Cody’s recovery

Cody is my 9 year old Maltese that I’ve had since he was born. Recently, on Wednesday December 4th, 2019, I noticed Cody being extremely lethargic and very unlike his normal behavior. Animal lovers know that this is a big redflag. I immediately knew something was wrong.

I took him to the vet. I explained to the vet that it seemed he had partial blockage in his throat or something similar because he was trying to cough like us humans do when there’s something stuck in our throat. The vet did an initial checkup and noticed his teeth were in bad condition and recommended me to start dental cleaning and then he felt Cody’s esophagus and said he doesn’t feel anything so we should skip the X-ray and do a blood test and he prescribed Cody anti-nausea and anti-acid medicine to be able to keep his food down. The next morning the vet called back and told me that all his major organs were fine and that he  only saw some kind of bacteria in his bloodwork. So I quickly took him back to the vet to get an injection of antibiotics. When I brought him back in, they didn’t even ask how he was doing .. just “when are you gonna start dental cleaning?” I was so Wtf, told them I’ll start when he’s feeling better and left. I took the day off from work and monitored him during the day, because he was still coughing here and there. Cody was very tired and I assumed it was probably because of the medication. Later that night (6PM) he started squealing so I immediately rushed him to the urgent care and he was low on oxygen. They immediately got him some oxygen and when he was stable enough they had to do bloodwork again because my previous vet didn’t provide me a copy and they were closed. This time I insisted on doing a XRay. Cody was extremely lethargic and dehydrated at this point. The doctor showed me the X-ray and bloodwork results. Bloodwork was all fine but he did show me what I had been feeling about Cody’s throat. That there was a blockage in his esophagus. I was relieved that Cody was getting the attention I wanted him to get originally. Unfortunately they weren’t able to do the removal procedure there, so they recommended me a new hospital. Doctor wanted to keep monitoring Cody and provide enough fluids so that he would be stable (which I appreciated, they treated Cody like family) enough to transport. We were there till they closed at 12AM. I brought Cody in to the new hospital early at 6AM because the surgery team would be in at 8-10AM and that’s when they recommended me to bring him in as long as he was stable if not bring earlier. They immediately took Cody in and got him started on oxygen and fluids. Then the doctor sat me down and began explaining procedures and cost.

1. If they can just push down the blockage into the stomach with no tears then everything will be good and I was looking at around a$1500 medical bill.

2. But if they push down the object and there was a tear they would have to start surgery and then the cost would be around $7-9K and unfortunately they can’t start the first procedure without the $7k deposit.

No hesitation I signed the papers and swiped all my cards. They told me to go home and they will keep me updated as much as possible. They gave me a call around 10am saying that his procedure was going to start soon. After removing the blockage the doctor called me and it wasn’t great news.

They were able to remove the blockage but unfortunately there was a tear. They gave me two options: chest tube and food tube and monitor over weekend and hopefully it heals on its own or straight to surgery but there was no guarantee. At the time everyone, including my family and the doctors agreed that tubing and waiting the weekend was the safest move.

On Saturday December 7th, they called me in the morning to inform me that fluid was leaking so we would have to proceed with the emergency surgery. Immediately I gave them the go ahead. Surgery went well and the doctor was able to patch but not as much as she wanted because his tissues were so delicate. They did a fluid test and no leakage. He had to have his chest n side cut to be able to perform the patch but he is on great pain meds and antibiotics and still in an oxygen box. He also has an infection, they took a sample to send to the lab to see what kind of antibiotics he would need but unfortunately that can take up to a week so he will need to be at the hospital during the next week or so. But the doctor stated that she was hopeful in his recovery and so am I. 

As of now I don’t know the total cost in medical bills but I’m looking at over $15k and any amount would be appreciated by Cody and my family. Thank you for reading Cody’s story.

FYI anyone with small dogs stop all rawhides and jerky’s!!!

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Cathy Kim 
Orange, CA
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