CHARLIE (Chihuahua)

BEAUFORT, SC.......As most of you already know, I rarely post for a dog the day the dog arrives.  If I suspect this is an abuse or neglect case that has individuals that can be charged, I slow down to make sure I have all the facts.  Charlie is one of those cases.   She is an adorable six-year-old chihuahua that was brought into one of our Vets in Beaufort, SC.  She had been attacked by a Rottweiler a week prior.  Her upper jaw and the nasal area was crushed, and one of her legs was broken.


The story appears to change daily about who was with the dog, but from what I can understand, the Owner was out of town, and the dog was left with Family members.  A stray Rottie attacked Charlie while on a leash in the front yard.   Her brother was able to get the small dog away from the other dog but not before irreparable harm was done.


No one took Charlie to the Vet after the accident or called Animal Control.   Charlie's upper jaw and teeth are broken.  Most of her hard palate is crushed and non-functional.   There is a large hole going from the nasal area into the roof of the mouth.  After a week with no medical care, the upper jaw is infected and necrotic along with the leg.


I called Animal Control and gave them the information so they could follow-up.  At one point, we were told a Police Report was filed, but that never happened.  One report said the Owner was out of town and the other said she was in town.  Right now, I am focusing all of my attention on saving this tiny six-pound chihuahua.  


The pictures and x-ray I initially received were devastating.  How could anyone allow a dog in this much pain and suffering be left without medical care?  At the very least, Animal control should have been called to end her suffering by euthanizing if they could not afford medical care.  


There are so many scenarios that would have saved this dogs leg and part of the upper jaw, but nothing was done.   After about four days, the tissue dies that does not have a blood supply and becomes necrotic.   Bacteria take over the wounds and start eating away the healthy tissue.  That does not even begin to describe the unimaginable pain, suffering, and shock this poor dog is in.  


Charlie was taken to CVRC in Charleston, SC where the ER Team proceeded to stabilize her as best they could.  Every Specialist known to man was contacted to determine if anything could be done to save Charlie.  The mouth, jaw, and nasal cavity are each compromised.   The leg has to be removed because it cannot be repaired and is infected.  Our biggest surprise was seeing Charlie eating a slurry of food with her mouth destroyed.  She is also able to drink water.  It doesn't look pretty, but with pain meds, she is figuring it out.  


Sweet does not begin to describe Charlie's personality. Through the pain and suffering, she will wag her tail and attempt to kiss you.   Everyone at the hospital did not see a good outcome for this sweet pup.   I have seen dogs in worse shape, and with the help of incredible Specialists, they were saved and lived beautiful lives.  I was willing to do the same with Charlie.  If she survived a week in this condition, then I was going to do everything in my power to give her back her Life.


Dr. Collin Wolff was the surgeon on call for Charlie.  He and I discussed a lot of scenarios and decided exploratory surgery was her best bet.   Four hours later, he came out of surgery with a smile on his face and optimism in his voice.  All broken teeth and jaw were removed.   He was able to salvage part of the hard palate in the back.   The nasal area was no longer functioning, but Charlie could breathe fine through her mouth without any obstruction.  


A fistula had formed that went from the oral cavity to the nasal area.  The area was debrided with the hope the body would heal on its own in this area.  If the fistula did not close, we would surgically close it in a couple of weeks.  We chose not to put a feeding tube in since Charlie had learned how to eat and drink.  We removed Charlie's mangled leg since it was infected and broken.


We are now waiting to see how Charlie does with all of the surgery she had.   She has already started to eat but is unsure about what happened to the front two inches of her upper jaw and nose.  Her nose is basically sitting there with skin and no structural bone.   Her lower teeth and jaw are jutted out and catch the skin of her nose but she is learning to move it away.  Charlie is not out of the woods, but we have made incredible progress from where she was a week ago.  


I feel for the woman that Charlie belonged too.  There is a lot of misinformation floating around, and I am waiting to see what Animal Control finds out from their investigation.  Charlie was signed over so we could save her Life. The circumstances that allowed her to be attacked is not something we can let her go back to.   The dog she once was is the not the dog she is now and will need extensive medical care for the next six months.   


Charlie needs for everyone to donate something so we can stay on top of her surgeries and critical care.   Saving her was a huge undertaking. It took a lot to say yes when I knew her bills could break us.   I always say if we are broke, it will be from saving one last dog but never from turning our backs on one.   Please, Donate whatever you can to keep this ship afloat and Charlie getting the intensive care she needs. 

September 19, 2019 by Jennifer Smith