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Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue

 Our Adoptable Pet List 


Read the final (2/1/05) update!

Kip July 2003: Kip is a young male maltese (2-3 yrs old) who is so sweet and loving. He is such a happy little guy. He wants to play with the others so badly but can't because he is unable to walk. Our vet thinks that it may be some sort of neurological problem. We are planning on taking him in for a second opinion. His front legs are so weak that he can't hold himself up. He has put on a pound since he was saved so he was near to starvation.

Some caring neighbors noticed him at a house with no food and water, unable to walk, and in horrible condition. His poor little elbows on the front are still scabbed and calloused from where he would try and drag himself around. These kind neighbors apparently were able to convince the people to let him go. They contacted us, and we took him in.

We are trying to help him get his strength back. What we feel would really be beneficial is a wheel chair. We are hoping that we will be able to raise the funds to purchase him one. We feel that if he could use his back legs to push himself around then he might gain some strength in his front legs.

Kip UPDATE 8/25/03: Kip is the sweetest little boy you have EVER seen. He's started to eat better and is putting on weight. Even though he can't walk he always lets you know when he has to go to the bathroom or wants a drink. We have been able to collect enough funds to purchase him a Quadra chair ( to help him get around. We are hoping it will be here in a couple of weeks. As soon as it arrives, we will get a picture of him in his new chair!!!!

We have taken Kip for further evaluation (x-rays, full blood and urine analyses), but the vet is still unsure as to what is causing the weakness in his limbs. He has suggested that we take him to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for a neurological examination. He did give him Prednisone to see if this would help in any way. We have scheduled an appointment for September 23. Hopefully, we will learn more then. Any help with Kip's medical expenses would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE 9/23/03: Kip seems to be getting stronger on the Prednisone which was given by the previous vet. He can stand and take a few steps! He's still very wobbly and cannot stand for long periods of time, but it does give us hope that something can be done. We are still waiting on his wheelchair to arrive. Apparently is got lost in the mail. We are hoping this will help him get even stronger.

Kip went to the University of Tennessee - Knoxville for an evaluation. He was a very good little boy for them. They could not come up with a definitive diagnosis based on a physical exam, but they feel that it could be a muscular disease or infection. Further diagnostics are recommended. They recommend that an electrodiagnostics, joint tap, and pelvic limb radiographs be done under general anesthesia. The cost for this will be around $500. If these tests do not give us a diagnosis (we hope it will!!!) the next step would be a myelogram which runs between $1000-$1200.

The first step for us is to raise the $500 for the first round of testing recommended. Please if you can help in any way, we would be very grateful. Kip is such a wonderful little boy, and he deserves a chance to walk and run again!

Kip UPDATE 12/01/03: Kip's wheelchair finally arrived. We were very disappointed in this company and the fact that it took so long to get here. Now that it's here, it is too big for him; therefore, he's unable to walk well in it. We'll need to try and make adjustments on it so he can use it. He has gained strength and can even get around on his own for short distances. We are concerned because he is still on the Prednisone (steroids) which is not good for him long-term. We are continuing to try and raise the funds for Kip's testing so we can get a definitive diagnosis.

UPDATE 01/14/04: Thanks to everyone's generosity, we were able to take Kip back to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Under anesthesia, Kip received radiographs and they evaluated the ability of the muscle and related nerves to function. A joint tap was also done. They were unable to diagnose a neurological reason for his problems; however, he is suffering from severe orthopedic problems. His problems include:

  • Right Medial Patellar Luxation
  • Left Lateral Patellar Luxation
  • Shallow Acetabulum with resulting Hip Luxation and Instability
  • Carpal Valgus Deformation of Both Carpus (outward rotation of both wrists)
  • Luxation of both Humeral Joints (shoulder)
  • Mal-articulation of both Elbows

They feel that they cannot do much for his elbows or wrists, but would like for him to have surgery on his hind legs. It is recommended that he have a femoral head osteotomy (FH0) on his left leg first to help stabilize his left hip. Once he's recuperated, he would then have the same surgery on the other hip. At this time, they would also reassess his patellar (knee cap) luxations to determine if surgery should be performed. It is hoped that fixing the hips will relieve the pressure on his shoulders enough that surgery will not be required. The estimate for FHO's is $600-$800 per side and would be done as staged surgeries.

Apparently, the reason the prednisone helped him was because it relieved the severe pain that he was suffering. He has been taken off the Prednisone and put on a non-steroidal anti-inflamatory drug. Although it is safer, we are already seeing a decrease in his ability to get around.

UPDATE 02/22/04: Kip went back to UT-Knoxville so his foster mom could talk to the doctors. It was decided that further testing was warranted. They took more radiographs and did a fluoroscopy in order to determine how much movement could be seen in his limbs. The prognosis did not change in that he still has all the orthopedic problems listed above. They do now recommend that Kip receive physical therapy so he can strengthen his front legs/shoulders prior to any surgery.

We contacted Dr. David Levine with the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga who is involved with the Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy in Veterinary Medicine certification program. He put us in contact with Cassy Englert located in the Chattanooga, TN, area. She has generously agreed to donate her services to Kip and is even thinking about making him her case study! Dr. Troy Bearden of Shallowford Animal Hospital ( ) is allowing us to use his facility to perform Kip's therapy. We wish to thank each of them for their help and generosity.

UPDATE 04/16/04: We thought everyone would enjoy seeing pictures of Kip taking his physical therapy. He appears to be getting stronger everyday. We are planning on taking him to the surgeon again soon to see if he feels Kip is strong enough for the FHO. We'll let you know what he says!

UPDATE 10/1/04: Kip is doing wonderfully since his physical therapy. We took him back to the vet to see about the FHO surgery, and they decided that he had done so well and come such a long way in physical therapy that they would not recommend he have surgery at this time!!!! He truly is our little miracle boy. We have become true believers in the benefits of physical therapy for animals. We want to thank Cassy Englert who worked with Kip. If you have an animal in the Chattanooga area that requires rehabilitation, we strongly urge you to contact Cassy at or to ask your vet for an animal rehabilitator in your area.

UPDATE 2/1/05: Kip is going to a wonderful forever home. He'll have 3 sisters in his new home to play with. His new mom understands that there will probably be extensive medical expenses with him in the future. She adores him and will provide Kip with whatever needs in may need in the future.