Saving Neko

Sylvester’s Haven rescued Neko from the Carson shelter in April 2016. Neko was dumped there by his owners of seven years. Unbelievable. He was sad and confused. Neko could barely move. He was dragging his hind legs and was erroneously diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy (DM) – a death sentence. This happened first at the shelter and subsequently at two regular veterinarians we took him too after we saved his life literally one day before it was too late.

With lots of love, care, special nutrition and supplements and physical therapy Neko got better and better, which was unusual for his condition. We decided to take him to a specialist and the Neuro- and orthopedic surgeons recommended an MRI as they did not believe Neko had DM given his improvements. The MRI showed Neko had intervertebral disc disease type 2; which is basically a degeneration of the discs.

Neko recently underwent surgery for this condition and is presently recovering. We need help covering his ongoing medical care, and upcoming physical therapy. Neko is strong and in good spirits. Please help if you can.

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Major Health Update 01-11-2017
Neko had spinal surgery just before Christmas to repair the degenerated discs in his back. Neko is recovering but presently can't feel his hind legs. This is normal and it will take up to six weeks past surgery to really know if the surgery was a success. Neko is happy to be home and recovering well. Today he got his staples removed and I continue to care for him as he recovers. Our special boy is doing as well as can be expected during this phase of his recovery. Many months of physical rehabilitation are ahead. We'll get him there. Check out all the Live videos we did during the last month. #SavingNeko #NekoGSD
Major Health Update 10-26-2016
We finally got the MRI results on Neko and they look very promising but require surgery.
The diagnosis is, Neko has Type II intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) in the cranial thoracic spine (T2­T3, T3­T4 and T4­T5) with marked cord compression.
Intervertebral discs are cushioning pads of fibrocartilage that sit between most of the vertebra of the spinal column. The discs have an outer layer of tough fibrous tissue and a center that is more of a gel-like substance. They act as shock absorbers for the bones called vertebra in the spinal column. Unfortunately, intervertebral discs are subject to degeneration, bulging outward, and even bursting or rupturing. When something goes wrong with a disc, the material inside escapes into the spinal column, pressing against the spinal cord or nerve roots, which causes pain, nerve damage, and sometimes, paralysis. This is the condition known as intervertebral disc disease or IVDD. This is what happened to our Neko.
There are two forms of IVDD in dogs -- Hansen Type I and Hansen Type II. Hansen Type I is the acute, explosive herniation of a disc. Hansen Type II IVDD involves a gradual progressive protrusion of disc material that affects non-chondrodystrophic breeds who are older, usually between the ages of 8 and 10. This form of IVDD is most commonly seen in German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Dobermans. Neko has IVDD Hansen Type II.
The treatment is surgery, followed by physical therapy of acupuncture, cold laser treatments and hydrotherapy. The fact that we have been doing all of these things already is probably a major contributor for Neko's overall good condition given his disease.
We are waiting for the final cost estimate but the expected treatment costs are approximately $10,000, which includes the physical therapy required after surgery.
We are still waiting for the genetic test on degenerative myelopathy (DM) but we know at this point that Neko's present condition is not DM. The test will only show if Neko has the gene that could cause DM at some point. This has no baring on the treatment Neko needs to get him well. #SavingNeko #NekoGSD
Health Update 10-05-2016
Neko is super happy today because I just told him that we finally can get the MRI done to figure out how to help him. Thanks to your generous donations we will finally know what treatment Neko needs. This is of course just for diagnostics at this point and the surgery will have to follow later but we're moving forward. Neko's MRI is scheduled for next week Thursday. Neko will have to be at the vet hospital for that whole day. I will take him there early in the morning and bring him home in the evening to keep his time away from home to a minimum. I'm sure he will need to rest from what will probably be a pretty stressful day for our sweet boy. But it is necessary. We should be able to provide an update by end of next week. #SavingNeko #NekoGSD
Health Update 08-20-2016
Major health update. If you follow Neko's story regularly, I'm sure you have noticed in his videos that Neko's ability to walk has steadily improved since we rescued him. We have attributed his improvements to our care, his food, his nutritional supplements and therapy. And while all these things continue to benefit Neko greatly it is atypical for a dog with generative myelopathy (DM) to actually get better in the way Neko did. Now that Neko is in a new foster home in California we were able to consult with additional specialists to take another look at his diagnosis. As you know Neko had been diagnosed with DM twice by two different veterinarians. However, those veterinarians were not specialists; they were general practitioners. We believe they did the best they could to determine his condition but it looks like they were both wrong.
On Monday, August 22 we took Neko to a neurologist and it would appear that Neko does not have DM afterall, which is great news! There is a DNA marker test that can tell us if Neko has the gene that can cause DM at some point in his life but there is no test that can conclusively determine if a dog has DM at the present time. The test is worth doing but it was developed for breeders to eliminate defective DNA lines and not as a diagnostic tool. The neurologist stated that it is highly unlikely that Neko's condition is caused by DM.
