About Newf Friends

Newf Friends Newfoundland Dog Rescue is a volunteer run, foster home based rescue group for Newfoundland Dogs in need in Ontario, Canada.
We place Newfs into carefully screened homes in Ontario and surrounding provinces and states.

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Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for general information about our program and our adoption policies and procedures.



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mackenzie's Journey to Good Health



Sweet Mackenzie entered our program on September 22, 2010. An owner surrender, she was in rough shape when she arrived and has undergone extensive veterinary care to be restored to good health.

Having just turned 4, this pretty Newf has been through a tremendous amount in her life. Bred by a BYB breeder (not all CKC registered dogs are from reputable kennels!) she was sold to another unscrupulous breeder who used her as breeding stock repeatedly starting at a very young age. By the time she was purchased by her second family a year ago, she had already whelped 4 litters. She was only 3 years old.

Her last litter before being sold she was bred with a Great Dane. Many of you may remember the puppy Ella who came into our care in 2009, turns out she was one of the pups from that litter. Mackenzie is Ella's mom. The same woman who denied veterinary care to Ella and left her untreated with a horrible, rotting stump of a leg, also repeatedly bred Mackenzie and left her serious health conditions untreated as well, including cherry eye. When Ella was surrendered to us we tried to get Mackenzie as well, but the breeder refused to hand her over, and instead sold her to another family.

Mackenzie lived with her second family for the last year before they determined that they were not able to meet her needs and they opted to surrender her to us. Lucky for Mac, her days of being used as a brood bitch at the hands of a greedy BYB are over, and she has now been spayed.

Mackenzie is a small Newf, weighing 85 lbs. Being repeatedly bred at such a young age would have most certainly impacted her growth and development in the critical first 2 years of her life. She is an energetic girl who has not received adequate exercise in her life, and was lacking lean muscle mass. In the time she has been in the care of a Newf Friends foster she has already grown stronger, put on muscle and her fitness has improved greatly.


Health wise, there are several things we have addressed for Mackenzie. Like so many dogs living with greedy BYBs, she was denied the vet care and attention she so deserved. Suffering from cherry eye since she was 8 months old, her owner who repeatedly bred her to collect money, refused to pay to have corrective surgery done. She has lived with this condition for over 3 years.

Upon intake Mackenzie's eye had much green discharge and was very swollen. She was treated for a severe infection in her eye, and her eye has now been surgically corrected. Due to chronic inflammation and infections, the damage to her eye is extensive. In consultation with an ophthalmologist, it is expected that Mac may require two surgeries to correct the eye and save the tear duct. Mac had surgery on her eye on January 13 and we will know soon if the surgery was a success or if additional surgery will be needed.

Here she is recovering from surgery.


Mackenzie displayed stiffness and discomfort in her back end and x-rays have confirmed that she has bilateral hip dysplasia. Grade 4 HD in her left hip and grade 3-4 in her right. She is not a candidate for hip replacement. Her vet reports that her dysplasia is likely inherited, but can't rule out the possibility of traumatic injuries exacerbating her problems (such as being bred so young and mounted aggressively by a large Great Dane when she was still a growing puppy.) Mac gets along just fine though, and happily runs through the woods every day.



Using a regimen of specific exercises geared towards developing the muscles in her back end, it is expected that Mac will be able to maintain an excellent quality of life. Mac also has a stiff shoulder, but with a daily doses of Metacam (an nsaid) she is able to run and play happily. She has already shown great improvement in her mobility in foster care, and thoroughly enjoys her daily romps in the woods and swimming.


Her surrendering family reported that she has seasonal allergies resulting in hair loss. Upon examination at intake, volunteers discovered that rather than allergies, Mac had extensive flea-bite dermatitis, many lesions and crusty sores from chewing herself, large sections of hair loss also from chewing, significant evidence of flea bites all over her thighs and belly, and she was crawling with fleas. In obvious discomfort this poor girl was chewing herself raw. We treated her with the most effective flea meds available to bring her immediate relief and repeated treatment several times to get the infestation under control. Her skin infection from the flea bite dermatitis was so severe that she had a fever, had become anemic, and due to the anemia, had developed a heart murmur.

Once the fleas were gone, and antibiotics given to combat the infections, Mac improved greatly. Her coat has come in beautifully, she is no longer chewing herself, and she is blossoming into a lovely girl. After several weeks of treatment she was no longer anemic and was finally healthy enough for us to vaccinate her. On top of all of the other negligence in her health care, she was also not vaccinated.

It's important to note that many dogs react badly to flea bites, and just one flea bite can cause a severe allergic reaction which can lead to itchy skin, scabs and sores, dandruff and hair loss. Even if you can't see fleas (you will only see them if the infestation is bad) they can be present. Simple flea treatment will resolve the issue and bring your dog great relief from incredible discomfort caused by flea bite dermatitis. If you have a dog with these symptoms, please do not let your pet suffer, talk to your vet about flea treatment. Fleas can quickly reproduce and a serious infestation can develop resulting in life threatening infections.

Click the images to see in larger size. Above you can see hair loss along her chest from scratching flea bites. You will also see red areas covered in flea bites on her inner thighs, and again hair loss from licking.

Here you see hair loss around her thighs and vulva from chewing and licking. Her vulva is enlarged, from the irritation of licking herself and scratching.

Below shows the side view of her chest, showing the hair loss; the bottom picture shows hair loss along her legs as well.

If you see similar symptoms on your own dog, please go to the vet for flea treatment.

Below is Mackenzie after several hours of grooming, a bath and blow dry. She's all fluffed up and looking good!

Mackenzie has now been restored to good health. She enjoys an excellent quality of life, and is ready to finally find a loving home where she can have fun, get out and enjoy life and make up for all of the time she spent living in pain and misery with her previous owners.


Donations for Mackenzie's health needs can be made to our parent group, HART (see link to the right), with a note that the donation should be directed to the Newf Friends Fund for Mackenzie. Thank you for your support.