For a young dog, Rusty has had more than his share of trials and tribulations.
Jerry, his owner, explains: "When Rusty was 4 or 5 months old, he fell off a utility vehicle in Montana and broke one of his back legs. The vets there put in a plate, and Rusty healed quickly-at least for a week and a half he did. Then he didn't want to walk or move, so we took him back to the vet who told us that sometimes dogs can get an embolism on the spine, but they're generally absorbed. He suggested doing an MRI, but the nearest place was 6 hours from us and couldn't be scheduled for 6 weeks. So we decided to bring him back to our home in Maryland."
Dr. McDonnell was able to see Rusty within a week and ordered an immediate MRI. The diagnosis: Rusty had a massive infection that was causing pressure on the spine. Rusty was in a huge amount of pain, and had no control over his hindquarters. Dr. McDonnell prescribed a large dose of broad-based antibiotic for six weeks, and on the revisit was encouraged, so the antibiotics were continued for another 6 weeks.
"At the end of three months, Rusty was bacteria-free. He regained 99% of his health and vitality, and is back playing with our other two Labs, Bo and Maddie. He's back retrieving, being trained to hunt waterfowl at our place outside of Cambridge, and later to hunt birds in Montana," says Jerry, who's a board member of Waterfowl Chesapeake and an Advisory Senior Vice President of the national board of Ducks Unlimited. "He hasn't done ducks yet, but I think he may be soon. He's very fast, intense and wants to retrieve. I hope to include Rusty when we show our dogs in the Eastern Waterfowl Festival next year."