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  • Writer's pictureHannah Cossa

Maverick’s Medical Journey

The nightmare of not knowing what is wrong with your dog for two months and counting.

On June 13, 2023, just a few days after returning from a two week visit to Oregon. Maverick developed a sudden persistent cough. I immediately took him to his vets to be examined. His temperature, lung & heart sounds were normal, his energy level and personality was all normal. Yet, he coughed constantly. The RA we saw (not his regular vet due to last minute appt.) said she though it was likely allergies and perscribed him allergy meds & a cough suppressant. Two weeks went by and the meds did not ease the symptoms at all. So, this time his usual vet put him on antibiotics with the cough suppressant. No change. Shortly after that, he started having white & green thick nasal discharge from his nose and began reverse sneezing frequently for long episodes each time.

Long story short, we have spent the last 70+ days now trying everything to find out what is wrong with Maverick with no success He has been on various antibiotics, steroids, allergy meds, and cough meds, had 50+ blood tests to rule out fungal & other infections and diseases (all negative), and had X-rays (normal)taken. Yet, nothing has helped. Our local vets became stumped and ran out of ideas. We called around to over 15 hospitals. All referred him to try specialist of internal medicine at VCA Sacramento Referral Center. 3 hours out of town.

Yesterday, 8/24/23, we finally had our appointment at VCA. The estimate from VCA was an astonishing $8931.25 (low-end) to $11,164.06 (High-end). Much higher than the average given over the phone when making the appointment. Also, VCA requires you pay at least 100% of the low end estimate before they will provide any service. So I put the cost on 2 credit cards and left my darling Maverick in their hands to have a CT Scan, a scope and sampling of his nasal passage, and a scope and samplings from his broncials. All procedures were performed under anesthesia.

When he finally was okay to be released after the procedures, I was shocked to see his nose bleeding heavily all over his face. The specialist vet I met with had said his nose may drip blood when he sneezed, but what I saw was horrifying. He was also still very much feeling the effects of anesthesia and could not hold his bladder. The preliminary findings from the CT and scopes is that his nasal airway and bronchial airways are very inflamed, in other words Rhinitis & Bronchitis. The samples of fluids from both will be tested and examined by a pathologist. And so, once again. We wait. Wait for answers. Wait for a treatment plan that will actually help.

His illness has taken a toll on him and I. Besides the endless hours at the vet hospitals, extensive tests, and medications that get hopes up only to be left with no answers; the emotional toll has been extremely hard. Maverick cannot exercise or play with his friends. Maverick’s coughs, reverse sneezes, and heavy pants, have made him tired and sullen. He has now lost some of the personality everyone so loves. For me, I haven't slept more than 3 hours a night since he began coughing. My own mental health has deteriorated from the worry, stress, and exhaustion. But I have to try everything.

Why did you have to go so far?

Although Fresno is the fifth largest city in the state of California, it is lacking, among many things, specialist veterinary care. We have one hospital in town that calls itself a specialty care hospital because once a month they bring in (from out of town) a specialist vet for a day. But, their schedule is so packed that it can take 3 months just to get an appointment.

Why continue at such a high cost?

Anyone that knows me and Maverick, knows the bond we share is more than that of dog and human. It is that of a parent and child. Maverick is everything to me. He is my joy, my strength. my world. At just 4 weeks old, I rescued him from a senseless backyard breeder and brought him home. I nursed him through the days and nights. Since day one, I have ensured Maverick has always had what he needs and more. I've done everything to give him his best life. And he has given me a reason to live.

We are an inseparable pair, we enjoy going on adventures, traveling, hiking, kayaking, boating, and going to the park together.  Maverick was even in training to become my Service Animal just before becoming ill.

As of writing this post, we are home and still have no real understanding of what caused this illness, what it is, and what treatment there will be.

A dear friend of mine has created a Go Fund Me for us to help offset some of the cost of Maverick's medicinal expenses from VCA Sacramento. If you feel lead to donate, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you are unable to donate, but are able to share our story and support us in prayer or well wishes, I also thank you. I have placed the link for the Go Fund Me below as well as proof of invoice paid:

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Caitlin La Motte-Kerr
Caitlin La Motte-Kerr

Hi Hannah, I’m so sorry to hear about your dog, Maverick’s illness. This was posted in August, so I’m not sure of the current update but I hope it’s a good one.

Anyways, not sure if this posts my name or what, but this is Caitlin Blum from high school. I’m in the process of purging and packing for a move and came across a bag of letters from HS that I kept for some reason (?). Many of them were from you! Then I remembered what a sweet friend you were to me back in our soccer days and I wanted to know what you were up to and found you here. Your posts about Maverick resonated with me…

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