Help Dexter recover from being shot

£8,360 of £10,000 goal

Raised by 506 people in 4 months
Created July 25, 2018
Dexter's humans
on behalf of Ruth Lewis
Yesterday our darling Dexter dragged himself home after a monster broke his jaw, forced a gun into his mouth and shot him. 

He has a hole through the roof of his palette, a severed tongue and an exit wound. It’s a miracle that he’s still alive.

The excellent veterinary team that are now caring for Dexter have pulled out shrapnel from his head and are currently operating on him trying to save his life. 

Dexter has already proved he’s a fighter by getting himself home and now we want to be able to give him the best chance at recovery by providing him with the necessary treatment, raising awareness of this act of cruelty and hopefully getting him justice. 

Your money will go directly towards Dexter’s medical bill and if we’re lucky enough to have any extra funds the remaining money will be donated to the NAWT (National Animal Welfare Trust) to help them continue to rescue animals, this is where we adopted Dexter from.

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I’m sorry it’s been a while since I updated you all about Dexter but it’s been another busy period looking after him following yet another operation. The hole in the roof of his mouth has caused him ongoing issues for a long time now and he kept getting infections in his nose and mouth. Our local vet referred him to an amazing specialist in a hospital some 2 hours away from us. The trip was completely worth it though and he had an amazing surgeon. She’s operated on Dexter’s mouth to cover the hole and we are hopeful that this might be the last operation for him.

If you’re squeamish – maybe skip to the next paragraph – they’ve separated the skin in the roof of his mouth away from the bone and then turned a flap of it 90 degrees and stitched it in place over the hole. The major problem is that there is more than a quarter of his hard palate missing (the bone was clearly destroyed when he was shot) and so the surgeon had nothing to support the stitches. (This link shows the exact procedure he’s had but it’s seriously not for the squeamish!! https://www.veterinarydentistry.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Split-Palatal-U-Flap.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3ul22babCRytA__rj--iyjYQO9rQPTdDYBJE1maIKVzZMEkY5_4QbOT1Y )

Dexter had a feeding tube inserted into his neck because he wasn’t allowed to eat anything through his mouth for two weeks. He was on six tube feeds a day which stretched from 6/7 am in the morning to midnight/1am. It’s been a really labour-intensive period for me looking after him but totally worth it. He was so patient and calm whilst I fed him, which is a slow old process. I loved climbing into his cage with him and spending so much time with him, although I think I’m too old for the night feeds now!!!

He had to be kept confined which he wasn’t a fan of, obviously, and he was even less of a fan of his protective collars! He had a neck collar to keep his feeding tube in place but the first two days he kept wriggling out of his protective collar, which obviously meant he was at great risk of pulling out his feeding tube. He literally couldn’t be left alone for a second because he was like grease lightening wriggling out of the collar. We rigged up a camera to watch him so that a quick trip to the loo was feasible! In the evenings my husband would take a turn watching him so I could at least have a shower. Having enlisted the help of the head nurse at our practice, we put a second collar on him and clipped his nails so he couldn’t really get them into the soft bits of the collar which was how he was getting it off. He did look a little like a flower but it definitely helped. He could still wriggle out of all three collars but only manged this a couple of times in the remaining two weeks!

He’s now had his feeding tube out and the skin graft is looking healthy and is holding. He’s now allowed to eat normally, but only soft food. We have to continue to monitor the graft to ensure it doesn’t break down but the signs are all extremely positive and we have everything crossed that this might actually be the last operation for him.

He is looking so well now and apart from the shaved bits under his chin and neck and on his front legs, you’d never know anything had been wrong with him. His recovery inspires and humbles us every day and we are so proud of him. Thank you to everyone for your ongoing love and support and please keep your fingers crossed that his graft continues to hold and that this is the end of the operations for him.
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Dexter continues to improve and make good progress except for the ongoing problem he has with the hole in the roof of his mouth. This still causes him problems when he eats and drinks because some of the food and water get into his nasal cavities, through the hole, and makes him cough and splutter and gives him sneezing fits. He has had recurrent infections too which have meant he’s had to be on antibiotics for the past four weeks and is on them again for the next two weeks. His own vet has referred his case to a specialist facility some distance from us to ask whether there may be something surgical that can be done to try and help the situation. We may have to travel there for them to assess him but at the moment it’s just his records, xrays, scans and photos which have been sent. It’s heart-breaking to think he may need further surgery but we will be guided by the experts and do whatever’s right for Dexter.

On an extremely positive note though we are delighted that he’s one of only four pets to have been shortlisted for the finals of the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) pet survivor of the year award. He is obviously our hero and we are so proud of how hard he’s fought and what a miraculous recovery he’s made but it would be fantastic for him to be recognised as the winner of this award too. If you have a spare moment, please share his story and vote for him – Dexter will send you all special purrs if you do.

The link to his story is below and also a picture of the hole in his mouth so you can fully understand what he’s struggling with poor soul. The photo is quite graphic (it was taken by his vet for his referral case) so if you’re at all squeamish, probably better that you don’t look too closely. The other photo was taken this week so you can see how glossy and shiny his coat is and how bright his eyes are. He really is a true survivor and we will keep you updated on the news from the specialists.
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Well what a difference a couple of weeks make!

Thank you for all your continued interest and support. We are pleased to say that Dexter is doing really well and he is thrilled and delighted that his fixator has gone and with it the protective cone! We thought you would like to see just how amazing our little miracle man looks.

His coat is growing back well and has a beautiful shine on it and his eyes are bright. He can eat on his own now which means we don’t have to hand feed him but this is still a bit of a struggle for him because the hole in the roof of his mouth means the food is still going into his nasal cavity and he sounds as if he's drowning when he drinks but these are small things in comparison to what he's had to deal with.

As you can hear from the video clip, he sounds snuffly and congested most of the time and this is again due to the problem with the hole in his palate. Together with his veterinary team, we continue to monitor this to ensure we keep any infection at bay and to see how he manages moving forward.

The question as to whether he will require further restorative surgery on his mouth remains an unanswered one at the moment but in the meantime he’s enjoying life and the freedom he now has to roam the house with no restrictions.

His feisty and mischievous character is very apparent once more and he’s a little rascal at times, but he’s our little rascal and we couldn’t love him more.
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By way of an update on Dexter’s progress we wanted to share a lovely video that the National Animal Welfare Trust have put together showing Dexter’s story and, more importantly, his progress.

He’s doing remarkably well and we think he truly is a miracle. When you think of what he’s been through it’s just amazing, firstly that he actually survived, secondly that he managed to drag himself home and thirdly that he’s making such an astonishing recovery.

It’s only 8 weeks since he was shot but his fight and strength are awe inspiring. He still has the hole in the roof of his mouth which continues to cause him some difficulties eating and drinking but his fur is growing back and he’s looking better day by day.

We thank everyone for their ongoing interest in Dexter’s story and for all the support, which is very much appreciated. Thank you too for all the lovely messages we’ve received.
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£8,360 of £10,000 goal

Raised by 506 people in 4 months
Created July 25, 2018
Dexter's humans
on behalf of Ruth Lewis
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