At only five-months-old, Dottie should be spending time with her owner, enjoying lots of puppy cuddles and running around causing mischief as she navigates her way in the world.
But instead, she’s currently recovering from brain surgery after suffering from nasal dermoid sinus, a condition she was likely born with.
As owners who dote on our furbabies, the thought of them becoming unwell is heartbreaking, and like Dottie’s owner Keely Noble, we’d do absolutely everything we could for our dogs, and that includes facing hefty vet bills.
And while we know we’ll experience a few dalliances with our vets at some point, it’s not something you might expect so early on in a pup’s life.
But that is something Dottie’s owner has had to deal with, as well as worrying about her beloved dog while she goes through a harrowing operation, one that could have cost her her life.
After getting the call she’s been waiting for to say she can bring home her furbaby, we spoke to owner Keely all about her precious pet and the ordeal she’s had to go through in her short life.
After picking up her dog in February of this year, Dottie was the latest animal to be added to the family’s brood. They’re obviously big animal lovers and already had a Labrador, as well as cats and a parrot.
It was while introducing Dottie to her other pets that Keely first became aware of the condition. She’d been scratched on the nose by one of the cats.
Keely said: “We were doing lots of introductions with the animals and about six weeks ago, one of the cats scratched Dottie on the nose because Dottie was getting a little bit too close to her and we weren't quite quick enough to intervene.
“She had the scratches and then, like a little bump, and the bump just gradually got bigger and bigger.”
Suspecting it was an abscess, Keely took Dottie to her local vets who then prescribed anti-inflammatory medication.
This didn’t work so she soon found herself back at the vets where she was given more anti-inflammatory medication as well as antibiotics.
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But things soon took a turn for the worse which led to Dottie being rushed to an emergency vet.
Keely said: “A couple of nights after that, Dottie was hot and panting.
"Her nose and eyes and mouth were just pouring with this mucus. And she was choking on it and what they call reverse sneezing and she's just like in my arm limp.
“And I just said to Steve, she's dying, she's dying.”
After doing x-rays and treating her for an infection, Dottie was then referred to the Royal Veterinary Hospital where CT scans and further tests revealed she was suffering from nasal dermoid sinus, a rare condition that meant her brain fluid was leaking into her facial structure and causing an infection.
The cat scratch turned out to be just a coincidence.
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Keely added: “We kind of almost feel like we've been cheated out of a lot of her puppyhood, you know because she's got all this to deal with. And bless her, she would have been in pain.”
Experts at the Royal Veterinary Hospital informed Keely that Dottie would need to have an operation, but worryingly, she was told that there was only a 50% chance of survival with there being a risk of a stroke or brain damage.
Treatment, including this surgery, was going to cost Dottie’s owners more than £7,000. And with insurance only covering them up to £3,500, they were going to have to foot the bill themselves.
But while facing a pretty eye-watering bill, Keely told us how there was no question that Dottie was going to have the surgery.
She said: “She's five months old, she's our little baby. There's no question, we've got to give her a fighting chance.
“There was no decision. We will find the money.”
And with the operation only having a 50% chance of survival, this must have been a worry. But the alternative wasn’t an option.
Keely added: “She could die if she has the surgery but she will die if she doesn't.”
After having her life-saving surgery, Dottie is now recovering in the care of the Royal Veterinary Hospital and is due to come home tomorrow.
Speaking about her treatment, Keely was full of praise for the experts.
She said: “I can't say enough about them, they were absolutely fantastic. They phoned us every morning, every evening, sometimes in between as well.
“They've given us updates, given her a little walk, that's just been amazing. So, as much as we were so anxious not knowing if she was going to live or die, they really put our mind at rest.”
To help fund the operation, Keely has set up a GoFundMe page for Dottie and has already received more than £3,000.
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While she is thankful for the donations and is still looking to raise more money towards the cost of the operation, Keely did stress that if people want to share their support but can’t afford to donate, that she loves reading the well-wishes.
She said: “We know the world's crazy, if you can't afford it then please honestly just send us a photo of your dog to make us smile.
“That's kind of what got us through a lot of days. We just had thousands of messages with people sending in photos of their dog.”
To donate to Dottie’s operation, visit https://uk.gofundme.com/f/save-dottie-fund and to follow her recovery, Keely has set up a Facebook group.
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