“Bottomless” puppy receives life-saving surgery

Surgery gave Malla a normal life

Malla the cockapoo did not have a good start in life: born without a bottom due to a condition called atresia ani, she was given up by her breeder – but she was able to receive life-saving surgery, and has found a new home.

The 15-week-old puppy was taken into the care of staff at Acorn Veterinary Surgery in West Kirby after being diagnosed with atresia ani – a developmental defect of the anal opening or terminal rectum. As a result, the pup was unable to pass stool.

“It’s not something that we see everyday”

Clinical director/veterinary surgeon Rhiannon Mansell said, “We saw her when she came in with her litter for her vaccinations and unfortunately she didn’t have a bottom and had instead been passing waste through a fistula, an abnormal hole.

“The condition is called atresia ani and it’s very rare. It’s not something that we see everyday. She was very bloated and struggling to go to the toilet and was really uncomfortable, but otherwise a really bright and cute little thing.”

She added, “We ended up signing her over to the practice and one of our advanced soft tissue surgeons, Nick Wheeldon, had a little look at her. We wanted to save her and find her a new home so we basically constructed her a new bottom so that she could pass stool.”

Constructing a bran new bottom for such a young puppy was no easy feat, and the surgery itself was not without risks, but it was the only way to give Malla a normal life.

Malla may need more surgery later in life, but she can now pass stool on her own

Rhiannon said, “There are risks with the surgery and there can be other underlying problems for example, if the bottom hasn’t formed properly, then sometimes other organ structures may not have formed properly, but she looked very healthy in herself and didn’t have any other problems that we were aware of at the time.

“With bottom surgery, there is also a risk the animal can become incontinent or can struggle pooing, so she is on stool softeners. She’s going to be more prone to developing things like constipation as well so we need to be really careful with that.”

Malla may need more surgery later in life, but she can now pass stool on her own and staff at Acorn are pleased with her progress. Meanwhile, she has also found a new home with the neighbour of a member of staff.

“During her recovery, all of the nursing team took turns to foster her and that’s when we named her Barbara or Barbs for short,” Rhiannon said. “She ended up going out with one of our nurses, Rachel, to the country parks in a little carrier so she was able to see the world that way with her little nappy on initially.

“After that, one of Rachel’s neighbours was looking for a little puppy and they’ve agreed to take her on – and actually her name is Barbara too so it’s fate. We’re really pleased she’s doing well and has found a forever home.”

The name had to change from Barbara to Malla to avoid confusion, and she has settled in really well in her new home.

Images by Rick Matthews


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