As soon as there was an appointment available, he was taken to the vet (Dr Jo Warner, Greencross, Coomera). She was amazed at his legs and had never come across something like that before. She prescribed cortisone and suggested treatment for his ears. Milo was microchipped, but it appears that a litter-mate (Titan) was registered using his number. The vet was also surprised to hear that Milo had not been de-sexed. His testicles had not dropped. There is no tattoo in the ear so I’m to check that he definitely hasn’t been de-sexed.
The vet called me later that afternoon. She made contact with Titan’s owner and it appears that he too has the swollen back legs. The vet diagnosed Milo with congenital lymphodoema – for which there is no cure. It is extremely rare.
Some days he started favouring his right leg – limping a bit – and then all of a sudden he couldn’t put his left foot to the ground. There was nothing he had done during the day that should have caused the inability to put the foot to the ground. He lay around for a few hours (seemed really tired with big red droopy eyes), but then all of a sudden, he was up and moving again with no sign of any lameness. It must be part and parcel of the lymphodoema. Poor little mite.
Milo loved to play with Vivienne’s dog. They would go for a very short walk together– just down the block and back – each evening. He enjoyed being out, but always made sure the other dog was close.
Vivienne got a call that a vet in Melbourne was interested in fostering Milo and the next day Milo was taken to the vet to declared fit to travel by air.
Milo was flown down to Victoria where he would be fostered by a vet and start acupuncture. Milo was too full on for her cat so he was taken to a property in ACT, and this didn’t exactly work out either… After trialling several foster homes finally he ended up in NSW with foster carer Bronwyn in January 2016. He was a really happy little guy who fitted in with Bronwyn and the two dogs immediately. He was on a strict dietary and complementary/holistic medical regime from a holistic vet who had been trying to cure his lymphoedema without success. Sadly , he got steadily worse. We were all very puzzled, because just a few months earlier he had not been so bad… We were lucky to find out why. Milo developed a severe itch, and was scratching himself to bleeding point, so our vet prescribed a short course of Prednisone. A few months earlier he had actually been on Prednisone, and was supposed to have continued it at the next foster placement, but the holistic vet had stopped all conventional medication. We now knew that his quality of life was *so* much better when on the Prednisone, and even though long-term it may cause some liver damage and a shorter life-span, the benefits far out-weighed the possible risks. So we gradually reduced the dose and was able to keep his legs slim and flexible. He was so happy and healthy and such a joy to have around. Everyone loved him. And he loved life on his foster carers “farm”, with the dogs and the cat and horses, and kangaroos to chase and dams to swim in.
After 4 months in Bronwyn’s care, with his newly slimline legs and chemical castration (as he was unable to be surgically desexed) and good health it was time to look for his furever home, and matching found us the wonderful Teena and family. Teena lives with her family on a beautiful property outside Melbourne, with horses and her chocolate Lab Connie. She was willing to take Milo on, knowing all the current and potential risks and problems. Foster Carers Bronwyn and Frances drove him to Wodonga and met Teena and her husband there, and handed Milo over to her knowing it was the perfect home for him… and that is what it proved to be. They loved him totally, and kept in touch regularly. And all went well except for a short illness late 2016 when it was thought something had bitten him. He recovered, but his legs started swelling a bit, and were not controlled as well on the low steroid dose. So Teena took him to a specialist physician vet, and consulted people about having compression stockings custom made for him, and all was in train.
When he suddenly took ill a few days ago, they couldn’t find anything except some possible mild abnormality of his kidney function. He seemed better and brighter, and was allowed to go home on Monday night. He was able to eat and drink and wag his tail, and Teena checked him every hour through the night – and very sadly found he has passed away in the early hours of the next morning. Everyone involved was devastated, including the vet. They’d all been prepared for a shorter life than average, but nothing prepared them/us for this. He didn’t even get to spend a full year with his wonderful family.
Furever Mum, Teena “We are hanging in there, just! Connie is as clingy as. She is crying at the back door if she is outside more than 10 mins on her own. She is following us about the house when she is in. Andrew sat with Connie most of Tuesday night until I made him shower and go to bed. As he was heading off I heard him say to Connie.... Don't you go and die on me too Connie"! Ian is not so good. Milo was really his dog. Followed him everywhere. He is taking it very hard.”
“Ian used to sing Milo and sing to the tune of the Village People’s “Macho Man”. That’s why we called him Milo Man! It was about him being a licky dog and how he loved his bones, chews and dinner. As soon as Ian would start singing it Milo would get all bouncy!”
To all of you who came in contact with Milo during his time with LR, thank you for your contribution to his life, welfare, health and behaviour.
Congenital Lymphodoema is a hereditary condition. An ethical, registered breeder would know that their dog had this condition, or was predisposed to it, so they wouldn't breed that dog. But Milo was bred by a "back yard breeder" who has no idea what their dog’s genetic history is as they don't do any of that testing, so now Milo has to pay the price.
We can't say it enough times about not buying dogs from pet stores (these puppies are normally sourced from a puppy farm) or from unregistered backyard breeders. They often produce unhealthy dogs that have many congenital health issues, always do your research.