Oliver is a 9 year-old chihuahua/terrier mix that I found in a parking lot when he was three months old. He's always been a spunky guy, so much so that his nickname is "Monkey" because he seemingly had springs in his legs when he was a pup. About 5 years ago, he started gaining weight and vomiting often. Vet visits over the next 5 years would have us change his diet, increase his exercise, and have us do multiple thyroid tests on him. His thyroid would come back at the low end of normal, so he was never put on any medication and we were told it must be his diet, even though he was only eating 6oz of dry food daily.
The week of October 12, Oliver started vomiting, so I made a vet appointment as quickly as I could for the next week. At that appointment, the vet asked to do lab work and X-Rays to make sure he hadn't ingested something he shouldn't have. His liver values came back as being 5 times what they should be and I was advised to get an ultrasound for him. On Oct 23rd, I took him to another vet in Corona after calling 25 different vets to get him seen as soon as possible. The vet told me that they were sending the images to a specialist, and they would get back to me the next week. She told me she had seen many tumors and to prepare myself. Meanwhile, Oliver's stomach symptoms subsided, though his belly was hard as a rock and turning purple and black. Over the weekend, his breathing was so shallow that I thought he would pass in his sleep. When Monday came, the vet called and told me that everything looked fine, there were no tumors, and that I should see a specialist to try and figure out what was wrong.
After calling numerous emergency vets, I was able to get an appointment in Irvine for the next day. I ended up going early to the appointment because Oliver wasn't breathing right and I was worried he wouldn't make it until the afternoon. When I arrived, he was deemed as being stable and we waited in the back of my SUV for 5 hours to be seen. The vet took a sample of fluid from his belly which indicated to her that his gallbladder had ruptured and that he needed emergency surgery. At this point, I had already spent around $2,000 and she said that surgery at this vet would be $10,000. I didn't have that amount, so she texted a doctor in Upland who said he would be able to do it for $4,000. She said that Oliver had a 50/50 chance of making it through the surgery, but if I decided not to do it, I would have to put him down. I decided to try our last option of getting him well, so I drove him to Upland right away and he was admitted that night.
The vet called me the next morning and said that he was shocked that Oliver looked as well as he did, considering he may have a ruptured gallbladder. He said that he had high hopes for the surgery. After three hours, I received a call from him that Oliver had survived the surgery and that his gallbladder had indeed ruptured. He said that the bile in his stomach had become rock hard around his organs and that his liver and pancreas were highly inflamed. The vet said once again, he was shocked that he appeared so well when he came in considering his insides were such a mess. Oliver ended up staying another 6 days at the emergency vet, which ended up costing more than I had intended. He currently is awaiting to get his staples removed this weekend and then will have more testing done next month to see if he has underlying Cushing's Disease and/or hyperthyroidism.
What I am asking for help with is the additional expenses on top of the $6,000 I had initially put out between the two vets, the specialist in Irvine, and the surgery in Upland. The charges have been put on a credit card and I would love to be able to pay it off as I'm not sure what kind of bills I will be facing when we start his testing next month and I'm about to reach my credit limit. These unexpected expenses have completely drained my savings account and I'm struggling to support myself and my 6 other animal rescues. I know times are tough for all, so sharing this with your dog-loving friends or even just sending Oliver thoughts, prayers, and love would mean so much to me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
- Kendra Weyhrauch
- Camille Mamudu
- Jackie Gornbein
- Garrett Gopen
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