On Monday, January 28, 2008 at about 5:30pm our bunny rabbit Lola began gasping for air. Afraid that she was choking, we rushed her to Mars Hill Animal Hospital for help. Lola was taken back and put on oxygen. After about an hour she had stabilized a little but was still gasping for air. The doctor called us back and discussed treatment options. The prognosis was that she either had something stuck in her respiratory tract, or that she had contracted pneumonia. The doctor said that she needed to sedate Lola to take an x-ray and visually inspect her nose and mouth. The doctor explained the risks, and said that respiratory problems in small animals usually had a low chance of recovery.
I explained that although we didn't have much money, and that I understood the risks and pitfalls, that Lola was a member of my family and that I would appreciate them doing anything they could to save her life.
A little later the doctor came out and said that Lola made it through the sedation and that the x-rays showed her having pneumonia. Lola was given a shot of antibiotics and a very light sedative to keep her calm. The doctor seemed reluctant to treat her any further at this point, and told us that setting up an oxygen cage and keeping her at the facility would not be possible. Did I mention that it was now well after closing time for Mars Hill Animal Hospital? I wonder now if that is why it was too much trouble to setup a place to keep her for the night.
As we were getting ready to collect Lola and go home to take care of her, we were told that we needed to pay her entire bill right now. After explaining that this was an emergency that we hadn't planned or budgeted for, that we had been loyal customers of Mars Hill Animal Hospital for almost eight years, and that we lived less than a mile away; the doctor made a comment that it was her fault: she should have asked for money before treatment, and that we had to pay something tonight regardless. We were finally allowed to write a post dated check for the services rendered and take Lola home.
She died less than ten minutes after leaving Mars Hill Animal Hospital.
Even though they are named Mars Hill Animal Hospital, and their advertisements claim that they serve dogs, cats, and small animals; we were told that they were not setup to treat small animals such as Lola. She was stabilized, diagnosed, and patched up to be sent home and die.
Even though Mars Hill Animal Hospital claims to care about your animals, it's your wallet they really care about. If they had asked for money before treatment like the doctor mentioned, I guess they would they have let her die right there? I can't help but feel that if I had money that night, that more treatment options would have been made available to me and that Lola would have gotten a fighting chance to survive her ordeal. As it was, I was treated like dirt for not planning to have money for this emergency, Lola received the bare minimum assistance necessary to keep her alive while at the facility, and we were sent home for our pet to die.
Too close to closing time, and I didn't have enough money in my pocket to save her.
Please remember this and pass it along. Don't trust your animal's emergency treatment to people who care more about money than they do about their responsibility as caregivers.