The main thing the neurologist recommended is an MRI to conclusively determine what is actually going on with Neko's spine. He suspects the most likely causes are a disk or a lumbar issue, both of which can be corrected surgically.
According to the neurologist Neko will be able to walk normally after surgery in either case. If it is a disc issue he will benefit greatly from the surgery in his mobility. His life quality will be dramatically improved. If it is a lumbar issue Neko could actually make a full recovery 🙂 So, to be able to finally determine what ails Neko we need to embark on this diagnostic approach and for that we once again need your help. The immediate need for full diagnostics is $3,500. We can't do it without you. Please help us finding out what we need to do to get Neko healthy.
This post is going out to all our social network profiles. The version on Neko's Facebook page contains a copy of the hospital estimate for the diagnostics.
Google+ Page: Neko's Collection
Thank you for your continued support from Neko, Ralf and all of us at Sylvester's Haven!!!
#NekoGSD #SavingNeko
Rescue Update 08-15-2016
Neko went on a road trip! He has moved to a new foster home in California and is now closer to additional services for his needs. He has joint another nice German Shepherd pack that keeps him active. His next therapy session is on Friday. Next week Neko will meet with a neurologist to discuss additional treatment options including stem cell therapy 🙂 We'll keep you posted.
#NekoGSD #SavingNeko
Fundraising Update 08-03-2016
I hope you are enjoying all the pictures and videos of our wonderful boy Neko (here or at As you can see he is working hard on staying strong. His therapy sessions, food, supplements and of course the loving care of his wonderful foster mom are making all the difference.
Thank you also for your generous support so far. We are running low on funds for his ongoing expenses and are asking for your support to keep him going strong. It would be so sad to have to stop the therapies for lack of funding. So to all friends of Neko. Please help us keeping his health program going. If you all chip in as little as $20 per person it will be a huge help. Neko will be so grateful to continue his routines.
#NekoGSD #SavingNeko
Health Update 04-25-2016
I spend a good part of the week researching degenerative myelopathy. As you know there is no cure. However from everything I've read targeted nutrition makes a world of difference with this disease. This means giving Neko a quality life for several years is possible. The normal life expectancy for Neko in his current condition without proper nutrition and therapy would probably be around six months. However the program I'm going to outline below can turn these 6 months into 3 to 4 years. So this is what I would like to do for Neko:
  • Hydro therapy treatments for mobility every two weeks ($200 per month)
  • Acupuncture for inflammation every two weeks ($200 per month)
  • Barf diet (raw food) ($200 per month)
  • Sanus Biotex targeted supplements for degenerative myelopathy ($70 per month)*
  • Noni fruit leather for immune support and natural parasite protection ($30 per month)
  • Medicinal mushrooms for support of the immune and nervous system ($70 per month)
That's a total of $770 per month and at this point we received donations to cover two months of this program.
To sustain this we need to raise $9,240 per year or $36,960 for four years, Neko's life expectancy given his condition. We will set up a go fund me campaign for this amount.
I have seen a lot of people on the Facebook page alone. If 400 people contribute $23 a person a year for four years we got it covered. Let's do this together!
* On Sanus Biotex: There are definitely mixed opinions out there regarding this product. Given the nature of the internet I am personally not sure if this supplement will help to do nothing. But the ingredients look interesting enough to give it a shot. We are adding additional supplements I know work well so we are not betting the farm on this one, We will adjust after 45 days based on what we are seeing.
Neko is now in is permanent foster home in Las Vegas and we are getting a second vet opinion as I don't trust the first vet's work.
#NekoGSD #SavingNeko
Rescue Update 04-20-2016
Neko is definitely happy to be in good hands. He is following his temporary foster mom everywhere and he is mobile, which is a good sign. He also got a full bath and grooming session yesterday. But he does have Degenerative Myelopathy which is incurable. From what I've read we can improve his mobility through nutrition. I included some reference links below in case you want to read more. Based on his symptoms he seems to be in the intermediate stage of this disease. Without any treatment life expectancy is only 3 to 6 months. However, with proper nutritional support it seems to be possible to significantly increase life quality, improve mobility and increase life expectancy to several years which is what we're going to try to do. I have already ordered several things for him which will arrive this week. While ultimately we have to try to get custom food cooked for him (I found targeted recipes for his disease). I also found some recommendations for commercial food that seem to be a good start in the meantime. For now he will be eating a breed specific German Shepherd food from Eukanuba, start taking noni fruit leather to combat the inflammation in his joints that DM comes with and start on a targeted nutritional supplement protocol called Santus Biotex. We also have a wheelchair for him which we hope he won't need to use as much but it is important to utilize it when he shows symptoms on his hind legs to not make it worse. He has to be on the new food and supplements for several days before we know if it makes a difference for him so we should have a better idea by middle of next week if we are on the right track with this approach. I will keep everybody posted.


