I got my 11 week old Akita puppy as a Valentines present from my husband. Three days later on February 17th she started sneezing and coughing. I took her to the vet on the 19th like I was requested to do by the Pet Store where I got her. They said to do this in case a puppy IS sick with something that was not present during her pre-sale examination, by the stores' vet.
She was diagnosed with "Kennel Cough" which usually is not fatal, but it is possible for kennel cough to turn into "Pneumonia". My puppy "Nanook" was put on meds for 10 days and was responding well until the 7th day. I took her back to my vet and they X-Rayed her and said she had pneumonia. She was put on stronger antibiotics.
In the next 24 hours she stopped eating, wouldn't take her meds and had no energy to do anything at all! I called the vet about 16 hrs later and he told me I had two choices; I could take her back to the store and get my money back or bring her in "immediately" to be put her on an IV with antibiotics and pray for the best but, the last few dogs he's seen this sick lately have died.
I rushed her over and she remained there for 2 1/2 days. She got much worse and they recommended a "24 hour Vet ER" so we took her to C.A.R.E.S (the company in question here)in Langhorne, PA immediately. They took Nanook back to be put on Oxygen as soon as we arrived. I waited for an hour and a half for a vet to finally come tell me my puppy was very, very sick and they "estimate" the cost, for only 3DAYS of care, would be $1,300 - $2,200. And I needed to put down a deposit of $1,100 right now! I said "Are you kiddin' me? Right this minute?" She said "yeah". Fortunately, I just got my Income Tax refund and I had the money in the bank. Normally though. This is not the case at all.
We went back to say good by to Nanook before going home and she couldn't even keep her eyes open, except when I'd speak to her and then her eyes would close again. I asked when I could visit her and the vet said "visiting hours are ALL DAY, EVERYDAY" I said great cause I'll be here allot. I went home, thought long and hard about "what I could do" and "what I felt I should do" for the puppy I had only received 2 weeks ago. I loved her as much as our last dog, who sadly had to be put down after 15 years, only 2 days before I got Nanook, which is why I got the puppy in the first place.
The vet also said "I'm not sure how much money the pet store is still liable to reimburse you for but it will be expensive" I told her they would still have to pay for $1, 400 of the bill.
I decided later the nite I would go get her and bring her back with us so we could take care of her to the best of our ability and if she was going to die I wanted it to be in "my arms" not with strangers in a cold, little box!
At 4am that morning I called over to check on her and their report was very negative. She hadn't eaten and has barely moved! The women said it would definitely be "SEVERAL DAYS or MORE" before she'd be well enough to leave!
I hung up and cried. I knew I didn't have the money to pay for it and any money I could get would come from our monthly expenses for our family of 7. The decision was clear now, I had to go get her. Which was really what I would have preferred in the beginning but I was encouraged to leave it to the Experts.
At 6:30am my vet called and said he came in and heard from his staff about Nanook and her status. I said "yes, I did take her over to the ER but I'm going to go get her in about 2 hours and bring her home! I told him the reasons I felt she should be with us now and he agreed. My vet told me the girl at the ER told them this morning, that Nanook ate real well on her own!
When I asked these people the same question only 2 hours prior to this, they said "no, she hasn't eaten anything yet and she barely picks up her head!" He said "if they don't give you what you need to take care of her, come in and I'll give it to you" Then he said "never mind, just come in right after you pick her up and I'll give you the antibiotics and tell you what you need to know."
I arrived at the ER @ 8:45am that morning and told the receptionist I was here to pick up my puppy-Nanook. She said okay and went in the back. I knew she'd be back to tell me how sick she is so when she came out I basically said "listen I thought long and hard about this. I don't have that kind of money, and regardless of her condition she should be with the people that love her if she dies. She said "okay" and that the vet would like to speak to me first. I said that's fine as long as she doesn't try to talk me out of it cause she'd be wasting everyone's time if she did. She said to have a seat.
We waited and waited, there wasn't anyone else there except for a couple with an older sick dog already in one of the patient rooms. About a 1/2 later 2 women came in with a cat and they took it right back. We waited some more. I decide to see if they were lying to me about her progress earlier this morning when I called, so I asked "has she eaten anything yet?" The receptionist called back to find out and told me "no, she hasn't eaten anything yet".
Now, I know she has eaten and I just gave them the opportunity to fess up, considering they don't know my vet re-laid this info to me! Then I asked how much longer it was going to be. I need to make it back to Jersey to the vets office before he leaves. She went to the back room, came back and said the vet was finishing with a patient and it shouldn't be much longer. I patiently waited again and called my brother and told him they lied again to me and to come up there cause my 9 yr old daughter was with me and if I didn't get my dog in the next 5 minutes I'd be going in to get her myself and somebody will definately get hurt if I have to do that!
Then I heard horrible yelping coming from a very small dog or a Puppy. I've heard my puppy bark and I know it was her crying and not a big dog. The receptionist came back out from the back, in between yelps, and I said to her "Is that my dog crying like that?" she said "let me call back and see" She said "no, no that wasn't Nanook" (Like I'm hearing things. and there's NO possible way it would be your dog.) But you can tell she is and has been, trying to buy some time, before I go get my dog. I asked "can I go see my dog now?" she says "well, the vet wants to see her first" I said "Well so do I and I was told by a vet last nite I could visit MY dog anytime I wanted. I'm not removing her this very minute I just what to stay with her while we wait, damnit!"
After I told the receptionist my plans I was seen by the vet within 5 minutes. She proceeded to tell me how sick she was and that she NEEDS oxygen therapy. I said " I don't care what you tell me she has or needs because, regardless of it, I'm taking my dog home with me and I'll nurse her back to health to the best of my ability no matter what I have to do. I also told her if you don't want to help me do that fine, I'll find someone else who will.
I asked her "what do you expect me to do? What happens when the money I DO HAVE runs out? Are you going to provide care to her for free or will you just let her die?" She didn't say anything after that. I said "that's my point. So it really doesn't matter how sick she is does it? I said "can I go see my dog now while you get the detailed bill typed up.) They charged us $698.00 for care and services provided in the 14 hours she was there!
Since That morning, Saturday 2/05 @ 9:30am when I finally got out of there with my puppy, I have taken her to my vets' each morning for an antibiotic shot, I take her in the closed bathroom with a Vicks inhalant vaporizer running and a "HOT" shower on until it's like a sauna in there about 5 to 6 times a day or whenever her breathing looks to be straining to her.
We do the coupage therapy to help bring up the mucus in her lungs and feed her baby food, chicken broth, rice, oatmeal cookies, water, oranges, steamed pork anytime she wants it. In addition to all that, she gets held, massaged, hugged, kissed, etc. pretty much constantly. She knows she is home with people who love her and wouldn't hurt her! She's been a little skittish since leaving that hell hole, but today was her 2nd visit to my vet and she weighed in at 9lbs. 7oz, 6oz heavier than that horrible day which is not even 2 full days yet! The vet said "it's just goes to show you what some tender love and caring can do doesn't it? Then he said her white blood cell count was SO high 2 days ago, she should be dead right now. she's a miracle.
These people are pathetic at caring for animals and should not be able to stay in business!! They fall in line, right next to the inhumane puppy mills and the stores who buy from them!
Hamilton, New Jersey