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Life-saving surgery brought back Red's spark

Red is all heart in his tiny little package! This 10-year old Pomeranian brings so much joy to everyone he meets.

A few months ago Red’s family was sure that it was his time to cross the rainbow bridge. He seemed to have lost his zest and was declining. It turned out that he was sick, but he wasn’t ready to go yet. With help from Mission Animal Hospital’s Advanced Surgery Practice, Red is back to acting like a puppy!

“We’re so grateful to Mission and everything you did,” Red’s mom, Beth, said about the life-saving surgery Red received.

Red came to live with his family six years ago, and quickly became a beloved companion to Beth and her husband, Jeff. As empty nesters, they think of him as their baby now, and he brings them so much comfort and happiness. Red is well known in their neighborhood too, from daily walks with Beth and Jeff.

Red had always been a pretty healthy dog, but last year Beth started to notice that he wasn’t feeling well—he was lethargic, not eating much, vomiting, showing signs of abdominal discomfort. A visit to his primary veterinarian revealed that little Red had an abnormal gallbladder.

The gallbladder stores bile that is produced by the liver, helping with digestion and the absorption of nutrients from food. Red’s gallbladder had become inflamed (cholecystits) and partially clogged due to abnormal changes in its lining and thickening of the bile (gallbladder mucocele). This prevented bile from moving normally into the intestine. Ultimately, this process can lead to a life-threatening buildup of toxins in the body, severe liver damage, and even gallbladder rupture.

The only solution for this condition was a specialized surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy), which is performed by specialists and is expensive. As much as they love Red, Beth and Jeff were heartbroken to realize that they couldn’t afford to help him.

For a while, Red lived a relatively normal life after his diagnosis, but before too long, he became incredibly sick. But the specialized surgery still just wasn’t feasible for Red’s family, and Red’s condition only seemed to be worsening. Beth truly thought it may be time to relieve his suffering by helping him cross the rainbow bridge.

But then, one night, Red had a burst of energy. Beth felt he was trying to tell her: it wasn’t yet his time.

And Beth found Mission Animal Hospital’s Advanced Surgery Practice, where, thanks to Mission’s commitment to accessible veterinary care, the surgery to remove Red’s gallbladder was affordable for Red’s family.

When Red arrived at Mission for his surgery, he was showing signs of how sick he’d become. His skin and the whites of his eyes were yellow in color—a classic sign of jaundice. Dr. Heather Hadley, an experienced board-certified veterinary surgeon, performed the surgery. It was one she’d done many times before, and one that she says can completely change the outcome for pets diagnosed with gallbladder disease.

Red’s surgery went well, and now, Red is like a puppy again, according to Beth! He’s playing more than he has in years and is interacting with his family, other dogs, and neighbors. He goes for walks with Beth and Jeff four times a day.

“It’s a whole new chapter for us,” Beth said.

Mission Animal Hospital is proud to have provided the accessible veterinary care that saved Red’s life and brought his spark back!


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