Bully & Lily-vet bills & need meds

It's unbelievable how much negative stuff has happened during the last 4 months; it sounds made up to make my story sound worse, but, sadly, it's all very true. I started writing this gofund summary in September, but then the bills kept adding up, so I waited, but I have no way of paying for future medical care & don’t know how I will pay off the debt I have accumulated--I am a disabled vet and live on a fixed income, but when it comes to my kids (Bully & Lily) I try to do the very best that I can for them. It’s just got to a point that I can’t do that anymore & am VERY heartbroken, depressed, & sad that I can’t & that I am asking strangers for help to pay for my kids.

Short summary for those who don’t want ALL of the details & after my short summary, there is the longer detailed version:

My 6 yr old male frenchie, Bully, had a liver & colon biopsy. He's been in & out of the vet/hospital since August 12th. Aug 20th & 26th he had surgeries to drain abscesses & was diagnosed w/cellulitis from unknown origin. At that time, I found out that he was having liver issues because the vet did his blood work prior to his 1st surgery on Aug 20th; his ALT was over 1,000 & the normal range is under 100. He started denamarin & was scheduled to get it rechecked a month later. The vets & I were hoping that his liver would get better once his face issue was resolved & he got off all the meds, but, sadly, that didn't happen. On Sept 24th, his ALT was over 2500. On Oct 5th, he had an ultrasound on his liver, but everything came back normal. The next step was a liver biopsy; to get enough samples for the copper test & other tests, the specialist recommended a laparotomy biopsy of his liver & colon, which is a major surgery. I wanted to get this done because damage to the liver can be reversed if caught early enough. The vet was also recommending getting a colon sample b/c of his history w/gi issues, so it was practical to do both at the same time vs possibly having to do the colon later. Bully was diagnosed w/hepatic microvascular dysplasia (HMD or MVD); which is when the microscopic vessels within the liver are underdeveloped or absent; the animal can no longer process toxins or make proteins necessary for growth and normal function. Luckily, most dogs are clinically normal with medical management and many have normal life spans. Occasionally dogs with HMD can progress to liver failure, and a few dogs will die within 4-6 months of diagnosis because of the severity of their liver disease. Once again, I am super lucky because his disease was caught early enough, so Bully’s liver is not severely damaged; therefore, with supplements, meds, & careful monitoring, Bully should have a normal life!! HMD is not preventable because it is a hereditary condition. (I put the website where I got this information below).

To make matters worse; my rescued 4 year old female frenchie, Lily, has an issue with her urine--her pH is 9, which is high. Usually, this means a UTI, which she is prone to, but her culture & sensitivity came back negative. So, a high pH can lead to stones & the vet recommended Royal Canin urinary formula, which she's allergic to b/c it has corn in it, so I went to our holistic vet--she recommended a supplement, Wysong pH-; Lily is currently on this & I will get her rechecked in a couple more weeks—super hopeful that this will resolve her pH issue.

Prior to these medical issues, in July, Bully & Lily saw a new holistic vet because I am trying to find a solution for their allergies or at least a way to reduce them—they are severe & both of them are miserable more days than not. That bill was just under $1,000. Prior to that, in May, Bully hurt himself somehow jumping off his cot, which is less than 6” off the ground—he pulled his leg muscle, so that was a little over $500. Both Lily & Bully are on lots of meds for their allergies, so that cost adds up as well.

Unfortunately, Lily, is not doing well on apoquel compared to Bully, so she was scheduled to get intradermal skin testing on the 12th of September, but I had to cancel that due to Bully’s astronomical vet bills. If I was rich, I would love to get them both allergy tested, but that is definitely not an option for me. The allergy testing, including the 1st month of meds is around $1,000. Then the meds (drops or shots to build up immunity to allergens) can cost $200-$500 p/month for up to a year or possibly their lifetime; however, that cost would possibly be reduced the longer they are on it.

COSTS (so far): according to my excel spreadsheet they are slightly over $10, 200, which I was shocked to see that number; however, I didn’t include every vet bill & these are only including vet bills after May of this year, so I kinda don’t want to know the real total.

My spreadsheet with the figures listed below includes many of the vet bills, but I left out some of the lower cost ones because it was getting ridiculous writing them all in. I also included pics of many of the major bills, for those who require proof. If you want pics of every vet bill, I will be happy to send it to you.