Sanus Biotex:

#NekoGSD #SavingNeko
Health Update 04-18-2016
We took Neko to the vet today and it looks like he has Degenerative Myelopathy. This is a degenerative, neurological disease of the spinal cord and generally considered incurable. In my preliminary research I found some promising, newer treatment protocols that are worth exploring and we will do so. In the meantime Neko will need a wheelchair, diapers, and healthy food in addition to pain medication and nutritional support. Neko will stay with his temporary foster for about one week to get some rest and most definitely a bath. He has a hard time getting up and the shelter clearly let him sit in his own filth. Neko is currently resting. He is great with people and great with dogs. Very easy going and fun to have around. We will do what we can to make him as comfortable as possible. Even if we cannot improve his condition (and I have not resigned to that) he will be able to get around with his wheelchair and have as much of a good life as possible.
In about a week we will arrange transport to his permanent foster home in Las Vegas. We got really lucky with this new home. This foster has extensive experience with fostering special needs dogs with immobility.
You can expect the next update in three to four days but we will post more pictures in the meantime.
Thank you to everyone for honoring your pledges! It helps a lot.
#NekoGSD #SavingNeko
Rescue Update 04-17-2016
Today we rescued Neko from the Carson Animal Shelter. He is a about seven year old, unaltered, male German Shepherd. His former owners of five years abandoned this beautiful animal because they were moving. WTF. Absolutely disgusting!
We got him just in time as they would have killed him today. Neko is happy to be out but will need lots of medical help. The poor boy can't even walk. Our awesome foster had to make him a diaper and he is getting lots of love tonight. We will take him to a local vet tomorrow to begin the diagnosis of his leg/hip problems. We will keep you posted!
Thank you for honoring all your pledges at!!!
#NekoGSD #SavingNeko

Ongoing Expenses

Neko's Nutrition

Monthly Nutritonal Costs: $818
Neko's Physical Therapy

Monthly Nutritonal Costs: $440