Retire the Vet Debt – Hope for the Future


We began our campaign to Retire the Vet Debt on October 31st and you’ve opened your hearts to the cause. Today is the final day to donate and it also is the last day to make charitable donations that you can claim on your 2014 taxes.


Each year we incur quite a bit of veterinary debt caring for these animals and we rely on you to help us pay that debt so that we can continue to help animals in need.

We’ve met many wonderful dogs that needed extensive veterinary intervention to survive. We’re more than happy to provide that care, but it does come with a cost. Your donations will help defray the cost of all that care. We believe the pets are worth it – do you?

PollyThe last dog we would like to introduce to you is Polly. She was brought to us from a good samaritan who got her from a breeder. Those are massive tumors on her chest. She was surrendered by the breeder because she was no longer good as a breeder due to the tumors. Polly is just one example of the dogs we still care for on a daily basis. She represents the future of Last Hope and we want to be able to help more like her. She deserves so much better than what she’s gotten in life, but now she is being cared for and loved and your donations help us do that.

On this last day of 2014, won’t you help these defenseless but loving animals? Help dogs like these by making a donation HERE.

Julia Black

RTVD – Landon

Landon was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe, just maybe, if you look at it the right way… he was in the right place. He may have had a long, hard road to get there but thanks to Last Hope this sweet boy has found his forever home.

IMG_6675  IMG_3513

Landon was hit by a car on Hwy 30 in Benton County. He had broken both legs on the right side of his body. He was only 11 months old, just a baby when this happened. Last Hope quickly stepped up to help him as no one stepped in to claim him.

Landon Surgery

He was taken in for surgery, with costs upwards of $1,500. His first surgery was on his rear femur. A couple days later they operated on the front leg. They put 2 pins in. He was in a lot of pain so they planned on keeping him at the vet’s office through the weekend. Unfortunately, his pain levels didn’t decrease as quickly as we had hoped. He was there for another week before he began regaining movement in his legs and  was able to be moved to his foster home.

Once in his foster home, Landon’s recovery was slow. We found out that there were some problems with the way his leg was healing. He was taken to Ames for a second opinion and again, for a second surgery. Since then things have started to look up for Landon!

Landon After  Landon After 2

Landon’s foster fell in love with him. She quickly became what we call a “foster failure.” She says, “Landon is doing wonderfully :-). He is such an amazing boy! We always joke around that Dr. Reimer may have put springs in his legs when he had his fractures repaired because he’s so happy and constantly jumping and bouncing around.”

This young boy may have started his time with Last Hope with a streak of bad luck. But thanks to our donors and supporters we were able to give him the care he needed and he very quickly made himself at home in his new forever home.

To help dogs like Landon, please donate to Last Hope HERE and help us Retire the Vet Debt!

Julia Black


Han was born with a congenital heart defect. This beautiful boy was surrendered to Last Hope because his owner could not afford his care.  

image (1)We have had HAN for awhile now. In our home on our couch on our laps
with family and friends in our bed and most importantly in our hearts.

We’ve gotten to know his personality, likes and dislikes and sweet
quirks. We’ve watched his confidence grow and are in complete awe at
his joy of living every moment. As we look ahead we can’t help being
overcome with emotion.

HAN is a handsome Rhodesian Ridgeback. He came into Last Hope Animal
Rescue as an owner surrender from Missouri. He was born with a
congenital disease called Aortic Stenosis. With this disease, the left
ventricle has to work harder to pump blood out of the heart, due to
the obstruction just under the aortic valve. This disease has caused
thickening of his heart muscle, which creates extra work on his heart,
and has lead to an enlargement of the left ventricle.

At just 3 years of age, HAN is on the lower end of severe heart
failure. His prognosis is guarded, and life expectancy short. After
taking him to the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching
Hospital, we were devastated to learn that HAN was not a candidate for
an experimental procedure similar to balloon valvuloplasty, due to his
stenotic portion being too narrow.

At this time we have started him on Atenolol, a medication which slows
the heart rate and reduces the severity of obstruction. He is bright,
alert, and most importantly, happy.

