Our family purchased a male GSP pup from RCA Hunting Service when the company, represented by Craig Lyon and his female companion (wife maybe?) were at the Scheels Expo in Sioux Falls, SD, on 25 August, 2012. By the 28th, the puppy was dying from a coccidiosis infection.
The infection was so bad, and so resistant, that instead being on Albon for 10 days, Rooster was on Albon from 28 August through the 19th of October. He also had whipworms and Giadia which were treated on 28 August through 7 September. We even tested him for Parvo because he was in such bad shape. Luckily, that was the one thing he didn't have.
Between 28 August and today, he almost died several times. We raced him to the vet every time, hoping they'd be able to save him. It was heart-breaking watching him waste away to little more than bones covered with blistered skin. His skin is covered with painful blisters from the protein deficiency, and he also began losing his hair. [continued below]....
..... It wasn't mange- it was simply a result of complications arising from the coccidiosis infection.
We treated him for the protein absorbtion disorder which resulted from the coccidiosis, as well as the related hypoproteinemia. Rooster is also allergic to chicken, pork, eggs & turkey. Those are the ingredients in the special Hill's prescription diet he was placed on back in October. He is also allergic to lamb. I now cook his meals. He's on a home-made vegetarian diet with legumes and quinoa as the protein source, and a protein supplement powder. He gets injectable vitamin B12 every other day to keep his energy up.
We went to three different vets, searching for answers as to why his coccidiosis wouldn't resolve. All three were baffled as to why he was so sick, failing to thrive, had chronic blood-filled diarrhea, and his little body was racked with pain. At the third vet, we ran into another puppy buyer of RCA Hunting Service who owned Rooster's brother. They were dealing with the same thing, however their puppy wasn't as fortunate as ours. Their puppy died.
My fiance was ready to throw in the towel on Rooster and have him put down after we neared $1000 in medical bills. He said we could've purchased a started hunting dog from good bloodlines for that much money. He was correct, but I believed there had to be a way we could save Rooster.
On 19 October, Dr. Brost began treating him with Marquis, off-label, for the Albon-resistant coccidiosis. He was also placed on Tylan, and then Prednisone as a last ditch effort to save his life when he developed neurological symptoms. After almost $1200 worth of medical bills now, he's finally starting to get better. To give you an idea of how emaciated he is, he weighs 13 lbs at five months old. That's THIRTEEN pounds. He's just gained those last 3 pounds in the past two weeks.
All of these problems are a result of the coccidiosis he had from before we got him. We know it came from before we got him because his infection was so severe just three days after getting him. It has a 10-day incubation period, as does giardia. The first vet we went to said the fecal exam showed a slide "filled with coccidia." The second vet found the same thing upon a repeat fecal exam, and couldn't believe the Albon hadn't stopped the coccidia infection. The third vet, Dr. Brost, also found coccidia, and recommended that we repeat the Panacur to retreat for whipworms.
I did that, and this time treated him for 14 days instead of the usual 3 days. He remained on the Albon all this time, getting weekly repeat fecal exams. He picked up the coccidiosis infection while he was with RCA Hunting Kennel. Another reason we know he couldn't have picked up either infection here is that, with the exception of CARRYING him into the vet clinics (I didn't let him walk, even when he was able), he never left our property once. We just purchased this home in July. Prior to buying the home, there had been no pets on the property for 6 years.
While coccidia can be difficult to remove from an environment, it won't last 6 years without a host. Also, Rooster's littermate was never on our property. We just met them last Friday. Yet, he had the same infection- but he was even worse than Rooster because it killed him.
We've long given up on any hopes of Rooster becoming a hunting dog or a normal pet. Each day is either a "good day" or a race to the vet on his "bad days." We can't even vaccinate him because his immune system can't respond. We don't know when or if we'll ever be able to vaccinate him for rabies, distemper, parvo, etc.. This means he can't leave our property because he has no immunity and could quickly become infected with another disease. He needs his feet washed every time he goes outside to potty in case he licks his feet-- he might become reinfected with coccidia since it's now in our property.
We are extremely disappointed in how this poor puppy has suffered due to a coccidiosis infection that RCA Hunting Service could've prevented by keeping their property clean, and using a better deworming product and schedule. The strongid they used once was useless against the whipworms. Rooster will need home-cooked meals for the rest of his life. The likelihood of him surviving to a ripe-old age is minimal because of the severe illness he suffered for so long. We will love him and do our best to accommodate his special needs for whatever time we are able to spend with him.
We'd like RCA Hunting Service to make this puppy sale right. We understand there was no written health guarantee, but believe he'd like to maintain your kennel's reputation. Alas, Craig won't even return our calls and e-mails. After talking to the other puppy buyer, we learned that he stopped returning their calls as well.
If you are reading this, it means you've decided to check out the kennel before buying a pup from them. I wish someone else had filed a report we could've looked at so we'd know who we were dealing with. Maybe then things would've turned out differently.