I am writing this with a very broken heart... For the past month I have been on a journey of much pain and suffering with the cutest, most innocent, cuddly pomeranian puppy you could ever have met. I want to say before I begin, that I am not writing this to bad mouth Tammy Price (the breeder of our baby). I want everyone to be aware of our little guys story so it doesn't happen to another innocent puppy, or the unsuspecting buyers.
After deciding we wanted a companion for our dog at home, and I deciding I wanted a pomeranian puppy because I've always been in love with the breed, we started our search. Tammy Price was recommended to us by a breeder in our area, so we checked out her website, made an appointment and made our journey to see the puppies she had. She is located about 2 hours away from where I live. I have always been a huge animal lover, dogs and puppies especially.
After my first pomeranian the breed stole my heart. So they whole way there, I was so excited to possibly find our new baby. We drive up to a small brick house, with a huge sign in the front yard reading "Pom-derosa Poms", as we pull in the driveway we also notice a large barn in the yard. Upon walking up to the house we hear tons of tiny barks, and are greeted by a pom with almost no hair... Tammy comes outside and we introduce ourselves.
From the corner of my eye I notice about a dozen poms at her door begging to come outside and meet us (this should have been my first clue)... She then leads us to the barn, where outside I see in 3 long cage runs with 40+ pomeranians all standing on their hind legs yapping to be let out. This should have also been a clue, but they had plenty of room, the building and their cage conditions were very nice, the dogs looked nicely groomed and in good health, so I pushed the voice yelling "get away from this place" out of my mind.
First we are taken to a room where she shows us 6 older puppies, discusses their history, pricing, etc. We are shown around the barn a little more where there are probably 20 or more pomeranians in total, in different rooms either in cages or being groomed, again should have been another sign to get out of there! I did find an older puppy that caught my eye, but wanted to see the younger ones first. She tells us she has two inside, a 10 week old little boy and an 11 week old little girl.
She takes us in her house where we are greeted by a dozen or more full grown pomeranians that she says are mostly "pets" and not used for breeding. All great temperaments and sweet personalities. She takes us downstairs first to a room with about four litters and mommies with puppies that were just born that day.. This AGAIN should have been a clue. But I was blinded by the excitement of bringing home a new baby.
Finally she takes us to the room where we see him, a beautiful chocolate brown 10 week old baby boy. He was perfect in every way and I immediately fell in love. He had the prettiest green eyes, and the sweetest spunkiest personality a puppy could have. We played with him on the ground for about 20 minutes. There was no question about it, this was my guy.
After learning he was 800 dollars (a little more than we were looking to spend) we decided to leave and think about it for a bit. We parked somewhere right outside town, talked for about 30 minutes and decided we had to have him. We were a little hesitant to buy a puppy from a place like that, but pushed those thoughts out of our minds. Since it was past 5 all banks were closed so we went to an atm, took out as much as we could, called her and she said we could pay the rest through paypal on her computer.
I remember how excited I was the whole time driving back, and while we were purchasing him.. I couldn't wait to bring our new baby home! That first nice was perfect, lots of licking and cuddling on the way home. We took him by my parents house where he played vigorously with their poms, and then took him home where he met his brother and played some more. Finally we fed him and put him t o bed... I could hardly sleep anticipating going to PetsMart and getting tons of things to spoil him!
The next morning when I woke up, I noticed our little baby was having a bit of a hypoglycemic attack (or so we thought).. I gave him a little nutri-cal and he perked right up. (I have experience with hypoglycemia in my other small pom so this was nothing new to me). We spent about 200 dollars on our little guy that day at PetsMart, stocking up on everything we could possibly need. We even got a baby play pin for him to be in when we were gone, or when he was sleeping.
The first few days went by wonderfully, he was playing and eating normally and we couldn't have been happier. We had about 5 names picked out for him, and couldn't decide between them! Wicket, Beckham, Simba, George, Harlow... We loved the thought of having a new puppy at home. The one morning, another slight hypoglycemic attack (or so we thought), but nothing major and the puppy bounced right back.. About 3 days after that, I come home to find the puppy unable to move, eyes rolling back in his head, and kicking his legs in a seizing type manor.