He enjoys people, snuggling in a soft bed, and snoozing in the sun.image
Spending time in the pasture doing chores with the horses, and
“tattling” on his foster sister Mahali is a daily “job” for him. He
currently lives on 110 acres of land, where he hunts bunnies, leaps at
birds, and chases deer.

Han will live out his remaining years of life, on our ranch. Thanks to
Last Hope Animal Rescue and generous donations, his medication and
veterinary visits, are paid for. He will continue to run and play, be
showered with love, and never know that he is different.

image (2)HAN has taught us to prance in the rain, stretch in the sun, and live
every day in the moment because you never know when that moment may
end. He is an exceptional HANMAN.

Even though he’s not a candidate for surgery Last Hope has provided Han with a chance for a loving home to live out his life. To help dogs like Han donate today. Help Last Hope Retire the Vet Debt!

Crystal Black

Microchipping Your Pet

Statistics show that more than 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year, according to the American Humane Association. Additionally, one in three pets will become lost at somMicrochipe point in his life.

We now have the capabilities and technology to help recover lost pets: Microchipping. A tiny microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted in the back of the neck of the animal via a needle; this causes only a slight discomfort to the animal. The chip is then programmed with your information such as name and phone number.

The registration of the microchip is very important and it is how your information gets programmed into the chip! Some veterinarians will register the chip for you, but whether you do it or your vet does it, make sure it gets done. The chip will do no good if it is not registered and programmed. Also, if you move or change phone numbers, make sure you update your information on the chip. If your pet is lost, all that has to be done is to scan the back of the neck with a special machine (this does not hurt the animal) and your information will be displayed. This can be done by a veterinarian or animal shelter that has the equipment.Scan

Of course, it’s important to train your dog well to help prevent him from escaping in the first place. But, as added security, it is well worth the money and time to also microchip your pet. Last Hope holds microchipping events where you can get your pet chipped for added security. The next microchipping event will be at the Cedar Rapids Petco on January 3rd, 2015 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Please come out to help make sure your pet will return home in the event of an escape or home emergency such as a fire.

If you would like to help Last Hope defray the costs of microchipping animals, please donate HERE.

Julia Black


It always breaks my heart when breeder surrenders come in with medical issues. The lack of care that we see with these dogs is horrible. And that’s just the dogs we see. Kellie is one of those dogs. Her foster sent me her story.20140923_130902

It has been a long road for my little foster dog, Kellie.  Most people fall in love with animals instantly when they see their cute little eyes, or the color of their coats, or their gestures or smiles (yes, dogs smile…have you seen it?)  But for the sake of our foster hearts, we gaze at them for only a moment, and go deeper.  For those who have had dogs (or cats) that have had some kind of medical problem, we all know quickly, as if by second nature.

Kellie is that kind of dog, you know, the kind with the beautiful eyes and the black shiny coat.  She came with a number of other dogs we had gotten from a owner surrender situation.  Another Shih-Tzu came with Kellie, who seemed to be bonded with her in a special way.  They came into my care from the same “breeder surrender” and at first I wondered if it could have been her pup, since Kellie is 7 years old, and the other was a lucky twelve months.

Kellie’s file documented that she was a brindle-colored, male Shih-Tzu.  This was not the case!  She is definitely black and white, and definitely female.  She looked pregnant…her belly was round and soft, her nipples seeping scarce amounts of milk.  She began to have bloody diarrhea so I took her to the vet who believed she had an intestinal problem.  He prescribed her various medications, but much to my dismay, things weren’t changing for Kellie.  I changed her diet to home-made food, and became a nurse.  Time sheets were important, posting when she ate, drank, and had accidents.  When the antibiotic prescribed was taken in full, I scheduled her for a spay procedure.

I became increasingly alert about her symptoms daily; while I had one prior foster, he did not have these symptoms.  On the morning of her spay, I looked at her, all curled up beside me in bed, smelling like Doritos.  Yes, Doritos!  I can’t tell you why or what, but my gut feeling was a definite negative about going to the doctor to get spayed.  She was still ill and weak.

