I joked in the last blog about Staff problems not being Staffie problems - and guess what? I immediately get a real Staffie problem landing on my desk.
One of the stories waiting to be told was about Missy a five-week-old Staffie pup who has not had the best start.
Tailwaggers receives so many heart-wrenching requests - but I thought this one needs airing.
This email came in recently from the vets treating Missy.
"I am writing to you in respect of a fantastic Staffie pup called Missy, who is an inpatient here with us, and has been so brave.
"Missy is a 5 week old puppy who I delivered by Caesarian section, when her mum Tilly, developed problems. It turned out that a dead mummified foetus was blocking Tilly's uterine body, and Missy could not pass. She was the only other pup and possibly the largest newborn Staffie I have ever seen! She came out crying and has been a source of great joy to all concerned ever since.
"Tragedy struck when Missy's mum Tilly nipped her face one week ago, with no warning sign from Tilly that she would ever do so. Her owners rushed her in to me at the emergency clinic at 6am, with Missy having suffered severe blood loss, shock and serious facial injuries. I
repaired a large deficit at the front of her hard palate, which involved the palate itself and the nasal bones, which were crushed.
"The injury was more extensive and serious than initially suspected by her owner, and this new has come as a great shock. Missy has been an inpatient for all but one day since the trauma. As you can see from the notes (sent by post), she had an oesophagostomy tube placed to
allow adequate nutrition and she has been so brave. As she requires such intensive nursing, we have all become so very fond of her. She has been nibbling her teddy in the cage (and her carers too!)- she is showing no signs of pain. The operation site was checked on Thursday
by my colleague Paul, who placed the oesophagostomy tube, and seemed to be healing reasonably well.
"I sedated her this morning to check the op site for myself, and was devastated, but not entirely surprised, to find a different story. We had expected some post-op complications, but Missy had been very bright, her tube feeding working well, no fever etc, but she had been snorting a little more in the last 24hours. The cause became apparent this am-
50% of the sutured tissue has broken down and left a large deficit/gap. Some of the damaged bone has also died due to the crushing nature of the injury and reduced blood supply. We are essentially dealing with a non-congenital cleft palate.
"We (my vet colleagues and I) feel a specialist opinion is urgently needed, but this is outside the financial ability of the owner. As you will see from the notes I have sent by post, we have frozen her bill with us, and the owner has paid a considerable amount via cash and
cheque, both for the Caesarian section and Missy's treatment. I feel Missy may be offered the chance of an advancement flap, which is sometimes what a craniofacial surgeon can achieve for a child with a similar injury.
"Needless to say, this is conjecture on my part and the specialist may beg to differ. I am certain, however, that euthanasia is a strong possibility for Missy as we have taken this as far as we can here, at her regular vets.
"We wanted to enquire if you would be able to sponsor an initial consultation with a specialist? He/ she would be able to give us an accurate assessment of her prognosis. I am saddened that more specialists do not do pro bono work, but so it is.
"Missy's owner does work (night shifts, like myself) and is not PDSA eligible, but is on a low income. She is, I believe, a classic example of someone who really deserves to be PDSA eligible, like many people. (I do out of hours PDSA work).
I have spoken to my colleagues (vets, nurses, receptionists) who have all fallen madly in love with Missy and are reluctant to give up on her.
"I fully appreciate you will receive thousands of similar applications annually, and may be unable to support Missy's quest.
"I have only just heard of you (Veterinary Times)and wish you continued great support. As a practice, we pledge to contribute significantly to Missy's treatment, should she see a specialist, and receive the option for surgery."
"As a vet, I am supposed to be quite detached and pragmatic, but am finding this little gem of a pup a really tricky one.
"Many thanks, regardless of the outcome of our enquiry."
What do you think folks? Tailwaggers has already agreed to pay up to £200 towards the specialist, but I suspect they'll need quite a bit more than that.
How lovely to hear of a vet going that extra yard for a pup in their care and getting involved.
If anyone wants to help Missy see a specialist please donate to Tailwaggers or organise a sponsored walk (please email me for sponsor forms). To hear more about Tailwaggers click here - but you can post cheques payable to Tailwaggers Trust to Dogs Today if it's easier and we'll pass them on.