Adopting a Special Needs dog

Mr. Ko and I are considering adopting a dog from the pound that is currently in their ‘sick bay’ being treated for an upper respiratory infection. Can anyone give me a best/worst case idea of what might mean? Is it likely to be a common illness that can be cleared up with antibiotics, or should I be worried about something more serious, like distemper? Is there anything we should look for or be aware of? If we do adopt this dog she’ll be at our vet’s office within hours, but I’d like to have some idea of what to expect before we go see her.

[I know I didn’t give you much to go on and you’re all anonymous strangers on a message board, etc. I accept all the usual disclaimers.]

For people upper respiratory infection normally means the common cold so it should be minor. I think most pounds make sure all the dogs and cats get all their vaccines before they are adopted so that should not be an issue.

Most pounds do not treat really sick animals. They just put them down. So if your new pet is being treated for an Upper-Respiratory Infection (aka URI), that means the people at the pound think its easily treatable. Pretty much like a common cold in humans.

I’m reasonably certain that if the pound vet thought your dog had distemper, she would have been put down right away.

I really wouldn’t worry about it. Take her to your vet and be sure that she finishes all of her meds.

Most important…enjoy your new dog and take pics!!!

Twice I’ve adopted cats with URIs from the local Humane Society. It just meant that I had to give them their doses of antibiotics. Since the cats felt a lot better after a couple of days of treatment, the main problem consisted of catching the cats and holding them for treatment. The antibiotics were all liquids, and had a top with a dropper built in, so it was easy to measure out the doses.

With one cat, I was able to put her dose on a bit of canned cat food or turkey, and she’d gobble it up. The other cat wasn’t as interested. However, both cats recovered.

The dog will almost certainly recover quickly, with no emergency vet visits. Your main problem is that if she’s not spayed yet, she can’t be spayed until she recovers.

I’ll bet it’s kennel cough. Very common, and very treatable. It’s not exactly upper respiratory, but calling it a URI sounds less scary to people who are unfamiliar with common animal diseases. If left untreated, there is risk of developing pneumonia, but when caught early - which it usually is due to the unmistakable cough - it’s easily treated with inexpensive antibiotics. Part of treatment is separation from other canines because it is very contagious.

If this is the only thing they’re talking about, and they’re saying she just needs this course of antibiotics, then the dog is by no means “special needs.” If they start talking about lifetime medication that’s needed daily, that’s considered a special needs case.

Yeah, and any place that houses large numbers of dogs should be on high alert for that cough.

Concur, if it’s kennel cough it’s entirely curable if caught and treated.

Thanks, everyone! Still working on this and will definitely post pictures if it works out. :slight_smile:

crosses fingers

Update: I was too late for the URT infection dog, somebody else adopted her yesterday, so I adopted another rescue dog – a miniature poodle/yorkie cross – who is being neutered as we speak. This little guy is my first venture in to little-dogdom and I’m thrilled I found him. I pick him up tomorrow and will post pictures then.

Thanks again, everyone!

Aw. Well, good for both dogs getting homes, after all!

Best of luck with the new guy. Small dogs are a lot of fun!

Five years ago I adopted a 3 week old, abandoned kitten with a URI so bad you could hear him wheeze across the room. Drugs, TLC, the occasional session in the steam room (bathroom with the shower on hot, fan off) and in a couple weeks he was perfect. He still has no voice whatsoever, but he’s perfectly healthy and purrs like a fiend when he hears water running. Residual memory I guess.

Promised pictures: Meet Winston! :slight_smile:

He’s really cute! And he looks right at home already.


Awwww! He’s ADORABLE! Congrats on the new family member, hope you have many happy years together!