PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Nearly all of his fur is gone. His skin is red and covered with sores. His feet are swollen twice their normal size. He's a mixed-breed pup that was found on the side of a road in Ascension Parish.
"A girl who fosters for us…found him on the evening of the storm [last week]," Trevor Reeves, America's Dog Pit Bull Rescue, explained. "He had been wandering around the area uncared for."
Up close, his condition was worse than first believed. The woman picked him up, took him home, and called Reeves for assistance. The next day they took the dog to the Cypress Lake Animal Hospital for evaluation.
"He has a condition called demodex mange," Dr. Elizabeth Brown, the veterinarian who treated the dog, said. "It's a kind of genetic condition that is a severe skin condition. His form is very severe. He has almost no hair all over his body. His feet were bleeding. If left untreated, this skin just continues to get worse. They just scratch until they bleed."
Although his exterior was difficult to look at, his disposition earned him the name Sweet Baby Prince.
"He was very quiet and shy, but very affectionate and sweet," Dr. Brown said. "We let him walk around and he immediately went over to a blanket and curled up. He just wanted to give me kisses."
Hopefully that sweet nature will never change, but his condition most certainly will.
"It can look a lot more disturbing than it is to treat," Dr. Brown noted. "While the treatment isn't intensive, it is long term."
It will take several months before Prince begins to look like a normal dog.
"The reality is that with three or four months of T.L.C., he'll be a gorgeous dog," Reeves said. "He's not going to look like the same dog. He'll look like a show dog."
Most dogs with this condition, however, never make it to that point in the recovery. Those picked up by animal shelters are often euthanized.
"Unfortunately it's not something super expensive to deal with, but it takes a long time, so it's something that shelters do not want to deal with," Reeves explained. "The shelters deal more with triage. They take on the immediate needs. The do not have the time or the money to deal with long-term care."
Because it causes the dogs with this condition tend to look dirty or injured, it can be difficult to get them adopted.
"Unless rescue groups come and save them, there's a shortage of people and funds to manage these dogs," Dr. Brown noted.
Prince may have been abandoned, but now he's saved from his painful conditions. More so, he's helping all of the other dogs that need help, too.
"A dog like this will pay for the treatment of a bunch of other dogs," Reeves said about a fundraising account set up to pay for Prince's medical bills. "Everything we make goes towards the dogs. Some dogs do not generate any funds. In this case, all the money left over will go to the next dog and the next issue."
Eventually, Prince will become a King at his "forever home."
"Technically, he could be adopted out now, but it would have to be someone we trusted regarding continuing his treatment," Reeves said. "If you stop treating him it will get worse."