A Holiday Story

About a year ago, a local family found a little Chihuahua running the streets of Lakewood. Despite searching far and wide, they had no success finding his original family. With compassion in their hearts, the family decided to take him in as one of their own, naming him Papi. They didn’t know anything about his history, where he came from, if he had vaccines or anything else. But, they did know he was sweet.

Eventually, the family decided they needed to bring him in for veterinary care because they noticed that he had trouble going to the bathroom. During his exam we discovered a number of health issues including severe dental disease and the source of his bathroom issues, a hernia common to unneutered older dogs.

Since one of their other pets was already in the hospital, they decided to schedule the surgery for Papi a few weeks down the road. Unfortunately for poor Papi, the day he came in for surgery we found a perforation of his large intestine, which uncommonly accompanies this type of hernia. The risk of surgery and the chances for proper healing and survival dramatically changed in this moment. Knowing the increased risk, he underwent surgery that day.

Although the initial surgery went well and Papi went home as planned, he returned four days later because his incision site had broken down in the colon. He underwent a second emergency surgery that day. At that time, we decided to hospitalize him for a week so that we could monitor him closely and provide IV antibiotics and pain medications. The next day there were more complications, he was unable to urinate due to tissue entrapment and severe inflammation. A late night conversation with his family led us to schedule an exploratory surgery the next day. After all that, Papi had been through, the family decided if there was any indication that he was not going to heal well from the third surgery they were going to have to face a very difficult decision of euthanasia.

The next day, he went under anesthesia one last time. Luckily, we had been using the therapy laser three times a day on the incision site to help the tissue heal. This time during surgery, the tissue was healthier and we were more optimistic that he would recover. He pulled though. Papi stayed in the hospital for another week. His treatments were intense. Throughout it all, he kept a very brave attitude and was so sweet that he melted all of our hearts. His family visited daily and they had a special request for us to read his favorite book to him at bedtime.

After 11 days of worry, eight days in the hospital, and three surgeries, Papi was able to go home. We hope this success story reminds people of the many health benefits of neutering. This situation was preventable if he had been neutered as a puppy. We are honored to have been able to help Papi, and grateful that his family and our staff were willing to sacrifice so much to help him recover.