On Sunday May 20th, I woke up and realized that my Great Dane, Annabelle, hadn't come in for her morning kisses like usual. As soon as my boyfriend and I start talking, we're usually joined by my giant dog with tail wagging and kisses to the face as she climbs in bed with us to snuggle for a few hours.
I went to check on her and she was on the floor, which is odd since she's a comfort creature who usually prefers the couch. I went up to her and barely got a response. I called Kevin in and normally she can't contain herself with excitement when he enters the room.
Nothing. Her eyes could barely even stay open and she looked uninterested in everything.
We got her to stand up and realized she was not putting her right foot down at all. We tried walking her; she couldn't walk. So we ran her to the emergency vet (since it was a Sunday). My boyfriend had to carry her because she couldn't walk.
The day before she was her normal goofy self. Playing ball at the dog park, and even rough housing with a new Great Dane puppy. She came home and was fine that night. It all happened between when we went to bed and when we woke up.
At the emergency vet, her fever was 104.7. She was a very sick dog. They kept her all day on Sunday until her fever went down. He said her paw looked to be injured but that it likely caused an infection (she had elevated red blood cells). He sent her home with an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory medicine for the injured paw. Original bill was $900 which I didn't have. I burst into tears because she is my baby and the wonderful vet lowered it to $600.
Sunday night my boyfriend and I slept in the living room because she couldn't move and I didn't want her being too far from me. He slept on the floor and neither of us got much sleep.
I took Monday off and luckily I did because her paw did not stop gushing blood. I had never seen so much blood just gushing without stopping. Obviously, I couldn't let it continue so I took her to my regular vet. She thought it was foxtail that had weaved it's way into the paw, we scheduled Annabelle for surgery the next day and all should have been well.
This was how swollen her paw was before the bleeding even started. It has only gotten worse from here.
However, things turned ugly the next day. When they opened the bandage up, they found that the whole on her paw had grown to twice the original size and her flesh was rotting around it. The vet called and said she felt it was either a brown recluse bite or flesh-eating bacteria (such as MRSA).
I took her in for a second opinion with the emergency vet who saw her on Sunday and he said her tissue was liquefying. It was one of the worst cases he'd seen in a very long time. He was leaning more toward flesh-eating bacteria, but said a brown recluse bite could still be possible. He did say that with aggressive veterinary treatment, she would survive. She might lose part of her foot, but that she would be fine if we did everything the vet is asking of us.
Sadly, we still don't know what we are dealing with.
We just know that her skin and tissue is rotting at an alarming rate. She went from playing catch with us on Saturday to us looking at her dying within the week if we couldn't get this under control.
Today is Wednesday and from the massive amounts of a variety of antibiotics, she's doing better. The wound hadn't grown any larger for the first time since this whole ordeal. It's not reversed yet, no healing is present, but the fact that it stopped spreading the way it had is a good sign.
Her clotting tests came back normal showing that her body is healing the wound.
Everything is pointing to good signs if we keep up treatment.
The issue is cost. I have spent $2,000 since Sunday. That's over half my monthly salary. I pulled money from my IRA to pay for services and I am running low over there.
Today alone was $870. Tomorrow? Another $300. And until she shows healing, it could be $300 a day to hospitalize her. Then it will be regular vet visits with special bandage changes ($55 a day - I am hoping to negotiate or learn how to do this myself at home). Once she starts healing, she will need surgery to remove to dead tissue and to either stitch/graft or amputate as needed depending on the damage that is done. This could add up to a couple thousand more depending on the course of treatment.
She requires all of this to survive. Right now, it's looking more and more like a flesh-eating bacteria. A super bacteria of sorts that got into her injured paw and is killing the tissue. It's crazy how she can go from being fine on Saturday to having her foot rotting away on Tuesday. It's mind-blowing and terrifying.How she is today (Wednesday)
For a dog with flesh-eating bacteria on her foot, she's almost back to normal personality wise. The antibiotics seem to be working on the internal infection, it's just the wound that needs to heal up. While at the vet this morning, she climbed up in the chair next to me like normal. When I came to pick her up this afternoon, she pulled the vet tech down the hall to get to me. She's now putting a little weight on the paw which means the pain is subsiding. She's happy to greet my roommate once again, and she even begged for food last night (which I spoiled her with two hot dogs because she's been through a lot).
She's on the mend, the treatments may be working. Though without knowing what the bacteria is immune to, it's going to mean a lot of trial and error to get this under control for good.My Situation
I won't go into my sob story great length since this is about Annabelle. But I left a really bad relationship about 2 years ago, moved out to California for a job opportunity to be in my field... and Dang, it's expensive out here. Rent takes up half my monthly salary and I wish I was exaggerating. It's tough. I have barely been able to save up anything and I live very frugally to make ends meet. My pets always come before me, their needs get met before mine and I make sure they eat better than I do. They are my world.
I had to get Annabelle spayed last August, and because she is a Dane, I also had her stomach tacked to help prevent bloat (You can Google it. It's a Great Dane issue). I used Care Credit to fund that. She had sickness associated with the surgery which required a lot of vet visits, and Care Credit came into play again. Then my cat got sick a few times... and my Care Credit is maxed out. They can possibly raise my limit, but I will know in 7-10 days.
I don't have 7-10 days. I am running out of money and the vets I have found don't take payment plans because they push you to Care Credit. They require money up front, which I don't have anymore of. I've dug into my IRA and will deal with penalties later. The $1000 I pulled out yesterday is already gone to the vet, I am broke once more.
My family is poor, I can't get it from them. My savings are burnt up from this. I really don't know where else to go. I am so ashamed to be asking for help, and hope no one thinks poorly of me for it.Help Needed
I hate asking for any help, but this girl is my baby. Anyone who knows me knows that this dog is my world. I talk about her nonstop, I take her everywhere I go. I make sure she has the best possible life I can give her, and I go without in order to give it to her.
I have had a rough few years and she's been able to bring me so much joy. I seriously can't imagine life without my giant beast of a dog. She's a cuddle buddy who loves nothing more than being loved on by a human. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body and adores everyone she meets.(This is a photo from a month or so ago. She's snuggling in bed with Kevin on a Sunday like we do every Sunday until this last one shook us all up.)
If you know of any charities that would donate to the vet on behalf of Annabelle to get her the services we need, please let me know. I am researching it a bit, and doing my best to find help that I can get right away. This all happened so fast and needs to be treated fast. If you know of a vet in the Orange County, CA area that would take payments or help me out, that would work great too. I just need it quick.
Knowing I can save her if I just had the money... I have to at least try. I have to at least ask.
Don't feel any obligation whatsoever, especially if you have helped me in the past with anything whatsoever. I don't want to be greedy or pushy. Several people have asked to help me with the vet bills and I am passing this along because I can't deny that I need help. If you can't help financially, but want to help out somehow, then feel free to pass this along. Pass it along anywhere you can think of, I don't mind.
Anything. Any little bit will help here. Even your thoughts and prayers mean the world to me since I believe in the power of positive energy. So keep those coming as well. Or just pass it on even. Maybe someone out there can help me in a way I never would have thought of on my own. You just never know.
Thanks everyone. I will try to make sure everyone gets at least a personalized "thank you" card if I get your address (so please consider leaving that. I may include a photo of Annabelle once she's healthy once more). I am more than willing to repay the favor in any way I possibly can. Never hesitate to ask.
For more about Annabelle, here's a video and a public post I wrote up about her. You can see that she really is a terrific dog and I love her so much.
If the link doesn't work, my paypal e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Apparently people are having issues there. I apologize for that :/