Help Katara Heal

Help Katara Heal2024-04-22T14:01:44-04:00

It is with a sad heart that we had to say goodbye to Katara. Her medical concerns deteriorated to the point that her quality of life was too diminished. Despite our best efforts, and those of the specialists who worked with her, Katara got to a point where her illness and comfort could no longer be managed, and it was not humane to let her suffer any longer.  We want to thank all of her supporters and followers for their care over the past few years – had she not been a part of the NSALA family, she likely would not have survived as long as she did.

Katara continues to face significant medical challenges. She has developed numerous secondary acquired liver shunts after her initial shunt closure. This has resulted in Katara developing signs of liver dysfunction and worsening neurologic episodes. These new shunts are not amenable to surgical closure and attempts are being made to manage the symptoms medically. However, medical management may not be adequate and her prognosis is guarded.

Katara recently had a follow-up appointment after her successful liver surgery, and we’re happy to report that her doctors are very pleased with her progress. With her liver issue under control, Katara is expected to get stronger and healthier overall. She has also been ok’d to begin formal rehabilitation to correct the issues in her legs. Katara spent some time getting fitted for custom carpal braces that will aid in straightening and strengthening her front legs. A plan was also put in place to have her reaching certain benchmarks over time, with a goal of normal carpal posture by the end of the year.

This determined young girl has come a long way since she was born in our Nursery earlier this year. Thanks to your support of our Help Me Heal program, it won’t be long before Katara is back on all fours and in a home of her very own!

Last week young Katara underwent surgery to correct the liver shunt that caused a portion of her blood to bypass the liver and not get filtered properly, resulting in a build-up of toxins and recurring seizures.

We’re happy to report that Katara came through the surgery well, is recovering nicely and has not had any seizures. Her foster mom says she is resting comfortably and that you wouldn’t even know she had surgery. All good things for this amazing girl! Katara will have a follow-up exam in a couple weeks to see how she is healing.

Thank you to all the generous supporters of our Help Me Heal Program, without you none of this is possible.

Katara has been doing well in her new foster home as she continues to get stronger, slowly but surely. After a CT scan at the Animal Medical Center confirmed the presence of a liver shunt, the plan was to continue to treat her medically until she got a little bigger and then she would have surgery to correct the problem. Additionally, Katara was also evaluated for her joint issues in her front legs. It was recommended to start bracing her legs to help straighten and strengthen them. Katara is such a brave and resilient pup, and thanks to the support of our Help Me Heal Program she will continue to get the best care possible.

Help Katara in the Fight of Her Life

Born Christmas night 2020, it was a miracle that tiny Katara survived at all. Her mother, Audrey, had been rescued from an overcrowded municipal shelter and arrived to us in the nick of time.

Katara was the smallest in the litter of six puppies, and as her siblings took to nursing from their mom right away, Katara had to be coaxed and prodded to even try. Katara was surely the runt of the litter, and was not gaining weight or showing any progress during her early days. The staff at our Pet Health Centers decided to separate her from the other pups and hand-feed her. While Katara started putting on weight, she didn’t seem to be progressing in other areas – such as standing or walking – and seemed lethargic and lame.

Katara was soon diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and placed in an incubator where she could receive oxygen. This treatment worked well, and Katara began moving around slightly and holding her head up on her own. Our veterinary team was very encouraged by her progress.

In February, after she was a little over a month old, Katara started having seizures. Blood tests showed elevated white blood cell counts, which indicated a possible infection. She was again placed in the incubator and monitored around the clock. Thankfully, Katara showed signs of improvement and her appetite even increased. Then in early March she was diagnosed with hepatic encephalopathy, a disorder caused by a functional disturbance of her liver, resulting in toxin buildup that caused the seizures. She is suspected of having a liver shunt in which a portion of her blood bypasses the liver and does not get filtered. This is being medically managed under the watchful eye of our dedicated veterinary team.

Additionally, Katara developed carpal (wrist joint) tendon contracture in both front legs. This can occur when the tendons and bones grow at different rates. This condition is not painful, and should correct itself as she continues to grow.

Currently, the plan is for Katara to get a CT scan to confirm the presence of a liver shunt and determine if it can be corrected surgically. This procedure could help Katara lead a perfectly normal life. For now, Katara will receive physical therapy to help her learn to walk and develop her muscles so she can grow big enough for the surgery to be possible.

To say this courageous puppy has an uphill battle is an understatement. But Katara, like her mom Audrey, has the will to survive. As a member of our Help Me Heal Program, Katara will not be alone in this fight. Your support can help her every step of the way. Please donate today to this vital program that changes so many lives.