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Opal’s Woof Facts:
Special medical needs require a financially secure adopter prepared for frequent treatments and maintenance both at the vet and at home Crate trained (but need not be crated), housebroken, spayed and UTD on vaccines Does fine with low-key, submissive dogs after slow, patient integration Loves people of all ages and sizes Medium to low energy – enjoys playing, walking and hiking but snuggling is her number 1
Meet Opal! We have no doubt that as soon as you meet her you will fall in love…because everyone does! At our adoption events Opal (aka “Opie” or “Opie Mama” by her admirers) seems to catch the eye of every passerby and soaks up their love like everyone is her new best friend. This girl is the bell of the ball no matter where she finds herself!
Although we never like to dwell on any dog’s past, Opal’s backstory is important to understand in order to ensure that she lands the perfect forever home. That said, please read on to see if it might be you….
FDRF stepped in to help Opal, a 4 year old little hippo...errr...pit bull who came to us in February 2016 when her owner fell on hard times and decided to put Opal's needs first and allow her to find a new home. When she first came to us she had lost not just her home and guardian, but also most of her beautiful fur due to some nasty bacterial skin infections. The “before” photos on the left, below, are of Opal back in February and March when she was itchy, uncomfortable, and depressed. The non-treatment of her environmental and food allergies had created multiple bacterial and yeast infections of her skin.
Despite how she was feeling, from day 1 Opal never lost her spirit. Even when her foster mom would slide one of the (many) pills down her throat, or lathering her bald belly up with medicated shampoo for the third time in a week, she remained wiggly, waggy and kissy. It’s as if she knew she was finally in good hands!
Over the period of a few months, and thanks to the care of our wonderful vet, Dr. Scriffignano (who we hope her adopter will continue using), Opal’s fur has come back (and it is beautiful!), but the medical issues have not ended there. In fact, the skin issues, and the limited diet that comes with it, are just the beginning.
Opal’s Medical Needs
The junction between the end of Opal’s spine (her final vertebrae by her tail) and her pelvic region, called the sacrum, is very arthritic. Opal also has hip dysplasia (an abnormal formation of the hip socket) and possibly slipped discs in her spine in two different places. Dr. Scriffignano consulted with a veterinary spinal specialist, who reviewed Opal’s X-Rays and agreed that pain management, with medication and supplements, is the best course of action, rather than immediately undergoing risky surgery with a challenging recovery time. Opal is on two different prescription medications (an anti-inflammatory and a pain killer) as well as two natural supplements, which have helped her pain levels tremendously. Now it’s only after romping in the yard too much (running and jumping, especially) or going on a long hike that she becomes very sore and is unable to go up stairs or jump up on to the couch or the backseat of the car. Opal’s forever family should be prepared to continue these prescription medications and supplements, and it is possible that in the future she will require surgery on her spine and/or hips. If Opal’s forever family opts to have this surgery completed at Verona & Montclair Animal Hospitals, FernDog will help with the costs.
Opal also has a grade 2/3 (very low) heart murmur, which has no effect on her health at this time and has been recorded as no concern by Dr. Scriffignano. Opal's forever family should commit to annual echocardiograms throughout her life to ensure that the murmur remains stagnant and non-concerning.
In sum, Opal’s forever family should be prepared for the following medical regimen, which has turned her into a super happy and healthy dog:
Skin: limited diet of only prescription dry and wet food (no treats), over-the-counter Zyrtec once per day, and once weekly baths and ear cleans with prescription shampoo and ear rinse, vet monitoring whenever itchiness or a flare up occurs Spine/Hips: two prescription medications and two natural supplements with breakfast, vet monitoring with any changes in pain or activity level, openness to surgery should the vet recommend this for quality of life down the road Heart murmur: annual echocardiograms
Opal in a Home
Throughout all of her health issues and frequent vet visits, Opal’s love of life has remained constant and contagious for all of those she meets. In her foster home, Opal is living with a pit bull foster bro who is slightly larger than her, and a cat. Opal and her foster brother are buddies now after a slow introduction and some healthy separation in the beginning, and now he lets her be the boss! A forever home with a submissive male dog and a family that knows how to take things slow would be fine for Opal. The only time she instigates a scuffle with her foster brother these days is around high-value or human food – she charges and chest bumps him a bit as if to say, “this is mine!” This is easily managed by simply feeding the dogs separately, and teaching Opal to give space to humans when they’re eating. As to the cat, Opal does chase her but just in play!
Overall, FernDog, and especially Opal’s foster family, feels so incredibly lucky to have her as a part of our rescue. Inside that bald, broken, depressed dog that came to us in February was a happy-go-lucky, silly, resilient, loving girl who makes everyone smile with her antics. And that is who Opal is. She is not a diagnosis, or a prognosis. She is a gem who simply requires a bit of polishing.
We are hopeful that Opal’s forever family will fall in love with her rock solid personality, and accept the medical maintenance she requires. If you think that could be you, please click below!