Every year, we have multiple medical cases come through our clinic in need of corrective surgery or medical treatments. This past year, there was an adorable puppy that stands out to me and his need of a life-saving operation. His name is Goliath.
Daisy and I are walking in honor of Goliath's triumph.
Goliath and his siblings were where all quite skinny when they arrived to ARF. Goliath was the smallest puppy his litter, often know as the runt of the litter. When we fed him his first meal of Purina ONE Puppy kibble, he immediately regurgitated his food. Knowing how hungry he was, I fed him small bites of Purina ONE Puppy canned food, and he was able to keep his meal down. Our veterinary team wasn’t sure if he regurgitated the kibble because he ate his meal quickly or if there was an underlining medical problem causing him to regurgitate his food.
The ARF veterinary staff recommend that he continued to have small, frequent meals of canned food, bites at a time. As well as keeping him in an upright position for 15 minutes after eating. Our Animal Care team enjoyed the extra puppy time they were able to have after feeding him by carrying him around in a baby bjorn! Goliath LOVED being toted on.
After a couple of days, there was a team member who made a special feeding station for him, cutting out a spot for his food bowl on a step stool to have him eat in the upright position, no longer having to hand feed him. When I was given the opportunity to feed him he knew exactly what to do! He followed the stool and kept stepping on it until I got his food ready. He ate like a champ!
Of course he came in when our x-ray wasn’t working, and thanks to our partners at VCA, we were able to take him to one of their hospitals for our staff to take some much needed diagnostic x-rays. We had to administer oral barium for a contrast study, luckily he likes to eat and he ate this milky white contrast fluid in his food! Good puppy! The barium x-ray study confirmed our suspicions that he has a mega-esophagus! Here is a mark up of his x-rays before and after her received the barium. You can see that there is a "pool" of barium at the mark of the abnormal arrow, this is where is esophagus expanded, hence mega-esophagus.
Based off of his x-rays we knew what the next step had to be, a CT scan with our partners at SAGE. The CT scan confirmed our veterinary team’s theory that he had a pair of conditions, one that he was born with called Persistent Aortic Arch (PRAA) causing a mega-esophagus. This means his heart valve had grown around his esophagus, constricting the esophagus and preventing all of his food from getting down to his stomach.
The birth defect of the PRAA needed a costly life-saving surgical intervention to correct, and thanks to donors like you, Goliath was able to have that surgery at SAGE. Surgeons performed a full thoracotomy, opening his chest on the operating table, in order to remove the constricting arch of his heart and allow food to travel freely down his esophagus. Luckily, surgery was a success, saving his precious little life. Without this surgery, he would not have been able to continue to grow into adulthood and find his forever family. He may need to continue to eat in an upright position for the rest of his life, at least he no longer will have the constriction that kept the food from traveling to his stomach to absorb the much needed nutrients.
I was lucky enough to have seen him with his loving family for a recheck appointment in the clinic post adoption and he is growing into a handsome dog!
We are lucky to have an amazing group of foster homes to help with these medical cases. As you know, I have been a part of the foster support at ARF, that is why I joined the foster fundraising team this year. Little Goliath had and amazing foster, ARF's very own Development Coordinator, Lynn. She provided the much needed TLC, and transport to and from SAGE for his surgery and a few follow up appointments. When you work at ARF, you are a part of an amazing team that are in it to save lives, connect hearts, and inspire learning. I hope you learned a bit from Goliath's story and how your contributions truly saves lives!
Please help ARF continue their life saving work with a contribution to mine and Daisy’s fundraising Pet Walk.
With Gratitude, Jennifer and Daisy
ARF has received Charity Navigator's highest 4-star rating for ten years running, an assurance to donors of careful stewardship. Only 1% of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive at least nine consecutive 4-star evaluations.