I panicked, got him out of his pin, started syringe giving water, nutrical, wet puppy food and finally after about 10 minutes got him back. I thought for sure I was losing him. It was really scary. This is where the heartache begins... That night the puppy wasn't quite the same. He would seem normal for about a half an hour, and then fall back into lethargy, dizziness, head shaking type fits. I was up all night with him giving him support and making sure he had everything he needed.
The next morning, first thing we went to our vet who said it was just hypoglycemia, recommends Karo Syrup, gave us a can of A/D and some syringes and sent us on our way. The vet didn't even do a blood glucose to make sure it actually WAS hypoglycemia.. A day after our visit, he started vomiting up his food. I called the vet immediately and all they wanted to do was give us an Rx for Cerenia to stop the vomiting. Our puppy still wasn't quite the same.
Going back and forth from being normal, to his dizzy, lethargic fits of not moving or wanting to do anything at all. He was not even the same puppy we purchased only a week prior. He wasn't eating on his own or drinking and I was having to syringe feed and give him water from a syringe. Also giving him some Karo every now and again to make sure his blood sugar was up. After two days of this, and the puppy not seeming to get better after he ate (which is exactly what hypoglycemic dogs SHOULD do).. I took him to another vet, they told me the same things basically, kept him all day for observation and gave him IV fluids..
While my baby was at the vet that day, I learned that the breeder had a history of having puppies with Strongyloides and was told to have my vet do a fecal smear to try and find the parasite because it was very deadly and dangerous to the puppy. I talked to a lady who's puppies life as actually taken from the parasite. When I went to pick the puppy up, I discussed my concerns about the parasite to the vet, asked for a fecal to be done and he wouldn't do one. Frustrated that this was the second vet who told me it was hypoglycemia when it obviously wasn't and when you could see the puppy was VERY sick, I took my baby home.
By this time I had taken the puppy to my parents, because my mom is very gentle and caring, home all the time and I knew she'd be a huge help during this. My mom and I alternated feeding the puppy every 1 1/2- 2 hours to make sure he wouldn't get low. We gave the puppy more love than he could have standed, and made him feel very comforted. The same evening he went to the second vet, he really started deteriorating.. Not only was he shaking, lethargic, hazy eyes, but he was drooling excessively, clamping his teeth, and not swallowing well. His eyes were huge like he was going into shock or something. We rushed him to the emergency vet right away.
As soon as we got their they did a blood glucose and determined in was NOT hypoglycemia (FINALLY someone that actually had PROOF!), the vet then suggested liver shunt. While at the emergency clinic my poor baby kept losing control of his bladder.. It was heartbreaking to see this poor little animal fight so hard for his life. I told the doctor about the parasite I was concerned with and he was very hesitant on the idea, but I finally got him to do a fecal smear and he found one worm that was infact a threadworm (also known as Strongyloides!)
I was SO relieved and thought we had finally found a solution. The vet administered our first dose of meds, we took the puppy home, and still continued the round the clock feeding. He actually was improving some. I was so relieved. The next morning we took him to another vet who was recommended to me by the lady who lost her puppy to Strongyloides. While there, the FOURTH vet we had been to found Spirochetes in our baby. He prescribed Metronidazole and Albon for the parasites (on top of the Panacur we were already giving).
He also gave us Pet Tinic which is a supplement that helps develop the kidney and liver. Our puppy was so tiny and so sick he needed all the help he could get. Since our baby was so wobbly, the vet gave him an injection of Dexamethasone (a steroid), and said if he appeared to be normal after this, that might be an indication that there was some sort of inflammation in our little guy and that would take care of it. Our puppy indeed did seem much more stable and active only 10 minutes after the injection, so we were given a low dose of Dexamethasone to also help our baby through all of this pain.
We were given Tresaderm because on top of everything else the puppy was having some hairloss on his nose and around his mouth. (none of the doctors we went to could explain this).. I was very heartbroken to have to give such a small puppy so much medication, I even questioned his quality of life and if I should put him down. But I had to fight for him, atleast give it a few days.
To everyones surprise after only two days on all of the medications our puppy was coming back strong! Not so wobbly, bouncing and playing around, eating better, firm stools and urinating normally. We were so happy to see he was back and thought for sure we were in the clear and on our way to a clean slate of health. We still continued the round the clock feeding (a mix of babyfood, puppy food and Karo syrup, with plain cooked chicken.) We were giving Pedialyte by this time as well.