 The long version, which include most of the details:

On 12 August Bully went into the Carmichael Banfield vet clinic because the right side of his face was swollen. The vet diagnosed it as a bug bite and gave him Benadryl and tramadol. On the 16th, the swelling had continued, so took him back to the vet, he was given prednisone in the belief that it was still a possible bug bite that was not responding to the Benadryl.

On the 19th, the swelling had increased & on the 20th he had emergency surgery at the Roseville Banfield to evaluate what was causing the swelling. They did blood work prior to his surgery & discovered that his ALT (liver enzyme) was over 1,000; normal range is under 100. Since his face was a more serious issue at the time, we wanted to address that 1st. The swelling turned out to be an abscess, so it was drained & flushed; he came home w/a drainage tube in his right cheek.

The 21st & 22nd, he wasn't improving, but he wasn't getting worse. Then on Tuesday the 23rd, he had his drainage tube removed. He still was not improving, but he seemed to be stable, so we continued the antibiotics & we were hoping that he'd start feeling better.

But then on the 24th, he had swelling on the top of his head & he screamed in pain when I touched his right ear, so I went back to the Roseville Banfield. Dr. Knapp sedated bully & tried to do a needle aspiration in several spots where the swelling was, but no fluid came out. So, Dr. Knapp thought it was inflammation & she saw that his ear canal was being squished from swelling, so she said that can be really painful. So, she prescribed more pain meds, advised us to use cool compresses to try to reduce the swelling, & to monitor it closely.

I used cool compresses for the swelling & there was no change until around 5pm it started to get a little worse. He also stopped eating & would not even drink any goat milk, but, luckily, he was still drinking a little bit of water. During the night, the swelling got a little worse.

On the 26th, I took him to the Roseville Banfield as an emergency walk-in @8am. They ran his ALT & checked his electrolytes; he was dehydrated & his ALT was still high. So, the vet recommended that he be hospitalized to get IV fluids, get an ultrasound of his face to see what is going on with it, & see an internal medicine doctor. She recommended that we go to Marqueen Pet Emergency & Specialty b/c they have the capabilities to address all of his issues & she really likes them.

So, we took him straight to Marqueen Roseville location & saw Dr. Nielsen, who agreed w/everything the Banfield vet had suggested. So, we left Bully in their care. Later that night Dr. Nielsen called me to inform me that they started him on IV fluids, added different antibiotics to the one he was already taking, & a different pain medication; in addition, she diagnosed him w/cellulitis. She told me that the ultrasound showed several small pockets & a couple larger pockets that appeared to be filled w/fluid (assumed pus). She aspirated a little over 1cc of pus & blood from one of the larger pockets (behind his ear) & hopefully, the other pockets will get better w/antibiotics. She sent out the aspirated sample for culture & sensitivity, so that they can make sure that the antibiotics they are using will kill the bacteria, but we had to wait for the results of this test, which will take a few days. We went back to visit w/him for a little while & he looked miserable, so we kept our visit short, so he could get his IV fluids & rest.

On the 27th, he was doing much worse. We visited w/him for an hour before they did another ultrasound. The ultrasound today showed a pocket that was significantly larger today vs yesterday, so Dr. Kohen decided to drain it. Dr. Kohen, had a hard time getting to the pocket b/c it was very deep, but pulled out 100cc (about 1/2 cup) of pus from behind his right ear, some of that fluid was also sent out for a culture & sensitivity test. Dr. Kohen also put in a drainage tube below the backside of the base his right ear. He did well w/surgery. He felt so much better after having that fluid removed. We went to visit him a few hours after his surgery & he looked a lot better!!! Prior to the surgery, the vet techs would carry him into the visiting room, but after the surgery, he walked in on his own & he seemed a tiny bit peppier!!! Late in the afternoon of the 28th, bully was discharged. He had the drainage tube removed after 5 days & the culture & sensitivity test came back that clavamox would kill the infection, so he stayed on it for 3 more weeks.

Bully continued to improve over the next few weeks; however, getting him to take his medication became a huge hassle. He was also mostly deaf. We were super happy that his hearing got better after about a month.

Then on Sept 24th, Bully had a liver enzyme panel test to check on his liver. All of our vets & I were really hoping that his liver was doing better, but was in shock to find out that his ALT was now over 2500. Next step recommended was an ultrasound of his liver.

On Oct 5th, he had a liver ultrasound, which came back completely normal. Next step recommended was see an internal medicine specialist for a liver biopsy.

So, we went back to Marqueen b/c they were so awesome the 1st time. I called to coordinate with their vets & they said to bring him in on the 10th.

