July 18, 2016

Update: Vanilla Needs Surgery To Stop Tumors Spreading

What do you do when you see a dog in a high-kill shelter that is in desperate need of medical care and attention, but you know it's going to cost a fortune to help them? If you're JDHF co-founder Nancy Heigl, you don't hesitate to pull the dog and hold out hope that it will work itself out.

Such is the case with Heigl Hound of Hope, Vanilla. We first told you about Nilla when we first pulled her at the end of May. Nilla, an adult pit bull mix, weighed only 33 pounds and was suffering from a chronic illness called masticatory muscle myositis which prevented her jaw from opening.

She also had a selection of tumors on her abdomen in various stages of degradation. One large tumor was open, while there was another large tumor and several small tumors that were still closed. At that point, they were a nuisance, and we were more concerned about Nilla's weight and her jaw. Her jaw condition was very much guarded at the time. She could eat, but her food had to be very watery and she would push a lot of it around with her nose because her tongue barely came out of her mouth.

Nilla has been in foster care for seven weeks now. Despite all she had working against her, Nilla's indeterminable spirit has kept her goin... that and an ample diet!

Nilla's foster mom makes Nilla a home prepared meal of high-calorie canned dog food mixed with ground meat, rice, eggs and chicken broth pulverized in a food processor. Each meal is 4-5 cups and Nilla gobbles it all down.

She has now gained 10 pounds, and she can even stick out her tongue (sort of)!

Unfortunately, for the progress Nilla has made, her tumors have gotten progressively worse. The one open tumor has gotten larger and bleeds constantly. In addition, two smaller tumors have opened up. Nilla's foster mom keeps male-dog diapers on Nilla to help absorb the blood. The good news is these tumors are easily removed and we're told that removal is curative.

However, because Nilla cannot open her mouth normally, she cannot be intubated. Intubation is a routine procedure that dogs (and humans) undergo with any surgery whereby a tube is inserted down the throat to help the animal breath while under anesthesia. Because Nilla cannot open her mouth properly, traditional intubation is impossible.

The only option for Nilla's surgery is what's called a temporary tracheostomy. With a tracheostomy, insteadof inserting the tube down her throat through the mouth, they will have to cut a hole in her throat into which the tube would be inserted. It sounds horrible, but it's definitely doable. But "doable" comes with a price... a pretty high price... $4,000.

Vanilla is a dog that is simply not willing to give up. And as is always the JDHF way, if the dog is willing to fight, we will fight right along with them.

But we need your help!

This surgery is necessary to improve Nilla's quality of life, as well as prevent the tumors from spreading.

Any donation that you can make will help and would be greatly appreciated. Nilla's surgery is scheduled for Friday, July 22, 2016, so time is of the essence!

As a special bonus, the top two donors in this fundraising campaign will get a JustOne baseball cap signed by Katherine Heigl! Just make a donation via our PayPal account between now and July 22, 2016 and note that your donation is for Vanilla. Your donation is still tax deductible.

Thank you for your ongoing support! Without the support for our generous donors, we would not be able to continue to give dogs like Nilla a second chance. Please join us in fighting along with Nilla. After all she has endured, she deserves a win!

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