As pitiful cases go, Zhuzha’s was right up there. An adorably sweet 2-year-old dog that was likely left homeless by the war in Ukraine, she had been spayed by a city neutering program and apparently released back onto the streets.
Zhuzha was eventually reported to @lovefurryfriends, a rescue group living and working in Ukraine with the aim of helping homeless animals during all of the chaos. After hearing about the gentle pup, they made their way to the part of the city she’d been reported in and found her wandering near what appeared to be a loading dock.
The initial reports noted that the animal had a massive distended belly, which was at odds with the clip on her ear denoting her status as spayed. Seeing she was in obvious discomfort and that her breathing was quite labored, they were concerned for her welfare and managed to get her into a vehicle to take her to a local veterinarian clinic for an examination.
From the video, her misery was palpable, and the reason for it was soon discovered: she’d developed heartworms, and it had progressed extensively. Also known as Dirofilaria immitis or dog heartworm, it is caused by a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through mosquito bites.
According to the American Heartworm Society, “Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body.”
Once her illness had been determined, the team of veterinarians immediately went to work treating her. Due to abnormal heart function, a lot of liquid had accumulated in her abdominal cavity. The vets would end up draining as much as 10 liters of fluid from her on the first day alone!
Zhuzha was so ill that she would need to spend a full 10 days at the facility while she continued treatment and monitoring before gaining enough strength to leave. Without that life-saving intervention, she would never have made it, and the end would have been full of more pain and suffering. @lovefurryfriends was not about to let that happen.
After her release, she was allowed a brief, leisurely stroll through a park for a bit of fresh air where she demonstrated her fantastic leash skills. Then she was brought back to the home where the group’s other rescue pups happily await adoption. And “happily” is absolutely the word for it.
Upon their arrival, they’re given baths, food, toys, treats, and their very own beds to snuggle in. Once they acclimate and the fear subsides, they have plenty of canine pals to play and take naps with. The best part is they seem to tend to one another as if nursing each other back to health, both physically and emotionally.
That’s because the animals there all came from tragic circumstances filled with hunger, fear, and sometimes physical pain. Ultimately, trauma and stress have been in their lives for many months before being rescued.
Initially, Zhuzha looked apprehensive and took time to adjust, but she is far better off than she was and ready for a forever home. Her case was so advanced that she will need medication for life, but she’s a fighter and worth fighting for. If you’d be interested in adopting this sweet little fur nugget or you have the means to help her until she is adopted, contact @lovefurryfriends to learn more about how you can help.Whizzco