By Nicolas Fernandes
An animal lover raised $20,000 (£14kGBP) to save two dogs born without anuses and proved doctors wrong who said they needed to be put to sleep.
Tina Lythgoe, 46, of Sun Valley, California, USA, found the pups at animal shelters and was determined to get them the expensive surgeries needed to save their lives.
Vets told her that the best option was to euthanize Georgia, a five-month-old Pitbull, and Claireison, a six-month-old West Highland Terrier, who both have Atresia Ani.
The rare condition meant the pups bowel movements came from their genitals – a genetic abnormality caused by a digestive organ not communicating properly with a reproductive organ during birth.
Tina fundraised to afford surgery and even had to hunt down a board-certified vet able to perform the tricky procedure last year.
The surgeries involved creating anuses and reconnecting the tubes in their digestive systems so that their stool could come out the back normally.
Tina, the founder of the animal rescue nonprofit Josh and His Critters, said: “Both dogs seemed like they were in great condition as soon as the surgery was over.
“I’m sure they experienced some pain when it came out the back for the first time.
“I fed them several small meals a day and gave them laxatives so that they could survive while waiting for the surgeries.
“I had to make it possible for it to leak out of them, so they could survive.
“It’s a very rare surgery, but luckily I was able to find a board certified surgeon who did a very good job.
“I believe only five dogs and less than ten animals have had this surgery worldwide.
“When a dog is born with this disorder, their digestive system works as if all of their waste is meant to come out the front.”
Although the dogs seemed fine after the surgeries, they did react when they moved their bowels properly for the first time.
Georgia and Claireison looked surprised when they first used their new organs.
Tina said: “It is interesting to see the first time it comes out their anus. They look a little confused because it is so foreign to them.
“They think that it’s normal for everything to come out the front.”
Most dogs with the rare condition are euthanized, with many veterinarians telling owners that the best option is to put the dog to rest.
In the 30 years that Tina has been rescuing animals, she has found that she gets satisfaction when she proves doctors wrong and saves a pet with a rare condition.
Tina said: “I like to prove to people that these animals do not need to be put to sleep.
“The doctors tell you that you have to euthanize them, but they can be saved.”
Tina took to social media, as well as the crowdfunding site YouCaring to raise funds for the expensive procedures, something she usually does to make surgeries possible for her animals.
She wants others to realize that if their pet needs an expensive surgery, they don’t have to put them down because it is so easy to fundraise online.
Tina said: “I go online and basically say, ‘I have this animal that will die if we don’t raise enough money for their surgery.’
“Anyone can go on line and raise money. A lot of people don’t realize it, but you can.”
Tina was delighted when she saw the dogs thriving after the surgery.
She added: “It’s difficult to put into words how I felt. I got the chills and I was just speechless.
Georgia has been adopted by a family and Tina is currently searching for a permanent home for Claireison.