Emergency Surgery for Willow

8/11 SHE'S HOME!

We're happy to report we picked Willow up yesterday. She was so excited to see us. The picture of her in her crate, wide-eyed, is her extremely alert when we left the hospital. She was very worried about being left again.

The biggest surprise was that her incision is on her chest. Mentally, I (Amanda) had prepared for it to be on her back, like other IVDD surgeries I've seen. Apparently, they go through the chest for neck IVDD. It's hard to pick her up with the incision and she's such an awkward shape to begin with. Her entire underside is shaved, she has a long thin scar on her entire chest surrounded by swelling and bruising. She's on a fentanyl patch until Monday, plus her oral pain medication, valium, and rimadyl. She's mostly sleeping but cries if she can't see me or if she's picked up.

Right now our biggest challenges are making sure she's comfortable, distributing medication, getting her outside, and keeping her separate from the other pups. She wants to kiss them and they want to kiss her too.

She'll be on crate rest for 4-6 weeks while the bone heals from the surgery. The hope is the limp will go away and she'll be able to lift her head. As of now, both issues remain. We can at least say we've done all we can.

We were able to spring her from the hospital a day early due to her recovery being on track and our experience with medical issues. This saved some money. We were also extremely fortunate to end up on the low end of the estimate at $4753. We were able to finance the rest. We are beyond grateful for all the donations to help offset this cost, which allowed us to provide the surgery for her. We still have to juggle the payments for the balance. Any additional donations will go towards paying the balance, medications, as well as her follow up appointment in one month.

We couldn't have done this without you.

Here she is on the way home. If you look close you can see the thin scar on her chest. The surrounding area is bruised. 

Resting at home - knocked out from her Fentanyl patch. Relieved to be outta there. 

All her friends surrounding her. 


It’s your friendly neighborhood peasant begging for change again…and with a surgery update I’ve titled “The creation of Frankenweenie”.

We’re so thankful that Willow made it out of surgery. There were a couple of unplanned issues. The first was excessive bleeding and the second was that she received a higher dosage than the high end of the range of surgical antibiotics. Neither should be a long term issue.

The main disk causing problems was located between her c5 and c6 which is further back in her neck. The majority of the disk and disk material around this area was removed leading to more bleeding than normal. As a result, they were not able to remove the entire disk. They waited for bleeding to be controlled and went back in to perform fenestration along all the disks between c2 and c7 which basically means removing pieces of the disks and disk material to help take off compression from nerve roots. The surgeon shared she’ll have a rather long incision, so we’ll be picking up our Frankenweenie upon her release.

She’s awake and in the critical care unit, thank goodness. Tonight she’ll be on injectable pain meds with a fentanyl patch. Tomorrow the hope is she’s doing well enough to move to the step down ward and start oral medication. The hope is she can be picked up Thursday, worse case Friday. The incision should heal in a couple weeks but she’ll be on crate rest for 4-6 weeks with a follow up at 4 weeks. Crate rest allows enough time for scar tissue to form and the inner bone to heal.

And now comes the plea for shares and donations. Without the balance of her anticipated total we can’t take her home. I’m so exhausted my begging skills are pretty well gone. All I have in me is one “pretty please”.


Willow's in surgery for herniated disks in her neck.

It'll take 2-4 hours. I'm so worried you guys. We only have half of the funds raised to cover the cost. The surgeon said she expects the cost to be on the high end of the estimate, $6300.

I'm exhausted and tired of pleading for help. I hate asking. I don't know what else to do. If you haven't already shared or donated (and have the means to give even a few dollars) it will mean everything.

I've looked into places to share but most groups/pages don't let you just post GFM links. If anyone has a big network of friends, belongs to a group where you can share, or has any other ideas on how to get the word out please, please help.

There's a 95-98% she'll make a full recovery and future disk issues in her neck should be reduced or eliminated all together. Right now, I'm super stressed how we'll pick her up. The donations so far covered the deposit to have treatment but we need the rest to take her home.

Please help us get Willow home! We've come this far.

Seriously concerned yet appreciative,


Today we had our appointment with the neurologist at UW Madison. Willow had a physical exam which showed localized pain around her neck. They also determined she's limping on her front left leg and when they did reflex testing she did not respond in areas on her left leg and paw. These symptoms together point to a hemorrhaged disk in the left side of her neck , as suspected.

She was admitted to the hospital to undergo further testing. Either tonight or tomorrow morning she'll have a chest X-ray. Tomorrow morning, she's scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound at 9:30 am. Then, if everything is clear, she'll have her MRI following. If a more emergent case comes in it would bump her down on the priority list but we're hoping to she'll get in as planned.

The neurologist expects to find one or more hemorrhaged disks on the MRI, in which case the next step is surgery. She may potentially need a spinal tap while she' s under anesthesia. If they see multiple disk issues they would correct them and also shave down any disks that appear at risk of hemorrhaging in the future. The neurologist said based on her condition there's a 95-98% chance she'll make a full recovery with surgery, and either eliminate or reduce future disk issues (on disks they repair). We were very pleased to hear the positive outlook.

We left our sweet girl at the hospital around 4 pm. We just nicely got home and settled in. It was a long day but well worth it. We feel so much better knowing she's getting a proper and thorough diagnosis. Now we just need to be prepared to move forward with treatment.

You can help by sharing or donating to Willow's vet care so we can make sure we can follow through with next steps in her treatment. Donations can also be made directly to the vet hospital by calling (608) [phone redacted], pressing 2 on the menu, and donating to patient ID 183928 for Willow Campbell.

We're so close to having the funds we need to commit to next steps. Please help us help Willow!

