Liam is a one-year-old pug who lives life to the fullest, a bundle of energy and personality. He was being treated for a urinary tract infection for a month but his lab results weren't improving as expected after two rounds of different antibiotics. On 10/04/17 an x-ray didn't reveal stones so he was put back on the first antibiotic. The next day he was a totally different pup, in obvious distress, vomiting, hiding, and hugging the walls. I called the vet three times, tried meds I had at home and made an appt for the next day.
At his appointment on 10/06 the vet tried to drain his full bladder but she couldn't pass a catheter despite several attempts. He needed sedation, I was told to go home. They were able to drain his bladder, he had gravely stones, but the catheter was stuck inside of him. I asked to go get him but the vet told me he would need emergency surgery to remove the stuck catheter, and neutering. Surgery was completed by 7 pm, they removed the crimped catheter and flushed out stones, Liam would need to stay in the hospital over the weekend.
Early the next morning a vet called to tell me that Liam had urine leaking through his incision and had swelling following his castration. I asked to visit him but was told pets get depressed after their owner leaves. Sunday morning his leaking and swelling were worse but the vet said he could wait until Monday morning to be transferred to an ER vet over an hour away. The local vet clinic is closed all day on Sundays. I made calls, got an appt and made arrangements. On 10/09 I picked up Liam and his records and rushed him to his ER appointment. His bottom and belly were very swollen and red, leaking bloody urine, his hind legs were swelling before my eyes, he was shaking, his panting sounded metallic.
At the ER Liam saw an internal medicine vet who ordered labs, imaging, and a surgical consult, I was told to go home. I received a call that he had stones in his bladder, urethra and scrotum and would need three surgeries, I completed and emailed paperwork at 6:30 pm and waited. At 9:30 pm the surgeon called: Liam's urethra had burst, they removed all of the stones and his scrotum, debrided skin because of the pooled urine and reconstructed his urethra. He would be in the ICU and need a catheter for ~ 6 days. I let him rest the next day and visited him on 10/11.
He can have 30 minutes visits twice per day, separated by 1-2 hours. Because of the distance I stayed so that I could visit twice before returning home. I visited three consecutive days, his leg swelling subsided, his tummy looked better each day but the catheter had to remain in place for possibly 10 days. Because he is young and strong he returned to his high energy level but needed rest in order to heal. Liam is a joy, the ICU staff called him a model patient but he ultimately needed meds to help him sleep more, he was being nosy and too playful. He progressesed, the IV was discontinued, we was switched to oral meds but still needed the catheter.
My Cowboy Baby spent National Pug Day, 10/15, in the ICU. The catheter was removed on 10/18, his urine output wasn't as good as expected, an ultrasound was done and a muscle relaxer prescribed. If all goes well Liam might be discharged from the ICU on 10/19.
The Costs -
I paid for three urinalyses, three prescriptions and an x-ray. When I picked Liam up for transfer to ER I was presented with another bill for $668. I've visited six days and will be going back, I've already filled my gas tank four times. I haven't purchased any food nor drink while traveling and visiting, except some cookies which I shared with Liam's ICU staff on National Pug Day.
Liam's current bill at the ER vet is at $9,410 which includes observation for 10/19. That will probably increase with take-home medicines, special food and followup care.
The Funds -
I initially was approved for a $5K credit line, 12-months interest-free through Care Credit. Upon discharge I will need twice that amount to spring Liam. I will have to use whatever credit cards I have if Care Credit doesn't approve a higher amount, my current credit cards are not interest-free. After I complete this writing I'm going to apply online for a new credit card that would be interest-free for 12 months, just to be safe, my fingers are crossed. The first payment(s) will be due within two weeks, I just received paperwork in the mail which should indicate the monthly payment due date.
My Pets -
I'm alone, my last two boyfriends are deceased as are my parents and brother, I have no children. My pets are therapy and my family, I'm disabled. I couldn't let this young vivacious pup die, nor ask a rescue to save him ... they would have had to fund raise, foster, then re-home my baby. I go without if my pets become ill, I budget for their expected needs and routine healthcare. I enter sweepstakes online, use coupons, buy discounted gift cards and find the cheapest sources for their quality kibble, treats,and healthcare products, but I could never have planned for this dilemma.
It's Hard -
I never ever expected to be in this position, it's both humbling and disheartening. I have volunteered my time, donated to disasters, sponsored families during the holidays, donated to animal shelters and rescues, and given new clothing and household items to people in need. This is not for me, it's for a beautiful, innocent pet who's had some bad luck but he's a real trooper. If you are able to donate, share this campaign with friends via email, word of mouth or social media, or even just post words of encouragement I will be eternally grateful. Thank you for reading about Liam's life-saving journey.
Baby Liam at age three months
Sitting is still uncomfortable but Liam is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, he sends kisses and love to everyone!
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