UPDATE: Dexter is now in surgical recovery! Please read the story below for the original situation and then head over to the Updates page to read the current status! Donations are still open for his complicated surgical recovery! Links are above – thank you!
My name is Jamie, and this is a short story about my dog, Dexter. He’s a longhaired miniature dachshund who is consistently rated Most Unusually Sweet Dachshund by everyone he meets, and in late February 2015, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Before explaining further, I would like to immediately clarify that our home is now stable, happy, and safe. It is just me, Dexter, and my cat, living just outside Boulder, Colorado. We are very happy now, except for Dexter’s incomplete recovery from this terrible incident.
A situation had been escalating within my home for a few weeks. My now-ex had begun drinking in secret and things were quickly going from bad to worse. Through no fault of his own, Dexter received one accidental kick in the butt. He would usually be underfoot, as small dogs tend to be, but in a normal situation, that’s okay. With the increase in yelling and arguing and stomping around the house, 6-year-old Dexter had been lying low for the most part. I didn’t see what happened, as I work full-time. I only saw the aftermath.
He woke us in the middle of the night crying in pain. His rear end had swelled to an incredible size, and he spent several minutes crawling into my arms for comfort. I rushed him to the vet as soon as they opened.
Dr. Collins first thought it was a perineal hernia, although a very severe one, based on the size of the swelling. In fact, I authorized this reconstructive surgery by planning on emptying my bank account and borrowing money from my mom, just barely scraping it all together. However, when Dr. Collins shaved Dexter for the procedure, he discovered the awful bruise to indicate this was not a normal hernia.
We tried what I could afford, with Dr. Collins of Louisville Family Animal Hospital being a true hero to me in this awful situation. (I ended up filing for a protection order the same day Dexter was getting his surgery, but that is another story – this is about Dexter.) So the first procedure was to drain the fluids, placing drains in each side of his rear end that stayed in for over a week, hoping to remove the fluid that had built up, and hope his body would heal.
It didn’t. I had to get him surgery just before Easter. This was a more elaborate procedure where the muscle and tissue were sutured together. Staples closed up his incisions, and he was back on the mend.
But this is only the most basic of solutions to a perineal hernia, and unfortunately for Dexter, it wasn’t enough. His rectum had begun to protrude as a result of the injury, which was slow to heal whenever he strained to go to the bathroom. To make matters worse, the staples on the left side – which had already sustained more injury, as Dr. Collins saw during surgery – didn’t heal correctly, and a vestibule of air was trapped in the body, creating a painful area that still bothers him months later.
Dexter has been healing since April, and the evidence is now clear – he needs serious reconstructive surgery to fix his problem. He’s had numerous vet visits since, for one simple sad reason – he struggles to go to the bathroom, and since his rectum now has a divergent ‘kink’ in the end (from the protruding rectum coupled with the air pocket), feces can become trapped and compacted. When it is compacted, he literally cannot go. This results in a vet visit, an enema that requires sedation – because it hurts him so much when they do the procedure – and basically drains my meager savings immediately.
Over the last month in particular it’s become very clear to me that despite my efforts to get him on the perfect diet – to create an easy time for him to go, with soft poop that doesn’t get caught in the kinked up spot – there is absolutely no way he won’t have more problems. He still occasionally passes feces that cause him to whine in pain, simply because they have collected in this bent up part of his body, and became too firm to pass comfortably.
The surgical consultation was on Monday, July 27, after two vet visits in less than two months to give him enemas, all with failed attempts to regulate his diet and pain with medication. There are two parts to fix him: 1. Repair the herniated muscles with the second-level procedure which is preferred in this situation, but which I couldn’t afford in the first place. 2. Through an incision on his abdomen, literally move his colon and bladder upward within his body and suture them in place. This fixes the protruding rectum and straightens out the kinked-up intestinal tract, allowing him to go to the bathroom normally. This, also, is a standard option for a perineal surgery this severe.
I’ve explored so many financial options. I’m trapped under student debt, despite having a good steady job I can’t get approved for the usual CareCredit type financing, and the constant vet visits have reduced any savings I had to nothing. The estimate for this surgery start-to-finish comes in at a range of $5,298.88 – $6,152.50 [EDIT: I did get a discounted offer from the vet out of sympathy for my situation, and thus the goal is now $4.8k]. All funds will be used for surgical costs. The need to do this surgery is urgent, as there is no telling how much worse it will get or what day it could happen. I really need your help to give my dog back the life he deserves. Updates as to his condition can be found here.
This donate button goes directly to my PayPal account. All funds will be used toward the surgical costs for Dexter.
Recovery After-care Goal Bar (begun on 9/14/15):
Surgery Goal Bar (Note: Surgery costs were higher than estimated, thus accounting for the extra):