8/3/17 UPDATE

Willow has an appointment scheduled at the UW Madison teaching school on Monday 8/7 at 2 pm. We need to continue raising funds for her MRI and surgery so we can have her admitted when we're there. I'm including the letter from our primary vet below detailing her referral for MRI and next steps to validate that your valuable donations will be utilized as outlined. I'm waiting for a written breakout of costs from UW Madison, which was requested this morning. In the meantime, you may call to inquire or confirm with UW Madison if you're so inclined.

The following costs and expected treatment plan was provided to me via phone on 8/2 by UW Madison's neurological staff.

Initial Visit $196
(If admitted via ER the cost increases.)

Pre-MRI Health Screen $?
(Includes X-Rays, Ultrasound, and Bloodwork)
Cost is unclear. 
This is needed to clear her for the MRI and also may provide insight to her condition and treatment. 

Pre-MRI Hospitalization and IV Pain Medication $150-200 

They prefer to wait 12 hours prior to performing the MRI which is why she's hopitalized overnight. 

MRI $2800

MRI will be performed Tuesday morning, pending we have the funds. This will confirm an IVDD diagnosis and need for surgery, which is anticipated. Once confirmed, she'll go to surgery after the MRI. 

Surgery $3000
This includes the expected cost of surgery but isn't tailored to her specific needs. If anything, the cost will likely go up. Also included in this cost is three nights hospitalization with IV pain medication. Additional nights may be needed depending on how she's recovering. 

There could be additional unexpected costs once we get started. We've added a small buffer of about $475 in our goal amount to account for this.  We want to be prepared for additional tests, medications, complications, and/or additional nights in the hospital. 

Please continue to share her page so we can keep up the momentum. We're stunned at the support we've been shown for our girl. We need another $1000 (as of now) to cover the cost of MRI which is required to complete her diagnosis and move forward with the surgery. Please help us reach the $2800 milestone by 2pm on Monday! 

If you haven't seen the update posted to her Go Fund Me with the video of her crying and yelping in pain while she attempted to lay down, please take a look. If you're on the fence about donating it may change your mind. Donations in any amount are greatly appreciated. 

As Ben said in his original post, I wasn't too keen on the idea of pleading for money and help. Something changed yesterday morning when I saw Willow literally tip completely on her side in the yard. I thought she dropped dead. She began to cry in pain and had a hard time settling down. It was a reality check that she's not getting better with medication, crate rest, and holistic medicine. It's different than her 4 month rear paralyzation almost a year ago. I found the strength to pursue the vet school option after seeing donations come in. Once I post the quoted costs even more donations came through which gave me the boost I need to make this happen. Through this I've found I have a few crusaders that are willing to go to extreme lengths to help our baby. Thank you to all that have donated and reached out. Let's keep sharing and hit our $2800 milestone! 

Willow recieving acupuncture. 

Ben's Original Post: 

I will start by saying that Willow, our family dachshund, which my wife adopted from a rescue has had an extremely hard time staying healthy due to her being used as a breeder dog at a puppy mill, at least that's what we were told. Regardless, she's had a very, very hard life.

My wife and I have volunteered with dog rescue's for a long time and have seen it all, the good, the bad, the sad, you name it. But poor Willow developed a condition called IVDD, Intervertebral Disk Disease. It's somewhat common in dachshunds. One day we noticed she had trouble walking and within hours she had become completely paralyzed in her back half. She had no idea when she was going potty, had to be walked in the yard using a sling to hold up her back legs. She lived life being wheeled around in a little red wagon. Of course we had taken her to our amazing vet and we had her on anti-inflamitory meds, pain meds, and muscle relaxers but nothing was seeming to work. The vet recommended a surgery that they can do but it costs $5,000-$8,000 dollars and there's no guarantee that it will work. My wife researched dog acupuncture and we said why not let's try it. She started acupuncture and cold laser therapy appointments and she regained her mobility, we couldn't believe it.

Fast forward to the present, about a week or so ago she was beginning to pee throughout our house a lot. We thought for a bit that she was doing what we call "jealous peeing". Anytime she would get upset if another dog was pet or we talked to our parrots she would strategically pee in a spiteful location like at the foot of the stairs after she sees one of us go up there so that we'd step in it on the way down... she's very smart that's for sure. But a week ago I picked her up to bring her downstairs and she immediately started screaming in pain. Terrible pain is an understatement. We immediately called our vet and took her in the same day. The vet determined she wasn't moving her neck and it was a reoccurance of IVDD. The only option now is surgery if her acupuncture treatments and medication does not help by next week.

Poor Willow has had so many operations, she's had emergency surgery to remove a bladder stone the size of an egg, she was mauled by a large dog and almost didn't make it, has had numerous bladder infections, she has allergies, and many other things. I guess the reason why I'm trying this Go Fund Me thing out is because $5000 dollars is a lot of money. We've spent well over this already to give our sweet Willow a happy life and do not regret it one bit. She's only 7 years old and to lose her would be devastating to my family, but especially my amazing wife who does so much for animals. So if acupuncture does not help then the only other option is to get surgery and pray it works or the other option is no option at all...a choice nobody wants to ever have to make.

I'm currently starting this without my wife's permission because when I brought it up she said no to it not wanting to ask people to help. But I feel I'm justified by doing this because we both can't stand seeing her screaming in pain and being so helpless so please find it in your hearts to help give us our dog Willow a chance at a full life. Please donate and share.


Willow getting acupuncture.

Willow resting in her crate.
  • Christy Garcia 
    • $25 
    • 61 mos
  • Larry Hickey 
    • $30 
    • 61 mos
  • Mary Campbell-Schuller 
    • $25 
    • 61 mos
  • Jonah Wilson 
    • $30 
    • 61 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 61 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Benjamin Campbell 
Grayslake, IL
Amanda Campbell