October 10th, we met w/Dr. Byerly, who recommended a liver aspirate b/c this test is less invasive than a liver biopsy. After that she recommended a laparotomy biopsy of his liver & colon because it is the best way to get enough samples for a copper test & the other tests--this is a major surgery.

I wrote this in the short summary: I wanted to get this done because damage to the liver can be reversed if caught early enough. The vet was also recommending getting a colon sample b/c of his history w/gi issues, so it was practical to do both at the same time vs possibly having to do the colon later. Bully was diagnosed w/hepatic microvascular dysplasia (HMD or MVD); which is when the microscopic vessels within the liver are underdeveloped or absent; the animal can no longer process toxins or make proteins necessary for growth and normal function. Luckily, most dogs are clinically normal with medical management and many have normal life spans. Occasionally dogs with HMD can progress to liver failure, and a few dogs will die within 4-6 months of diagnosis because of the severity of their liver disease. Once again, I am super lucky because his disease was caught early enough, so Bully’s live is not severely damaged; therefore, with supplements, meds, & careful monitoring, Bully should have a normal life!! HMD is not preventable because it is a hereditary condition. (I put the website where I got this information below).

Most of my major expenses are from the liver & colon biopsy—around $4500. Then the cellulitis issues cost around $3500. The new holistic vet was just under $1,000. Bully’s pulled leg muscle was around $500. Plus all of the other meds during this time & Lily’s dermatologist visit ($200) puts my vet bills just over $10,000 since May. That's also not including my monthly payment to Banfield of $100 for their wellness plans.

Bully has skin issues, allergies, & GI issues. Over Bully’s lifetime his care & vet bills have been outrageous (easily over $20,000: he had an extreme case of brachycephalic syndrome, so when he was 6 months old, he had his palette shortened & his nasal passages widened; in addition, he was neutered & he had his wrinkles removed from under his eyes (obviously, he still has some, but his wrinkles aren’t as extreme as they would have been). I only had his wrinkles removed b/c he was already having serious skin issues—yeast & bacteria & he was going to be under anesthesia already. He was diagnosed w/GI issues right away. We did several food trials & never discovered any specific food allergy, except that he did better on a grain-free raw diet. During the first 5 years of his life, he tried over 15 different premium commercial dry foods, several different vet prescription dry foods, several different freeze-dried raw foods, & several different commercial raw diets; as I said, he does best on a raw diet, so I am trying to continue him on that, but it is expensive. I am looking for cheaper ways to continue him on that as well & have found some promising ideas.

Lily has severe allergies & also does much better on raw, so hopefully, I can continue her on it as well.

Many of the expenses:
BULLY
Date cost description
8-Nov $155 labwork
4-Nov $48 meds
1-Nov $86 meds
1-Nov $47 tramadol (pain meds)
27-Oct $3,006 liver & colon biopsy
26-Oct $107 chem 10 panel (labwork)
26-Oct $139 lab work
10-Oct $393 liver aspirate
5-Oct $480 ultrasound & meds
24-Sep $120 labs & meds
10-Sep $43 ear swab/exam
3-Sep $92 meds
28-Aug $2,911 drain abscess & hospitalization
26-Aug $28 labs
24-Aug $23 meds
23-Aug $70 meds
20-Aug $230 abscess drained/anesthesia/labs
19-Aug $42 meds
16-Aug $49 meds
4-Aug $223 meds
14-Jul $215 new vet visit & meds
8-May $518 x-rays & meds (diagnosis: pulled leg muscle)

LILY
1-Nov
19-Oct $101 urinalysis & visit
19-Oct $61 meds
29-Aug $30 meds
12-Aug $205 dermatologist, lab, & meds
7-Sep $61 meds
14-Jul $721 new vet visit, labs, meds
$10,204

I WOULD BE SUPER SUPER ECSTATIC FOR ANY HELP!!

I am SUPER happy that I have a Banfield optimum wellness plan because I pay $100 per month for both dogs & get free office visits & many other benefits--since I have dogs with lots of medical issues these plans have saved me a huge amount of money!!

A couple of years ago, Bully was hospitalized with severe case of kennel cough & I did a gofund & was SUPER happy & appreciative that people supported me by donating just under $500. That issue cost me just under $5,000 & I am still paying on that. I hated to ask then, which makes me really sad to ask again; however, I am in desperate need of help.  People say this all of the time, but it's so true...if everyone donated $5, it would really add up & even if everyone donated $1 it would HELP!!!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!!


https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/hepatic-microvascular-dysplasia















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Tia Schier 
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Fair Oaks, CA
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