dad, a homebound senior on a fixed income was beyond himself and didn’t know what to do, as he could not afford to take him to emergency. 

On Monday morning we got his call for help, and within two hours we had him diagnosed and treated by our partner vet.

Hooch had a partial bowel obstruction; thankfully he did not need surgery as the obstruction was retrieved during an endoscopy.  What was that object you ask…a chewed up piece of brightly colored plastic attached to a piece of string.  Dad did not recognize the object.

Hooch will spend the night under the watchful eye of the vet and if all goes as planned, he will be back home tomorrow.

 


Stormy, a 6 Year Old CatStormy - 6 year old Stormy has been a recipient of our Meals for the Pets of the Homebound and Elderly program since she was a tiny kitten.  Her mom has always been able to keep her up to date with her yearly vet visit and vaccinations, but this year she could just not afford it.  When our volunteer Ellen delivered Stormy’s food late last month, she helped complete an application to get Stormy to our vet for her yearly visit.

Mom was able to get a ride to our vet with a good friend; when I picked up Stormy’s carrier from the car, I questioned mom about the tiny little girl she described to me on the phone.  She replied, well she is my little girl and she does have very short legs.  From my estimation, Stormy was also overweight, and I didn’t even have to look at her.

I brought her in to my vet; she had a thorough exam, vaccinations, nail clip, and just to be sure there were no problems; blood work, (which thankfully all came out perfect)..  Our vet is concerned about her weight; and suggested dietary changes diabetes and other preventable disease risk.

Obesity is the most common preventable disease in cats. Approximately 30-35% of the general feline population is obese, with 50% of cats aged 5-11 years old weighing in higher than their ideal weight. Obesity shortens a cat’s life and makes them more likely to develop disease. Even being moderately overweight reduces a cat’s life expectancy. In cats, a 2.8-fold increase in mortality has been shown in obese cats (8-12 years old) compared to lean cat. Source - VCA Animal Hospitals

That being said, we are going to work closely with mom to get Stormy’s weight under control to help ensure a longer, happier and healthier life.

 


Magic, a 12 Year Old Cat Diagnosed with HyperthyroidismMagic - 12 year old Magic hasn’t been quite right for the past few months.  She has been eating almost twice as much as usual, yet losing weight.  She has also been drinking unusually large amounts of water and having increased trips to the litter box.

Magic’s lives with her adoring mom, a senior citizen, in NE Philly.  Times are tough.  Her Social Security check barely covers her monthly expenses anymore, and she didn’t know where to turn to for help for Magic.  When she explained her dilemma to a neighbor, the neighbor told her that her mom needed help last year, and that Sam’s Hope was able to provide the care her cat needed.

She contacted us, then filled out an application and provided the required documentation with the help of her neighbor, and the following week we had Magic at the vet getting checked out.

When the vet saw her, he immediately suspected hyperthyroidism.  After an exam, blood work and urinalysis, Magic was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and prescribed Methimazole, an anti-thyroid drug.

She will return for blood work in 6 weeks to see how she is progressing.


Cats have two thyroid glands, which are located in the neck and play a vital role in regulating the body's metabolic rate. Hyperthyroidism is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormone and a subsequent increase in metabolic rate. This disease is common in older cats. Although the thyroid gland enlarges in hyperthyroidism, it is usually a benign or non- malignant change. Fewer than 2% of hyperthyroid cases in cats involve malignant thyroid gland tumors. Many organs are affected by hyperthyroidism, especially the heart. Source: VCA Animal Hospitals

 


Sabache, a 10 Year Old Chi-Pom with Congestive Heart FailureSabache - Sam’s Hope has been providing ongoing care to Sabache since the Summer of 2021.  He came to us with a terrible, hacking cough.  He was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, heart murmur and most recently with congestive heart failure.  He has been seeing our vet once a month; the last time he was doing better (cough was considerably better), but was still retaining fluid, so his meds were upped and changed.

Today he was back for another cardiac exam; mom stated that he no longer coughs, we were happy to hear that.  After the exam, x-ray, blood work and an injection of Lasix, the  vet told us what we did not want to hear.  Sabache was in full CHF; he was not only retaining fluid in his abdomen, but also all of his extremities.  The only good news was his kidneys were fine, which meant he could be treated with a larger dose of Lasix.

Sabache also has swelling in his mouth; unrelated to the CHF.  His teeth are a disaster (but we knew that).  He was prescribed antibiotics, and it was suggested his mom brush his teeth with baking soda to try to remove some of the dental plaque.

While all of this doesn’t sound good; we are praying that the increased meds help him grace the earth for a just a little while longer.

Feel better, Sabache…we are praying for you and your mama.

 


Oreo, a 10 year old kittyOreo - 10 year old Oreo has been suffering with bad teeth for some time now; stinky breath, drooling and unable to eat dry food. 

We received a call from a neighbor, asking if we could help make the little guy better.  His elderly mom, who was homebound and in very bad health, loved him dearly, but did not have the resources to provide the care Oreo needed.

With the help of the neighbor, we got Oreo to the vet within a few days for blood work; followed by  a dental cleaning and the extraction of two teeth that were decayed/broken at the gum line.  No wonder the poor little guy was feeling so poorly and unable to eat!

He was sent home with medication; two days later he is feeling MUCH better and believe it or not, back to crunching on his dry food.

 


Daggy, a 14 year old kittyDaggy - Our long-time client Evelyn called Rhonda (our volunteer and Evelyn’s pet food delivery person) the other morning in a panic.  Her beloved kitty companion Daggy was under the weather.  He was sneezing and refusing food. 

All of this made mom very nervous and upset.  Rhonda headed out to NE Philly to pick up Daggy, bring him to her vet, then return him to his home.  Our volunteers are just the best; talk about going above and beyond!

Daggy had a thorough exam; the vet really couldn’t find anything that might be causing Daggy’s malaise.  Daggy was sent home with antibiotics to treat a possible URI, and an appetite stimulant to help him have some interest in his food.  If this doesn’t help, the vet will dig deeper to see what the problem might be.

The following day, Evelyn called Rhonda to let her know that Daggy was on the mend.  Hopefully this will continue and he will be back to his happy self in no time. And mom will stop worrying!

 

2013 - 2022 Vet Care Grant Recipients can be found HERE