I bought my puppy Bailey back in June of this year, unfortunately i had no found this site at that point, but i read books etc before hand and as my parents had owned a cav i knew it was the right dog for me.
I went to look at a number of litters, and eventually found a breeder who seemed to be caring towards her animals. She was licenced by the council and *told* me that the parents were heart and eye clear (i realise now i should have asked for proof of this). I got Bailey at 9 weeks and bought her home with me. She had a slight sniffle so i was given antibiotics by the breeder (said she had been given them by the vet) she gave me a '10 day money back guarantee, so that Bailey could finish tablets and be vet checked by my own vet).
Bailey's sniffles came also with a cough i discovered when i got her home, but within 3 or so days, Bailey appeared fighting fit. I took her to my vets 5 days after getting her and they said the lungs were clear, no heart mumur etc and gave her the ok. I emailed the breeder and explained the antibiotics had worked and she was given ok by vets.
Whilst at the vets, Bailey was weighed - at 9 and a half weeks she weighed 1.65kg - the vet said she was very small for her age, but she was eating and drinking fine. For the next few weeks, there were no issues, she had runny poo but i thought that may be just the change over in food (graduual though). I woke up one morning to very runny pooh with blood in it, i wrapped up my baby and went straight to the vets.
They weren't sure at first so antibiotics were given, oral rehydration fluids and probiotic paste. The blood within the poo stopped within a day, but poor Bailey's tummy still wasn't right. This was eventually diagnosed after a stool sample as coccidiosis and was medicated for this. Again i contacted the breeder, as the vet said that the litter-mates owners should be told. The breeder basically said it was not from her kennels, and she was 'at a stump' as to why Bailey was ill.
Bailey was really run down by this point and her old cough started again, she was really poorly with her cough and again i was back to the vets (i must have been there at least weekly since i bought her by this point!) They gave her new antibiotics and kept telling me they thought it was kennel cough. However many times i told them my westie was fine and had no symptoms of the contagious kennel cough they clearly did not take this on board. After 2 and 1/2 months of persistent illness i went to a second vet for a second opinion. Bailey had by this point probably been ill for 2 out of the 3 months in total (and i am probably underestimating there). It took me til she was 19 weeks old to get her fully vaccinated due to her ill health.
The second vet had Bailey's documents faxed to her and asked me about her 'kennel cough' (yes the origional vet had the diagnosis still down as this!) anyways... i explained that lily was fine, vet agreed this was no way kennel cough. Bailey was placed on antibiotics, bisolval and freusamide for 7 days after which she may need x-ray on her lungs and chest. well after 7 days she wasn't completely better, but vet said no need for x-ray as great improvement. She gave bailey another 5 days of antibiotics and halfed amount of freusemide for 5 days and i was to take her back after 4-5 days off meds.
As soon as meds decreased she started to get worse, when off meds completely her cough was terrible, really chesty, catching her breath and snorting a lot and you could hear all the mucus in her as she was sleeping. My poor puppy was getting worse :-(
Back to the 2nd vets... i didn't feed bailey in case they wantd to x-ray, an saw the same vet again. She listed to baileys heart, lungs etc and is convinced this is not in her lungs, she believes it to be chronic damage in her upper respiratory tract from when she was a little pup. She said that x-ray will not confirm this and she didn't think an x-ray would be beneficial. However she did say that an endoscopy would show us everything but would cost approx £1000 Bailey is fully insured, however due to her being ill with this from day one, none of this is covered and all her vet bills to date have not been covered. Quite frankly i just can't afford that and explained this to the vets. I also asked what if i saved the money - what would it tell me.. the answer i got was 'i'm not sure, probably exactly what i have said - that she has chronic damage'. I then asked what can be done about the chronic damage... nothing, just medicate her when her cough is at its worst Well we decided to try again with meds... i asked for 1st antibiotics which i had had from initial vets as they had cleared it... we also had freusemide and bisolvant again.
I came out and i was so upset, i couldn't afford to help my puppy with an endoscopy and didn't know what i could do. I spoke to a lady at work who helps to rescue breeding bitches, she pointed me to a homeopathy vet for a consulation. she has used this lady a lot with her rescue dogs and said it may help. All of this happened last week which is how i found this site, googling about coughs...
We are now on thursday of last week... straight after getting home from vet number 2, i rang vet number 3. Apt made for saturday (just gone) but she advised to start meds from vet 2 straght away which i did. The homeopathic vet (number 3) was lovely, she was supprised at Baileys size (3.3kg at 6 months) and asked about her syptoms, what she's like at home, how she is with our dog lily etc... she was suprised that no one ha x-ray'd yet. She said she would put together a homopathic mixture over the weekend and post it out to me (rather than me make the 2 hour round trip to pick it up). She said that should Bailey not improve she would strongly suggest a chest x-ray as was concerned that although she doesn't have a heart murmur, she could have an enlarged heart.
Well.. we have a day left to go on vet 2's meds and no coughin... woo hoo... also this morning the homeopathic remedy arrived, and i am gonna start that also to try and make sure it stays away... now for the reason of my post....
i would like some advice on a few points:
1. what would you do about the endoscopy? its money which i just don't have right now and it would take me a long time to save. As Bailey is so little i am VERY concerned about anaesthetic, but if it will help her then i will have to. I just don't know what it can tell us and what can be done about this... the vet gave me the impression that it won't be treatable, just deal with the 'flare ups'.
2. although i am worried about anaesthetic, would you insist on x-ray? i just don't know?
3. I now am registered with 3 vets, who do i stick with? My Westie is with vet 1, and i am currently seeing number 2 and 3 regarding bailey.
3. I have been advised to take breeder to small claims court by a friend (we work within the cirminal justice system). The reason for this is to reclaim the money i have spent out on vet bills (i would guess at about £500 in the 4 months i have had her.. maybe more), i would then place this aside for future treatment (as each vet is certain these are long term problems). Has anyone done this before? would anyone advise for or against this?
I'm sorry to make such a long winded post, but there's a lot of info for such a short space of time.
I would be greatful for any opinions or advice.
Em & Bailey x