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The pup named Q was diagnosed with dermoid sinus, and vets say he was "very fortunate" to even make it to surgery.

By Austin Cannon
March 23, 2021
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dog who was saved from surgery with help from a fundraiser
Credit: Courtesy of Paws for Life / Animal Welfare and Protection Society

A Colorado couple likely found themselves on a roller coaster of emotion after bringing home a new pup earlier last year and going through a saga that started with the adoption and ended with a complicated, life-saving surgery to alleviate a medical condition that was almost unheard of. 

Oh, and don't forget the massive fundraising campaign in the middle of it, too. 

We thank the folks over at KRDO in Colorado Springs for this story, which begins when Daniel and Maria Bay planned to bring Rhodesian ridgeback Q, formerly named Kato, home from Paws for Life animal rescue in nearby Pueblo last fall. 

During his neutering surgery, veterinarians discovered lesions they'd discovered on Q's neck. The Bays thought it was from a dog collar or bite, but Q's condition got worse and worse.  

"He was feverish. He was lethargic. He kept scratching. This was so uncomfortable for him that he scratched through his skin to burst the infection," Maria Bay told KRDO. 

After struggling to find answers, the couple took Q to Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. They finally had a correct diagnosis: Q had dermoid sinus, a rare, sometimes fatal condition found in Rhodesian ridgebacks that occurs when the skin doesn't properly separate from the nervous system. 

It's a tubular skin defect, found usually near the neck or spine of the dog. The tubes can become infected and can even be fatal if they extend into the spine, which was what was happening to Q. It was actually even worse for him. One tube is considered rare. He had seven. 

"He was very fortunate to have even made it to the operating table," says Rainier Ko, a veterinary neurosurgeon who spoke with KRDO.  

He needed surgery right away, but it would cost more than $12,000. Paws for Life got the word out, and soon, thought its various fundraising efforts, it had brought in more than $15,000. 

"You can see how much love he has to give. And he's only two years old, and there's really not a price to be put on loving a pet," Paws for Life President Kim Alfonso told KRDO. 

But even after finally getting a diagnosis after multiple false starts and securing the funding, there was still a hurdle to clear: Who would perform the difficult, risky surgery? Thankfully, Dr. Ko had the training and was waiting in the wings. After a "meticulous" five hours, Ko had extracted all seven tubes. Q had made it.

He recovered for six weeks but is now at home with his new family, the Bays and their two cats. 

"He should be able to live a full, fun, dog life," Daniel Bays told KRDO. 

Way to go, Q!