We have some tough news to share with those of you who have been following along on Natsu’s journey.
When we last wrote about Natsu, his condition — an inoperable and severe case of calcinosis cutis, a severe outcome of chronic skin allergy that had grown into an antibiotic-resistant skin infection — seemed to be improving. His wounds were beginning to heal, and we even saw some hair growth in places there hadn’t been hair for a long time.
This was thanks to a thorough treatment plan involving Toronto Humane Society veterinarians and a dermatological specialist as an outside consultant. The plan included antiseptic shampoo twice a week, daily topical therapy for his skin wounds, allergy medications and some intense pain medication. We were hopeful, but this level of improvement was extremely gradual. He had been in our care since December of 2021, and it took him six months of rigorous treatment to get him to this point. We weren’t ready to give up, but we knew his struggle was taking longer than it should.
When he came in for a recheck last week, the signs of improvement our medical team saw in June were no longer there. Not only did he stop improving, but his condition got worse. There were new lesions on his body, newly opened sores, and worse inflammation developing all along his neck and groin. This sweet and gentle boy was in so much discomfort that he even started trying to bite his beloved Foster Parent when he was being bathed as part of his treatment. In addition to all of this, his breathing was becoming alarmingly laboured, even for a brachycephalic dog. He was becoming exhausted to the point where he’d fall asleep in his Foster Parent’s arms after even the smallest amount of activity.
After ten long months of routine care from our experts and outside specialists, Natsu’s health was deteriorating, and there was no end in sight. Everything that could be done for him was done. Every opinion taken; every treatment considered and applied. But having regressed so quickly, and to be exhibiting signs of the pain we never wanted him to experience again, we could not justify forcing Natsu to continue suffering indefinitely.
In the late afternoon of October 21st, we made the difficult decision to end Natsu’s pain by performing humane euthanasia.
Words can’t describe how devastating this has been for the medical team and everyone who worked so long with this sweet boy. When he first came to us, the condition he was in gave our medical team pause; his extreme suffering at that time warranted a conversation about immediate humane euthanasia, but we decided to take a chance, to try and turn his life around for good.
Many hearts are broken, especially those of the people who worked so hard to give him a second chance for so long – but we are grateful for the time we got to spend with him. If it were not for our donors and the resources their generosity has allowed, we wouldn’t have been in any position to even consider helping Natsu. Instead, we had the support we needed to give Natsu a fighting chance. His life improved over the course of his treatment. During that short time, living in a loving Foster Home, he experienced enough happiness to last a lifetime.
We hoped beyond hope that Natsu’s journey would have led to a happier ending. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re faced with complex medical cases like this that have no answers or fixes, and no other options, regardless of the resources at hand. Sometimes we have to say goodbye, even to a fighter like Natsu.
For those of you who donated to this particular campaign, we are especially grateful. You can be sure we will keep his fighting spirit alive by continuing to care for animals with complex medical cases and continuing to go all-in on their treatment plans even when there’s just a sliver of hope. And thanks to our staff, volunteers, foster parents and the ongoing support of our donors, we will continue to do so indefinitely.
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