A messy labor of love saves puppy who can’t poop

Colt (photo courtesy of Jean Keating)

Colt (photo courtesy of Jean Keating)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Colt is a typical, playful 5-month-old puppy, except for one very important thing: he can’t poop.

It may sound funny, but Colt’s difficulty moving his bowels is actually quite dangerous. If it weren’t for the dedication of his foster mother and the work of doctors at BluePearl Veterinary Partners, the pit bull puppy would already be dead.

Colt was very sick and weighed just 2.68 pounds when he was rescued by Jean Keating, the founder of Lucas County Pit Crew, a rescue group based in Ohio. She took the puppy to the BluePearl hospital in Ann Arbor, where he was diagnosed with a rectal stricture – a band of scar tissue that constricted his anal opening. The stricture may be the result of an earlier, botched surgery to fix an anal prolapse, a condition that causes rectal tissue to poke out of the bottom.

Instead of defecating normally, Colt leaked fecal material and was in a lot of pain. If left untreated, he would eventually become so constipated he wouldn’t be able to eat or drink and would either die or have to be euthanized, said Dr. Jim Whitehead, a board-certified internal medicine specialist who is helping with Colt’s case.

Doctors first tried using an inflated balloon to stretch out the scar tissue. When that didn’t resolve the problem, Dr. Lindsay Phillips performed an operation to surgically widen Colt’s anus.

Since the surgery, Colt has been getting better. He now weighs 15 pounds and has pooped a few times on his own. Doctors are  adjusting his diet and medication to soften his stool in the hopes of making his bowels more regular.

Colt (photo courtesy of Jean Keating)

Colt (photo courtesy of Jean Keating)

“He’s improved significantly,” Phillips said. “He’s not leaking anymore and I’m happy with how he’s doing.”

It’s a big relief to Keating, Colt’s foster mother. She’s fallen in love with Colt’s sweet, silly personality.  The puppy is also a media star: his story was recently featured in the Huffington Post.

“He jumps around like a gazelle and loves playing with my other dogs,” Keating said. “It’s just amazing to see what veterinary medicine can do these days. It’s really pretty remarkable.”

Once his medical condition is stabilized, Colt will be eligible for adoption, Keating said. Those interested in learning more about Colt’s story or contributing to the cost of his care are encouraged to visit the Lucas County Pit Crew’s website (