WSU Veterinary College Helps Pup With Birth Defects

NOTE TO MEDIA: Chelsea can be observed and photographed before and after surgery by calling Charlie Powell above. Photos also are available.

PULLMAN, Wash. — “Chelsea” is a 5-month-old, people-loving ball of fur, ears, and floppy feet and legs right now. The problem is her feet and legs aren’t supposed to be that way, and she is homeless. Veterinary surgeons at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine confirmed this week that the lively and unknowing springer spaniel was born with severe skeletal birth defects in three of her four limbs. Chelsea was originally relinquished by her owners to the Spokane Humane Society after they learned of her extensive medical needs. The SHS contacted WSU for the needed specialty care.

While she is in no distress, Chelsea’s situation is likely to worsen to immobility with age and without surgery.

“Chelsea is a special case,” said Dr. Anthony Cambridge, the WSU veterinary surgeon in charge of the dog’s upcoming surgeries. “While she does have these problems, there are established surgical procedures that can improve her condition. Hopefully, she can go on to have a better quality of life if we help her now. She is a completely correctable case that also represents an extraordinary teaching opportunity for our veterinary students who will assist and observe these important surgical techniques on a dog that truly needs help.

“Besides that, she’s an absolute sweetheart,” he added.

Cambridge also explained that the surgical procedures will cost the same as if they were performed anywhere else. The WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital has a small Good Samaritan Fund dependent on donations for cases like this. Similarly, the SHS’s Compassion Fund also has been tapped to help Chelsea.

“Together we’ve used our allotments for the initial examinations and diagnostic workup, including extensive medical imaging that will guide our surgical team. Any other help will need to come from the public’s willingness to help this little dog,” he said.

Planned with her surgeries is a spay. A few weeks after her surgeries, set to begin Monday, March 5, Chelsea will be returned to the SHS for adoption.

Donations to help Chelsea can be made to the Good Samaritan Fund, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7010, or to the Compassion Fund, Spokane Humane Society, P.O. Box 6247, Spokane, WA 99217-0904.

For anyone wishing to adopt Chelsea, the SHS is keeping a list, and forms can be obtained by calling 509/467-5235. To learn more about Chelsea and to observe her progress, log on to the WSU veterinary college’s Web site at