I called the vet who was able to see her that day.  On top of her bloody diarrhea, she had developed a strange panting…the long, drawn-out kind which sounded like she couldn’t catch her breath.  She would frequently walk a few steps, but then would abruptly sit down..with her face drawn down two inches from the floor.   She began to choke which sounded something like a duck, and she’d run as if she was scared of the sound.  I got in the car and drove the seemingly eternal time to get to the doctor’s office!

The vet was perplexed.  He could not find any evidence to suggest problems with her tracheal tube, something another volunteer and I discussed the night prior.  He took blood samples and an x-ray which ruled out tracheal collapse.  When he came into the room a second time, I realized that my gut reaction to problems about animals could be trusted.  She had a chest x-ray which revealed her heart to look like a backwards capital D, and her diagnosis of congestive heart failure was made.  I felt like crying, and I would have, if I had not sat there holding this bundle of soft black and white fur.  He told me that it is a progressive disease, that she would never get better, or cured, but that there was medication she could take that would slow down the process.  She also had a stitch in her stomach which was apparently a stitch that didn’t disappear from her spay!

20140912_181628The following days and weeks went by, every day giving her what she needed in medication, food and love.  I thanked God that she would live another day when I got up in the morning, because I knew and still know that her days are numbered.  She slowly and surely got better.  She would go out for “walks” that required the few steps she would be able to grant.  She slept a lot and drank a lot.  I think it took the medication two to three weeks to clear the on-again-off-again honking sound of her cough.  She began to eat better.  She even rolled on her back.

Now, she has subluxing patellae on both hind legs, and I hear them pop every so often.  This will be something she will need to get fixed.  The last problem is that of menses.  She was not properly spayed, if indeed that was what happened from wherever we got her…the vet thinks that it was either a C-section or a term called ovarian remnant.

So, this is Kellie’s story.  It’s so amazing that every day when we get up, she wags her tail and comes to the kitchen to sit, patiently waiting for her medication dipped in peanut butter, hidden in yogurt, or smashed into turkey.  She is an amazing survivor and she is loved.

Because of our amazing foster homes we are able to save dogs like Kellie. (If you would like to foster click here.) Donate here today to continue helping dogs like Kellie.

Flea and Tick Prevention

Flea and tick prevention keeps your pet healthy. Your pet won’t pick up tapeworms or have flea bites that cause itching misery and flea allergy dermatitis. In addition, you can help prevent diseases that fleas and ticks carry such as Lyme Disease, ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis. Don’t let your pet get bitten by fleas when modern medicine has provided wonderfully effective and safe flea products.

Flea and tick preventatives can help your pet avoid:

  • Flea allergies
  • Hot spots
  • Biting adult fleas
  • Skin infections
  • Tapeworms
  • Lyme Disease
  • Ehrlichia
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Fleas and ticks in your home


Fleas are insects that are ubiquitous in the environment – meaning they can be found almost everywhere. There are more than 2000 species of fleas, but the common cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the one that most commonly afflicts dogs and cats.

A disease of concern that can be caused by fleas is flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), which is a severe allergic reaction to flea bites. Some pets are so allergic that even a single bite can cause a reaction. FAD makes pets miserable. In severe cases, it can cause severe itching and inflammation that, if left untreated, can lead to excessive scratching and chewing that can damage the skin. Secondary bacterial or fungal infections can develop as a result.

Fleas can also play a role in transmitting parasites, such as tapeworms, and bacterial diseases, such as cat scratch fever (bartonellosis), to humans.

Finally, in very severe infestations, particularly in old, ill, or young animals, fleas can remove so much blood through feeding that they can weaken the animal.

Fleas are prevalent throughout the United States. They prefer warm, humid conditions, so infestations are typically worst during mid to late summer and early fall. In some parts of the country, they can be a significant problem year round. Even during the cooler months, fleas can survive very well indoors once an infestation has been established.


Ticks are not insects, but they are closely related to spiders, scorpions, and mites. There are approximately 80 tick species found in the United States, but only a handful of them are of real concern to pets and people. Some of these include the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), and the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis). The brown dog tick is the only species that can complete its entire lifecycle on a dog and can infest homes and kennels.

