Hello. My name is Caitlin (Yoshi) Killough. Last week a devestating occurence happened to one of my fuzzy babies.
The victim of this story, is my ferret, Onion.
I have had him and his little sister Marshmellow for two years now.
They mean the world to me. And I go out of my way to do/give them the best I can. Feeding them a balanced raw nutritious diet, making sure they have plenty of love, play time, and treats. And I try to have them roam outside of their cage as much as possible while supervising them. In that short amount of time, we've traveled from New Mexico, to New York, and now Oregon. They are my family, and I never will leave them behind.
Last week is when the horrible occurence took place. Onion was having problems going to bathroom that night. It was the first time I had noticed it, but just assumed he was consipated. I gave him some water (which he drank and played in) , and a tablespoon of pumpkin puree (which can be used for constipation in ferrets in small amounts). When I awoke the next morning, I knew something wasn't right. He was still attempting to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes. He was clearly straining from contracting his muscles all night. And he was very, very tired. I picked him up, and noticed how tight his belly seemed. He whimpered.
Immedeatley me and my fiance went to the closest vet...
It was 7:00am, so they had just opened. However they told me that no doctor had arrived yet. And worse yet they only saw cats and dogs. They referred me to another place nearby, but took 20 minutes to get to in traffic. DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital. We checked in quickly, but they deemed him stable enough for me to fill out paper work before they saw him. I told DVM Katherine Earl,
"I think there is a blockage of some kind."
The doctor performed a simple examination. She said that ferrets rarely ever become constipated. That the fullness seemed to be in his bladder. She told me they don't usually perform on ferrets, seeing as they were more experienced with cats and dogs, but graciously still offered further examination and possible treatment... with the cost of it being steep, and just as expensive. She was very kind and up front with me, as well as the women at the front desk giving me a large list of places that did specialize in ferrets. But just having that simple emergency examination and giving him some pain medication had cost me $139.69.
From there, my fiance had to leave for work, so I was forced to wait with Onion at the Animal Hospital for a Lyft ride.
We had to go to the next town over at Southwest Animal Hospital. At least there they speacialized in 'exotic' pets and pocket pets. After filling out a very detailed form, they took my Onion and begun the examination. After some X-rays, and my go ahead, the DVM Mark Burgess showed me what the issue was.
It was a blockage of sorts, but in his bladder and urethrea. He had bladder stones. Large ones. And male ferrets apparently cannot pass them. His urine was literally being backed up into his bladder and was on the brink of bursting. The cause of these bladder stones?
After moving to Portland we were very tight on money, so I had decided to temporarily switch my ferrets to Marshall's Premium Ferret Food for awhile.
The doctor expressed to me how deathly they are, and how multiple petitions and customer complaints had gotten other company's to remove peas from their ingredient list. Apparently the largest company in ferret breeding and nutrition SOME HOW didn't get this memo. Thus I had been serving my poor babies a death sentance.
They had to do emergency surgery. The only grace I had received payment wise was that they miraculously had zero surgeries to perfrom that day due to multiple cancelations. Because of this they were able to wave the emergency fee (which apparently was also substantial). I had to pay a deposit before hand of a percentage. It cost $605. $382 of it was thankfully saved to be put towards the final cost of the surgery.
After 2 hours of surgery, he was out. This is what they found.
These are the stones they extracted. The size of nerd candies. He had to stay over night for examination, and I got an unfortunate call from the doctor explaining how everything that could go inconvenient in the surgery, had. So... this raised the price.
I went back the next day to pick up my brave boy and bring him back home after paying the final bill. Of $1463.50.
They could not allow me a payment plan due to people lying and ducking out of their bills in the past. And I wasn't eligable for the veterinary payment card I had applied for. So without hesitation, I payed it all and depleted the entirity of my bank account. It has been 5 days since than. And Onion is in recovery mode.
He has 4 different medicines to take, and cannot hang out with his sister until his 18 sutures from the surgery are removed in the next on coming nine days.
He and his sister are needless to say on different ferret food perscribed by the doctor. Natural Gold Ferret Food. But as I've stated, we are completely broke after dropping a total of $2206.19. Not evening costing the amount of money I was not able to make due to missed work for these two days.
I don't want to ask for more money than I need. I just want to be able to live with my fiance and my two wonderful ferrets in pain-free peace. And now with the threat of losing my job, I cannot risk doing nothing.
Like many of you I do my best to make an honest living for myself and my family. So I am prepaired to work to reward those who donate to our cause.
For those who submit $15 or over, they receive a free print of my sweet little Onion as a thank you. It will also be hand signed, and mailed right to your door.
For those willing to spend $50 or over, I will graciously do a thank you digital art commission of a bust of their own pet.
And that, is the entirty of our story. I am potentially jobless by the middle of this month and would perfer to be able to support my family until than doing whatever I can. I do have a couple of potential interviews, but I need to cover every base I can think of. Having the funds to atleast recover from these medical bills will give me a chance to look for more work and be able to provide food and shelter for my family.
So please, share this with ferret lovers, pet sympathizers, Marshall haters, or just ANYONE and EVERYONE you can think of. Any support you can offer, even a dollar will go MILES in helping us. One dollar for us, is 30 loads of fresh clean ferret bedding!! So please don't consider even such a tiny amount as insignificant. Even your thoughts, and words are go so far. Just reblogging and sharing. Please, please share this story with those you love.
Thank your so much for listening to our story...
- Karthika Solai
- Cheyenne Albers
- Sarah Myers
- Nikki Ocasio