I was so pleased our first few days with Benny. I knew we made the right choice and he fit in perfectly with our life style. Speaking of our lifestyle, we are the hop in the car last minute and decide to go somewhere kind of couple. Whether it be to the beach, mountains, or a last minute weekend get away to a city we’ve never been to, we like to do as much as we can with the free time we have. With that being said, the first few days home we exposed Benny to everything we thought would be good to knock out while he was young, that way he wouldn’t be scared of anything we might want to do with him. Turns out, long car rides don’t phase him either! But little did we know, we were carting around a sick puppy.
When we purchased Benny the puppy store gave us this nice little folder with all of his vaccines and paper work from the vet that they are associated with. The lady told us that two weeks prior Benny had Kennel Cough, but has been cleared by their vet twice that it had gone away and she sent us home with three more days of antibiotics that we would finish up with him. After his last day of antibiotics she had me take him to their associated vet, free of charge, to get one last clearance. So I took him, the Doctor listened to his lungs, signed the paper the store had me bring, and told me he was good to go. Aside from that, Benny seemed perfectly healthy the whole first week we had him home. He didn’t have a lingering cough, we couldn’t even tell he was sick. The only thing I thought was off was that he slept A LOT. But, like I mentioned before he was on the mellow side for a puppy and everyone said “he’s a baby, he’s growing he needs to sleep”. I just always pictured puppies being little balls of energy that ran around chewing on everything. Not Benny, which I’m still grateful for.
On Sunday morning, 8 days of Benny being home, Jim woke up first thing to take him out, and he mentioned when he came in that Benny was shaking a bit, but he went back into his crate to go back to sleep…we thought maybe he was just cold. A couple hours later when we got up for the day, Benny threw up and was shaking even worse. Now we didn’t have our own vet yet, so we called the vet that the puppy store sent us to. They didn’t have any available appointments that day. We called around to other local vets and every one of them were booked, all of them telling us to keep an eye on him and not seeming to impressed with a vomiting puppy. He spiraled downhill within an hour. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything, continued to vomit, started breathing heavily and wheezing, the poor thing wouldn’t even keep his eyes open. We knew it was time to take him. We carried him outside to let him go to the bathroom before we left and he wouldn’t stand up.
We started at our local pet store that has a hospital on site. They said it could be anything from him eating something that got stuck to something wrong with one of his organs, all things that would require a full work up of labs, x-rays, etc. The vet didn’t like the look of him, and told us right away that he was extremely dehydrated and would most likely need an IV. He was also nice enough to tell us that if they started all of these procedures there and they decided to send us to an ER for more extensive care, the ER would end up doing all of the same testing all over again. So, we left and took him to VSEC.
By the time we got there Benny was completely lethargic, breathing heavier than he was before and wouldn’t even keep his head up for us. The vet came in and took Benny for x-rays. Finally, we had an answer. Benny had terrible pneumonia that more than likely stemmed from the Kennel Cough. The vet told us they had to keep our pup for the next two nights on an IV and in an oxygen chamber to regulate his breathing. She also said if he wasn’t eating on his own after the two nights, he would have to stay longer. Jim and I were devastated. I’ll never forget the feeling. I was so sad for him and couldn’t believe we had to leave without him.
We called the hospital at least three times a day checking up on him while he was there. After two days, we received a call that we could come pick up our boy! They did re-check x-rays that showed his lungs were progressing from the medications, his oxygen level was back to normal, and he finally ate on his own! We had to continue medication with him for one month, take him back to the hospital every two weeks for re-check x-rays, and keep him on a bland diet of chicken and rice. After lots of meds, check ups at the ER, and LOTS of VERY expensive bills, Benny was back to himself.
Some food for thought and a benefit of PLANNING for a puppy- you can do your research. You can read reviews on puppy stores (which we later found out the place that we purchased Benny from has had multiple law suits and potential to be shut down in the past), or you can plan to adopt, or rescue a dog. Rescuing probably would have been the route Jim and I took had we planned, but it turns out, we rescued sweet Benny anyway 🙂