This little guy was found scrounging around a gas station - the attendant said he'd been hanging around for several days. He was extremely skinny and appeared to be looking for food. When a good Samaritan opened her car door, he jumped right in, as if to say "will you take me home with you?" He was covered in fleas and ticks, but still as sweet as could be. After a bath to get rid of the fleas and ticks, they tried to feed him a little bit, but he seemed to choke on it and threw it back up. They contacted us for help and we of course authorized veterinary care for him.
He was severely emaciated and, based on his initial blood work, had an infection and was anemic. Xrays showed what appeared to be an obstruction in his throat which was preventing him from swallowing food. We immediately took him to an internal medicine specialist who did an endoscopy and diagnosed an esophageal stricture, a growth in his throat which almost closed his throat. This was causing the vomiting when he tried to eat, and based on the sound of his lungs, he has apparently aspirated food into his lungs and contracted pneumonia at some point. The opening in his throat is so small that the scope could not pass it, so there is no way, without further procedures, to know the extent of the damage to his throat. It will require a fluoroscopy to determine the size and extent of the stricture, and then balloon procedures to try to compress the stricture to make food passable.
We have devised a way to get some food into him (a gruel-type mixture of prescription food thinned with Ensure) which takes time and patience to be sure that he doesn't eat too fast and throw it up or aspirate it into his lungs. He is a smart little guy and has learned the procedure and cooperates very well. He only weighed 37 lbs when he was found, but has gained 5 lbs using this feeding measure for a week. We have named him Wes, after the vet who initially treated him.
In order to get him the treatment he needs, Golden Angels are needed to help us pay for the procedures. Initial estimates are upwards of $5,000 for the ballooning, and over $1500 for the initial fluoroscopy.
You could not ask for a sweeter guy and he is so appreciative of the care and attention he is being given. He has even learned what toys are. In the words of our mission statement, he is simply hoping for a "second chance at a loving life."
Thanks to the support of his Golden Angels, Wes is receiving the best of care at North Georgia Specialty Clinic and the University of Georgia Vet School. Not only is he receiving excellent care, but they are good stewards of Wes' money and have kept costs as low as possible. The hope is to be able to open his esophagus enough so that he can eat as close to normally as possible by stretching the opening with increasing sizes of balloons. In addition, one of the veterinarians there is taking him home between treatments so he does not have to be hospitalized continuously and can enjoy being in a family atmosphere, plus it saves us the cost of a hospital stay. All of the veterinarians caring for him have goldens of their own and he has stolen everyone's heart wherever he goes.
Please continue your prayers and support for this sweet boy. He is so appreciative of all that is being done for him.
Wes has spent the last 3 weeks back at his foster home. After his second ballooning procedure, he developed an abscess in a lymph node on his neck, which later ruptured. After several weeks of antibiotic treatments, we had to go in surgically and abrade the area to remove all infection, and the area has now healed.
While home, he has gained weight (though he still has a long way to go) and has gotten stronger. He is feeling much better and enjoys playing tug-of-war with the other dogs and snuggling with his foster parents. He loves to go for rides in the car and now expects to go every time his foster mom leaves to run errands. When he doesn’t get to go (like when it’s too hot) he comes running to the door to say “hello” (usually with a toy in him mouth) when she gets home.
He is becoming more and more like a “normal” dog, except for his eating. Because of the stricture, he can only eat a thin gruel type food that can easily slide down his throat. Initially he was eating a prescription diet but he has now graduated to a mixture of canned puppy food and Ensure nutrition supplement blended to make it smooth. When the last ballooning procedure was done, a feeding tube was inserted so that we could supplement his feeding. This is working well and he is feeling so well that he “demands” that he be able to eat the food orally rather than through the feeding tube. His appetite is great and he is fed 4-5 times a day.
The ballooning procedures have not produced the results we had hoped for, so the next step will be to take him back to the UGA Vet School for more tests and possible procedures through their Soft Tissue specialists.
As always, Wes appreciates the support of his Golden Angels to give him this second chance at a normal, loving Golden Life. The fight is not over by any means, and with your support, he is ready for battle!!