Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Cocker Spaniel

A trip to Cape Cod left Ori with more than she bargained for.

Vet Bill: $15,233

Ori - Cocker Spaniel


Vacation is supposed to be fun... and Ori's was. It wasn't until she returned home to Washington D.C. that she started exhibiting signs of pneumonia. From there things snowballed to the point where Ori was struggling to survive and her pet parents were faced with the ultimate decision that no one ever wants to have to make.

Ori's pet parent, Anne W., tells her story:

"We are incredibly grateful we had Embrace for our beloved Cocker when she contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and developed life-threatening complications. Embrace literally meant the difference between life and death for her and spared us a devastating tragedy.

We adopted Ori after she retired from her career as a grand champion show dog. Ori is a treasure--her tail never stops wagging and she loves being a pet. We fell in love with Ori very quickly and our love only grew with time. Ori is sprightly and generally very healthy. And then, very suddenly, we almost lost her. We had taken Ori to Cape Cod, MA for a vacation and to visit our daughter at her graduation. We returned home on a Friday in June. All seemed well, but by that Wednesday, Ori didn't want to go out in the back yard and my husband was worried she might have hurt herself. I took her around the block, watching how she moved, and she seemed fine. But the next morning, Ori didn't eat her breakfast. Like most Cockers, Ori LOVES to eat, so we were alarmed.

I called our regular vet, who worked us in that afternoon. By the time we got to the vet, Ori had a fever of 104.3 and pneumonia. The vet sent us off to Hope Advanced Veterinary Medical Center. At Hope, the vet decided to keep her overnight, put her on IV antibiotics, and have oxygen available if needed. At this point, no diagnosis of the underlying cause of the pneumonia had been made and Hope started running tests. Lots of tests. Expensive tests.I handed over my credit card to cover the overnight costs, which were over $1,000, and went home.

At 6:30 the next morning, the Hope vet who'd been on duty overnight called. Ori had taken a dramatic turn for the worse. She was having difficulty breathing and was in an oxygen tent. She had not only pneumonia, but also pancreatitis. The vet said she was VERY concerned. We said we wanted to do everything possible to save Ori.

Hope was wonderful about keeping us updated, but the news was progressively worse. Ori had an "overwhelming infection." She had sepsis and/or Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS). Her blood vessels couldn't hold fluid, which was leaking into her tissues. Try to save her, we said. Do everything. It was a true luxury that we could say that, and it was because of Embrace.

Ori had a technician with her around the clock. She had multiple consults from Hope's internal medicine department, adjusting her treatment. She had blood work repeated at regular intervals, all of which told us she was heading in the wrong direction. She had diagnostic tests, including an advanced test for tick-borne disease, after the initial test for Lyme came back negative. Late Saturday morning the ER vet called and told us we had to come right away. Ori was having terrible trouble breathing. She was incredibly sick. We needed to end her suffering.

When we got to the clinic, we found Ori sprawled in an oxygen ten, sides heaving with each breath. She was hideously swollen--almost unrecognizable except for her beautiful face. The ER vet said she wasn't in pain, except for the great labor of breathing, which was a bit better than when she called us. Ori opened her eyes when we opened the oxygen tent briefly to stroke her and speak to her. My husband and I decided Ori wasn't suffering so much that we wanted to end her life right then if she had any chance of survival. That vet cautiously agreed that it "wouldn't be wrong" to try for another 24 hours and see what happened. We all agreed that if Ori started to really suffer, we would end her life.

The bloodwork numbers stayed bad. We dreaded the phone's ringing. Each time we thought it was Hope calling to tell us Ori was dead. At some point, Ori's fever broke. But apart from that, the sepsis/SIRS seemed the same and some of her bloodwork was worse. Still, when I visited Sunday evening and put my hand into the oxygen tent to stroke Ori, she lifted her head! Ori had another internal medicine consult while I was visiting. The vet was very kind. He cared. He said Ori couldn't sustain her present condition. She would either have to rally very soon, or she would die.

On Monday morning, very early, the same internal medicine vet called to say that Ori seemed to be better. "That's amazing," I said. The vet said, "I'd have to agree with you. It's amazing." "It's a miracle," I said. "I can't disagree," he said. Ori came home that Tuesday--which is when the lab finally had the report giving us her diagnosis--Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When I went to pick up Ori, the internal medicine vet who'd agreed that we could try another 24 hours checked her out. She said they'd learned so much treating Ori. She said no one in the hospital thought our dog would go home. She thanked us for "staying the course"--which we could not have done without our confidence that Embrace would come through for us.

When I called Embrace around day 3, worried about maxing out credit cards, they told me to send the bills I had, that they'd start processing claims immediately. Ori's five-day hospital stay cost over $15,000. Embrace sent us a check for the full 80% within a few days. Thank you, Embrace!"

Ori's Claim Refund

Claim DetailsAmount
Actual Vet Bill$15,232.76
Covered Charges$15,232.76
Annual Deductible$1,000.00
Total Embrace Reimbursement$11,426.21