May 24th 2009 1:55 pm
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We have missed everyone so very much. Life has been a mess... Our computer power port has a major issue- it won't connect to the plug so there is no way to power it. It was designed way to small to be practical and HP has actually recalled most of them however, mine is not on the list even though they have the same issue. We are dogsitting this weekend so we have use of the computer. This has to be the best job in the world. We get to go visit other pups, play all day, and mom gets paid. I wish we could do this every weekend.
Abby is sick. She was quite bad, we almost lost her. It has been a really hard month. I wish I had Dogster to help me through all of it. I took Abby in to the vet because she looked sick. She didn't really have any huge symptoms- not vomiting, no poo issues, she was eating but not as much, she mostly just looked tired and not well. My vet agreed she did not look well and said she was also dehydrated. He recommended and iv and leaving her there for a few days. Unfortunately, my finances have become pretty grim and I could not afford the treatment. I picked up a mouth syringe and some pedialyte to treat her at home. I forced fluids every hour but it just wasn't enough. The vet also gave her some antibiodics. After two days and no improvement, a friend told me her vet accepts payments. I was thrilled and immediately made an appointment. Abby was supposed to be on an iv to replace fluids. That was the most immediate concern. The bloodwork showed an infection but the vet didn't know what kind of infection. The only other abnormality was that her liver enzymes were slightly elevated. I left her to get the fluids. I went back to the vet the next day to visit and give Abby her blanket. They would not let me see her because they were too busy to bring her out and I could not go to the dog icu. That was red flag #1. They took the blanket (I don't know if they ever gave it to her). When I asked for an update, they told me that she was ok, she ate all her food and had a bm but was still pretty tired. I thought that sounded pretty good since she had stopped eating the night before we took her in to the vet. The told me that she had chewed her iv though. I just responded with, "Yep, that's my girl." I expected something like that. I called every day (sometimes twice a day) to get updates. I don't think they ever even checked on her. Sometimes I was told she was sitting up and doing ok, other times I was told she was still pretty lethargic one time I overheard them saying, "I think it's that dog that doesn't move". Once I was told that my "CAT" was doing just fine. When I went to pick her up 5 days later (they finally said she was ok to go home), she looked a lot worse than when I dropped her off. She was even more dehydrated, she had lost a pound and a half (that's a lot for a dog who only weighs 12 pounds), she hardly moved, and she had started to cough. The vet consultation consisted of a tech (or maybe just a random office worker) walking from me to the vet who was doing an emergency c-section in the room next door on a cat who had been in labor for over 24 hours. I was horrified. During this "consultation", it was again mentioned that Abby chewed the iv. I asked exactly how long she had been on the iv. They again said that she had chewed it out. I asked how long they left it in after they replaced it. The responded that she had chewed it out so she didn't need it. I was flabbergasted. They were telling me that they had kept Abby there for 5 days without treatment. Abby had already chewed the iv out before they had even checked on her the next morning. She may have only been on the iv for two minutes. At that point, I just got up and left.