We continued medications as directed and finally made it to the 5th days where we were finished with Panacur and Metronidazole.. The next evening the puppy vomited once, and was kind of wheezing. He then went into a state of depression, and not wanting to eat. From this point on it was a nightmare... The puppy went back and forth from being playful, happy and "normal" to being depressed, dizzy, very lethargic (but not quite as bad as he was before the medication).
We were so attached by now because we were hand feeding and nursing him back to health. He always wanted to be next to someone or be held. If he was on the ground he was constantly cuddling up to one of the other dogs, or next to someones feet. We spoiled and babied him, and gave him everything he wanted. He knew he was loved. The last few days of his life were terrible and traumatic for me and everyone involved, including the puppy.
He was going down hill day by day, and got to the point where he wouldnt get up at all. When he did try to get up he would fall over and stumble around because he was so weak. His eyes were so sad and confused. All I could do was hold him, tell him it was ok and love him. I was dying inside and it was killing me to watch this. The day before he passed, we took him to the vet because he wouldnt move, and was drooling.
He also wasn't urinating or having bowel movements. The vet did tons of labwork, gave him fluids, and told us all we could do was give him as much support as we could and make sure he was comfortable. We would have the labwork results the next day.. When we brought him home, he briefly stood up, but fell right back over. I laid with him for hours on the bed. I syringe fed him accordingly.
About 9 pm I went to bed, and put him in his play pin. At 11 I woke up to check on him, and found him on his side breathing heavily, drooling with his tongue hanging out. My heart was breaking for him. I knew it was time to let him go in peace. I wrapped him in his warm blanket, and laid him on my chest. He laid like that with me all night. I couldn't sleep because I was so sad and hurt for him.
His breathing was becoming raspy. My chest was covered in drool. I kissed him, told him how much he was loved and that it was ok to go.. He passed the next morning before we made it to our vet to euthanize. I was relieved he was not longer suffering, but very very heartbroken over his loss..
I called the vets office and left a message for the doctor to call me back so I could tell him he had passed and get his bloodwork results. I wanted to know what killed our baby. The news the doctor gave me later that evening was horrifying.. Our puppy had been suffering from several severe congenital conditions.. He had portosystemic liver shunts, his kidneys were failing, and he had a muscle deficiency that was affecting his heart. On top of all that he was suffering from an internal infection. The doctor said his levels were sky high, off the charts and that he had probably been suffering his whole life.
That even I called Tammy to tell her what had happened, and she was very apologetic and seemed oblivous to the problems our puppy had. Stating none of her dogs have ever had any of those issues. She then offered me a new puppy of same value ($850) to replace him. A new puppy is the very last thing on my mind! I can't even think about a new puppy now or anytime in the near future. This experience has traumatized me. After talking some more she agreed to refund the puppies cost after seeing the medical records as proof. Its not even about the money to us. We went through tons of pain and suffering as well as this helpless animal. We spent thousands of dollars on medical bills.
This is where things get kind of sketchy.. When we purchased our puppy, his medical records said he had been given Metronidazole for "mild diarrhea".... Now, when we were giving him Metronidazole along with the other meds for parasites, he was miraculously bouncing back.. Days after finishing the dose, he went down hill day by day.. A few days after his death I am researching the problems he had on the internet, and read all over that Metronidazole is used to treat and help keep liver disease/liver shunt dogs comfortable. Tell me if thats not just to coincidental?
Another frustrating thing in my story is, we had to take our baby to FIVE different vets before anyone could really help us. Everyone kept throwing his symptoms aside as hypoglycemia which it obviously was not. If anyone would have taken the time to do routine bloodwork, we could have learned of his conditions before the severe suffering and let him go peacefully. No puppy deserves to die and endure the pain he did. If you have a strong feeling of something thats going on with your pet, and the vet doesn't want to hear it, be persistent! Yeah, they are supose to be the experts but take my case as a wake up call..
Our little guy was such a fighter! Even through his sickness he brought me much happiness and will always hold a special place in my heart. Please don't let this happen to you. Check out the breeder you are purchasing your puppy from, and if you have any bad feelings DON'T ignore them. It might save you from the heartache I've gone through..