Tick bites can be painful and irritating, but the real concern with ticks is the number of serious diseases they can transmit, such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These diseases can cause significant illness and even death in both pets and people.

Ticks are found in virtually every region of the United States. They are most prevalent in the early spring and late fall, although some species are well adapted to temperature extremes and can be found any time of year. In general, however, they prefer dark, moist, brushy places in which to lay their eggs.

Flea and tick prevention is very important for the health of your pet and your family. The best way to ensure the prevention of flea and ticks is to treat your pet year-round. It is relatively inexpensive, but the costs add up for Last Hope because we treat all of our dogs and cats. In order to help us continue to keep our animals pest-free, please donate HERE.

Julia Black


Allie came to us after her health issues caused the breeder who had her to relinquish her. She’s been with us for nearly a year now. Her foster mom has been helping to cover her expenses but even with that help Last Hope has still spent nearly $2,500 on Allie’s care. But as Allie’s foster mom told me “she has repaid {us} in love many times over!”

Allie came to Last Hope foster care in January of 2014. She was a breeder girl who, because she Allie1developed diabetes, the breeder released her. She spent the first almost 6 years of her life in a cage having puppies. She was in such rough shape, underweight and her diabetes was not regulated at all. Her blood panel was all out of whack. The vet had suggested doing the Cushings test and having an ultrasound done to make sure she didn’t have any tumors. We did an ultrasound and did not find any tumors but her adrenal glands and liver were enlarged so they also suspected the Cushings Disease. She also found a heart murmur she thinks it may be a leaky aortic valve. Not a problem now but will want to watch as she gets older.

Cushings Disease means that her body produces to much of the hormone Cortisol. In abnormally high amounts, cortisol thins the pet’s skin and increases hair shed leading to baldness. It can even cause deposits of calcium to form in the skin.

We aren’t sure if the Diabetes caused the Cushings or vice versa. She had no hair on her ears or tail and the hair she did have was very fine/thin. We were also having a hard time controlling the diabetes and that is a sign of the Cushings Disease.

First thing we did was get the diabetes regulated and try to get some weight on her. She is on a Denamarin Chew daily. The insulin is Novalin NPH 2.5 units twice a day. She just had her Spay, dental surgery and a growth removed at Anamosa last month and she has had 5 or 6 ACTH Stim test to measures if her Cushings meds are working. She will need another one of those tests next month.

Allie Before & After Oct 2014She loves to be held and follows me around all over. She will lay next to my chair when I’m working in the office and will also follow my pups. She’s such a happy little girl and will always potty outside, she has figured that out. I keep the diaper on her because she does tend to have accidents if I don’t get her out in time or if she drinks a lot of water due to the diabetes and Cushings.

Reading all this she sounds like a total wreck but looking at her she is such a happy little girl. She will paw at you to pet her and nudges you with her nose to make sure you are still there. She will run around the house and tilt her little head listening if she looses track of where I went & she LOVES FOOD!

Crystal Black

As you can see from the before and after picture, Allie has made an amazing transformation. With out the love her foster mom provided and the support from Last Hope this little girl may never have gotten this chance. To help support Last Hope donate here today. Help dogs like Allie get their second chance!

Bordetella or Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is most often caused by the Bordetella virus that is easily passed from dog to dog through the air. Just like the human cold, Bordetella is very contagious so it is very important to get your dog vaccinated against it, especially if your dog is around other dogs on a regular basis.

kennelBordetella will cause a dry, hacking cough that appears about three to seven days after the dog is infected. It sounds as if the dog needs to clear its throat and is triggered by any extra activity or exercise.

Many dogs that acquire the virus will cough every few minutes, all day long. They generally will not run a fever or have a loss of appetite but the constant coughing is irritating to both the dog and the dog’s family. The illness lasts about 7 to 21 days and the vast majority of dogs will recover without need for medication.

Last Hope always vaccinates its dogs against Bordetella because, although it’s rarely fatal, it is very unpleasant for the dog and it is so easily transmitted.

Help us continue to vaccinate against Bordetella by donating here.

Julia Black