Zephyr's Kidney Treatment

On January 6th, 2018 we added a new member to our family. Zephyr, a 10-month old, big eared husky mix, was already was on his second home at the time after being picked up by the Colorado Humane Society. When we stumbled across his picture after looking at countless adoption sites, we couldn't help but fall in love with him. A spunky, intelligent, high-energy pup with captivating dark brown eyes. How could anyone possibly want to get rid of him? We were baffled.

After a meet and greet with his former family and a park play session with our other cattle dog, Jackson, we knew he was the perfect fit. Any dog that can steal our heart, and bring out the "puppy" with our often diva like Jax, would be a welcome addition to our small family. We brought him back home with us that night and instantly fell in love with everything about him.

Everything seemed like it was going perfect until this Monday. Zephyr, usually bouncing off the walls, seemed lethargic. Around 2am we heard a "gagging" sound and immediately knew what was about to happen. Although we jumped out of bed, we were too late, Z had vomited all over our bedroom carpet. After spending an hour with him outside to make sure he had gotten everything out, we brought him back inside. An a hour later, it happened again. We cleaned up the carpet and made a plan to call the vet as soon as they opened on Tuesday to bring him in.

Tuesday was the start of our nightmare. After running some blood work, the vet informed us that Z had elevated BUN and CREA levels. He was slightly dehydrated, and much to our surprise, was approaching kidney failure.  When the doctor told us that we had a chance of stopping and possibly reversing what kidney damage had already been done, we jumped on board with the IV treatment and hospitilized him for the day. Since he had to be monitored overnight, and our normal hospital closed at 6pm, we made a plan with his doctor to transfer him to the local ER for attentive monitoring and continued blood work. 

We spent most of our time Wednesday at the local hospital and ER. Since keeping him at the ER was simply too expensive for us, and we love his normal doctor, we transferred him back and forth between the two locations every morning and every night. By Thursday morning things were "looking promising" according to his Wednesday night blood work and we were hopeful to finally have him home. Unforuntetly, this was a false alarm. During his Thursday morning blood work we were told that his values had spike. In fact, they had almost doubled. He was now considered to be in "moderate" kidney failure and the tone of the doctors had switched to a much more unnerving tone. "We're hopeful that he will respond to treatment if we approach this more aggresively," they said, "but we can't promise anything." If I'm being honest here,  I spent most of that day crying. He was so young, so happy. I didn't understand why this was happening.

After devising a new plan of attack with the doctors, we decided he would spend one last day at his normal vet and would spend Friday night-Sunday at the ER. They would add some new medications, double his IV fluids, and perform a kidney profile every 12 hours for diagnostic purposes. Thankfully, Friday night, we were told that he was moving in a postive direction. Both his BUN and CREA levels had decreased significantly and he was starting to perk up. Unfortunetly this increase in energy levels meant that he tried to chew out his catheter in one of his trips to the ER, but we were beyond happy to see progress and even a smile from our little guy.

Now that we're able to focus less on the worst case scenario, and the doctors are feeling confident regarding a recovery, we're finally facing the white elephant in the room; the bills we've been racking up. Over a 4 day period, we had already invested $2400 in his treatment. By Sunday, we'll be hitting the $3500 mark. Weird how you never think you need pet insurance untill something awful happens, right?

People may wonder why we've invested so much money in a dog that's only been with us a short time, or why we're asking for help for a "personal issue." Those people, I believe, do not understand the stress that comes with a family member's illness, or the love one can feel for an animal that you've brought into your home. Z is our fur baby, the one that makes us smile on a bad day, and most importantly, is family.

If anyone chooses to help in Z's fight, please know that I'll never be able to thank you enough. All we want is our baby to be home and healthy.
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Lauren Frank
Colorado Springs, CO

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