When Louie, a 5-year-old Australian Cattledog mix, was first brought to Foothills Animal Shelter, he was almost hard to look at. He was severely underweight, his eyes and the top of his head were sunken in due to atrophy and there was a foul smell emanating from his mouth. Jefferson County Animal Control Officers brought Louie to the Shelter after receiving phone calls about the dog’s horrible condition. Luckily, Louie’s owner agreed to give him over to the Shelter so he could begin to get the care he needed.
For the first several days, Louie refused to eat or even open his mouth. The Shelter’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Emily Hays, decided to sedate him and see if she could figure out why this might be. Dr. Hays examined his mouth and was shocked at what she saw: some teeth were missing, his gums were eroded down to the bone and there were severe ulcers covering his entire mouth and lips. No wonder he had no interest in eating; it was far too painful.
Dr. Hays and the Health Care team knew they needed to fix his underlying problem, but it wasn’t immediately clear why Louie’s mouth was the way it was. Louie stayed with Dr. Hays in Foster Care so she could care for him and try to determine what was going on.
After diagnostics, research and treatments, Dr. Hays figured out that Louie was suffering from CUPS (Chronic Ulcerative Paradental Stomatitis), an autoimmune disease that causes a severe reaction to the tartar on a dog’s teeth. Every time Louie opened his mouth to eat or even yawn, he experienced excruciating pain. All of Louie’s teeth needed to be removed to end his pain and to prevent the disease from getting worse. He would likely have to eat soft food for the rest of his life, but that was a small price to pay for being able to help him. After a few intensive dental surgeries over a span of a few months by Foothills Animal Shelter veterinarians Dr. Hays and Dr. Kristen Yale, Louie was finally free from pain.
These days, Louie has transformed into a completely new dog. He is happy, playful and never meets anyone he doesn’t love—especially children. He has gained much needed weight and even loves to go for long hikes. Louie had lived in pain for so long, you can almost tell how thankful he is for being cured. Not only that, but Louie found his forever home with one of the Shelter’s staff members, and has also become an Official Ambassador for the Shelter. He regularly meets with kids’ groups, donors and other community members as an example of the kind of work done every day at Foothills Animal Shelter. With his new lease on life, this incredibly happy pup can’t help but greet everyone with a (toothless) smile on his face.
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