I got half way home and couldn't stop looking at Abby. I truely believed she looked like she was going to die that day. Half way home I called the vet. I told them that she was still severely dehydrated and needed the fluids. They again told me that she had chewed it out and asked how I expected them to get her to leave it alone. It was so hard not to freak out and yell at them but I believed they were the only ones who would do anything without immediate payment so I didn't have much of a choice. I got about half way home again and called the vet and directly asked if they thought Abby was going to die. They said, "How are we supposed to know that?" I responded that since they were the medical professionals that they should have some idea of how grave her condition really was. They said they didn't know what was wrong with her and that her liver was elevated and they bloodwork showed some sort of infection. They finally said I could take her to the er vet to get an ultrasound of her liver. I called my regular vet to make an appointment and explained the situation. They said they would be ready when I arrived. I took Abby's crate into the vet and told them to give her to me without taking off the iv. They handed her over and I slid her into the crate and placed the iv bag on top. I reached over and took my atm card which was being held hostage for payment. I didn't think they deserved any more money than I had already given them (I really think they disserve to be sued). I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for it but I ran Abby into my regular vet. He looked at the paperwork from the other vet and couldn't believe that their idea is that if a dog chews an iv that they must not need it. He really didn't see the need for the ultrasound because her liver so so very slightly elevated. He said that the infection was more worrysome. He kind of shrugged but did the ultrasound. Abby was so weak that she barely struggled as we flipped her upside down on the cold, hard table, shaved her, squirted her with goo and ran the ultrasound all over her tiny inverted tummy. As expected, it showed nothing. I told the vet that I had no intentions of returning to the other vet. I said that although I didn't know how to use an iv, I would figure it out unless he would be willing to finish it. He agreed to keeping her to finish it. I left the room and before I sat down, he called me back. He said that he didn't like the sound of her lungs. I said I didn't either. When I picked her up from the other vet they were sounding like she was having a major asthma attack rather than just a small wheeze like when I dropped her off at the other vet. The other vet didn't even seem to notice and still didn't think much about it after I mentioned it. Reg. Vet asked if he could take an x-ray. Of course, I panicked on the inside because of money but I told him to do it. A few mins later, he called me back again to look at the x-rays. He lungs looked like white clouds. He said it wasn't pneumonia but there was definitely something wrong. He kind of hinted that that may be the infection but he also said that it could be something else. The only way to know would be to open her up and look. We both agreed that would not be quite drastic until after trying meds and all other options first. We went home with new antibiodics. A week later and she was no longer dehydrated but she was still very inactive. We went back and tried another med. A week later, still little to no improvement. They decided that maybe the cough was a hint of either valley fever or heartworm. Thankfully she had been on heartworm pills so we didn't have to test for that. Valley fever is caused by breathing in a fungal spore. Some people and dogs are able to fight it without much reaction but others have severe reactions and have even died from it. A week later it was confirmed that was the problem. We had a hard time finding someone who had the meds in a small enough dose for Abby. The vet said in about 3 days she could start feeling better. She didn't. A friend gave me the name and # of a friend in Az whose dog had valley fever really bad. They had fought the battle and were on the winning end. It wasn't completely gone yet but they were kicking it. She made me feel a lot better. she said most dogs don't begin to feel better until two weeks on the meds and even then it is an extremely slow recovery. She will be on the meds for a minimum of 6 months to a year. Two days before she hit the two weeks, she started to eat on her own. It is ups and down so far. We are almost at three weeks now. She mostly eats on her own but I have to scoop wet food into bite size lumps for her to easily bite them. Sometimes she just doesn't want to eat so I put kibble in my pocket and give it to her throughout the day. She is almost back to her normal weight but she looks a bit off because all of her muscle tone is gone. She tires really quickly. She has just started bringing me toys again and really wanting to play. She has a long way to go and it is very slow but she has moments of happiness and occasionally she is my brat again. It is amazing how much I missed her being a brat. I apparently love that side of her too.
Well, that's about all that we have been doing the last couple months. Poor Cotton thinks she is absolutely neglected. I have been trying to continue to take her to flyball. We joined the closer club because I just couldn't afford the gas to the other club. Now it is only 10 mins away and we get to do dock dogs there. Cotton loves dock dogs. The vet has cleared Abby to travel. We may go to a flyball tournament next weekend. One of my friend's dogs started limping so she asked me if Cotton could run in her place if she isn't better. She even got me a ride and is going to share a hotel with me so it won't cost much (I really need to find a new job). BTW, my vet is so nice, I still don't know why but the office visit where he did the ultrasound, x-rays, exam, finished the iv, gave meds, etc. only cost $35. I nearly cried when they told me that. The other vet that I took my atm card away from, ran the numbers from my atm card without my permission for more than double the amount I was told.
We have a long road to full recovery but I now believe Abby is going to get back to her normal and obnoxious terrier self.
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Your first vet, the one with no clue of the infection, must be one of the worst I have ever heard of. Valley Fever is one of the most common infections in dogs. A simple, inexpensive X-ray is all it takes to confirm the suspicion.
If it were me, I would call my bank and dispute the charge...especially since they charged double the amount they told you. Did they give you a bill and then charge your card without your permission? or did they just charge the card without your permission?
Don't let an unprofessional and criminal vet get away with it. The worst that can happen is that you will have to pay. The best is that the vet will have to substantiate the charges AND your permission to have it charged to your debit card.
Good luck...P.S. I replied to your message to me, too.