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This is my first post here, so I will apologize in advance for my questions, or if anything is out of place.

About a week ago, my family's 10 year old Shih Tzu, Sparky, began refusing to eat. Up until a day before, he was fine, acting like he always did. He seemed to be a bit lethargic, but was still somewhat active. He went to bark a few times, and choked each time. About a day or so later, my parents took him to the vet. After doing some blood work, the vet informed us that Sparky had kidney disease, but it was caught early. We were given 3 options: Take him there for one treatment, take him to the animal hospital, or put him down. Putting him down wasn't even on our list, so we brought him to the animal hospital for treatment. They immediately put him on IV, and informed us that his kidney levels (I forget the term they use) were a 7.0, and normal levels are usually only as high as 1.2. I began researching, and found out about Leptospirosis. We do have raccoons and skunks that come on to our property, and it has rained quite a bit lately. The more I brought it up, the more the staff at the hospital said otherwise. They tested him for it, but said it would take up to 9 days for lab results to come back. A few days ago, they began saying they were treating him for Leptospirosis, even though they didn't know if he had it. His number had gone down to a 6.2 after a day of IV treatment, and he gained 2 pounds of fluid that he then took off through urination. By this point, it had been a week since he'd eaten, and he was getting weak. On Monday, we were told he was too weak to even stand, his number had gone up to 6.5, and the option to put him down came up again. At the last minute, my mom said to give him one more day. Tuesday, they called to tell us that Sparky was, "Bright, alert, sitting up, and acting more like a dog, and had even eaten a little." They were puzzled and surprised, and said it's possible he was making a turn around. Today, the news wasn't as good. While he was still bright and alert, wagging his tail and reacting to noises, his number had jumped to an 8.0. Also, they got the lab results back, and confirmed he has Leptospirosis. As I said, they claimed to be treating him for this, but didn't even know he had it until today. Other than having no appetite and being somewhat lethargic, Sparky is exhibiting no signs of kidney failure or Leptosirosis. The last 2 days, he's been excited to see my parents, wagging his tail, wanting to go home with them, and tonight, he, let's just say he had a "male moment of excitement" that he hasn't had in awhile. So, at this point, no one knows what to think.

Our main concern is the hospital itself. It's the first time he's ever been to one. They seem more focused on getting paid than they are on treating him. They call every 2 days to let us know about the bill, how much we owe, how much it's run up to, etc. At this point, after 6 days, the bill is nearing $7500. Tonight, my mom got an itemized print out of the bill and, unless I'm wrong, I see no anitbiotic treatment for Leptospirosis listed, despite the hospital saying they've been treating him for it from day one. They also told us they would give him his DHLPP shot, since he's 2 weeks past due for it, but that wasn't done either. So, I have a few questions:

1. Sparky really isn't showing more than 2 or 3 signs of Leptospirosis. And, this sudden burst of energy and alertness over the last few days has everyone scratching their heads. How is it possible that a dog that is supposedly doing so bad can feel good?

2. If they were in fact treating him for Leptospirosis, then why is his number going up? The hospital has said kidney infection, not disease or failure. He's still urinating now and then. Also, they've checked him for tumors and heart failure, which both came up negative.

3. What is a "normal" animal hospital rate? We are being charged $600 per day for "continuous care." The rest of the balance comes from tests, and whatever else they can throw on there. As I mentioned, they seem to be more concerned about being paid than they are about making him well. I spoke to a friend that has a friend that used to work for an animal hospital. Her friend told her that we were being ripped off, and $600 should cover 2-3 days. We're not made of money, and it's quickly running out, which doesn't bode well for Sparky.

I appreciate any answers, or anyone taking the time to read this. Sorry if some of it doesn't make too much sense. Haven't slept much since this all began. Thank you.
 

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Hospital rates vary depending upon where they are located. I'd call another local vet and ask some general pricing questions, like, "what do you charge per day for "continuous care"?

I'd also speak to the vet, and ask him to show you where the antibiotic is on the bill, and when he started getting it. Getting the antibiotic would be vital, whether it's an infection or Lepto.

Sending good wishes to you for Sparky. We always had Lhasas, and Shih tsus growing up, and they are great little dogs.

You might look into Carecredit, if you need to pay the bill in increments. Not sure if you're familiar with it but it's basically a line of credit you can use for animal or people medical bills.
 

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Thank you, spotted nikes. The news is better today. 3 days ago, Sparky could barely move. Tonight, he was running and jumping. No one can figure out why, as he hasn't eaten more than a tiny bit of food in a week. His number came down from an 8 to a 7.2 overnight, and he's urinating and drinking. We believe he contracted kennel cough, and is getting over that now, which is helping him to focus on fighting the Lepto.

We were looking into Carecredit, and applied for it. I've also heard from a friend that there are charities that may help, but we need to look into that. Thank you again for your help and your well wishes :)
 
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