This is a story of possibilities.
Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids teamed with the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Madison to offer a rescued pit bull puppy a chance at survival. Poseidon, featured in a Gazette story on Jan. 16, was attacked by another dog when he was seven weeks old.
He was rescued by Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue and initially was treated for injuries at Eastern Iowa Veterinary Specialty Center in Cedar Rapids. Due to the severity of his complications, Critter Crusaders transported him to UW-Madison Veterinary Hospital where he underwent what turned out to be groundbreaking surgery.
Due to his massive neck injuries, Poseidon developed strictures, a type of scar tissue that closed off his esophagus. He could not swallow food of any kind. UW doctors performed a procedure that had never been performed anywhere in the Midwest. Doctors inserted a self-inflating balloon esophageal tube into Poseidon’s neck and a gastric tube into his stomach.
Jan Erceg, medical coordinator for Critter Crusaders, explained that this new balloon esophageal tube was only recently developed by the Animal Medical Center in New York City. Now, doctors are monitoring Poseidon to see if the strictures flatten out.
This technology could change the way animals with esophageal strictures are treated.
But the cost to give Poseidon a fighting chance at survival is steep.
“We are over the $15,000 mark on Poseidon. He is the most expensive animal in our 10 year history, but worth every penny,” Erceg said.
Poseidon is not the only animal to benefit from Critter Crusaders and their caring volunteers.
“We provided homeless shelter and rescue pets close to 500 medical appointments, surgeries, diagnostics, cancer and heartworm treatment, eye surgery, CT scans, ultrasounds, dental and emergency treatment and advanced diagnostics for illness and injury in 2017,“ Erceg said. “I believe our animal medical assistance averaged out to a new pet every 2.5 days for the year.”
Gazette subscribers and Farmers State Bank also played a role in Poseidon’s story of hope. Critter Crusaders was one of the not-for-profit organizations recognized in the annual Gazette Gives Back program, sponsored by Farmers State Bank. This campaign allows subscribers to nominate non-profit organizations and their votes ultimately determine which organizations will receive free advertising in The Gazette.
This year, Critter Crusaders had their most successful Mardi Growl Gala event. Erceg attributes that success to the generosity of donors, many of whom responded to ads placed as part of the Gazette Gives Back program.
Although Poseidon is still at UW Madison recovering, he is doing extremely well and the prognosis is great. The doctors believe that the tube has been an amazing success. On March 22nd, Poseidon had the esophageal balloon removed and his doctors say that the size of the strictures had been dramatically reduced. Poseidon is eating soft food again for the first time since his injury and is gaining weight. He is even able to play with toys donated to him by UW Madison staff.