As true snobs, we love our vets. Who else is as interested in our dogs’ poop as we are? Most vets are awesome people doing a relatively thankless job for very little reward other than maybe not getting anal-glands squirted on them occasionally.
There are however exceptions to the rule and we’re going to bitch about them.
I, Potnoodle, am going to start off with a story of the event that kicked off this blog entry. First, you must know a little back story. I work for a person who owns dogs. Sometimes I am responsible for the care of those dogs. Recently, my boss has been ill so I’ve been more responsible. I work Monday through Friday. I came in yesterday morning to find a slightly smelly crate. No big deal, loose stool happens. It was bath day anyway. As the day went on, I noticed the dog responsible for the loose stool was a little lethargic. OK. I alerted my boss and my boss’s spouse and gave a dose of flagyl that the regular vet has prescribed for emergency loose-stool issues (because what doesn’t that fix, right?) This morning (Tuesday) I came in to no accident but a very lethargic dog that didn’t want to eat. Off to the vet we go, after consulting with my boss. I knew shit was going down hill when I arrived and realized which vet was on duty. The normal vet is an older guy, up on the latest info but not unwilling to go olds-school if needed. He’s got a great personality and listens to what the owner has to say. And then there’s the younger guy. He’s arrogant, to say the least. Also, I’m pretty sure he’s a backyard breeder of Caucasian Ovcharkas… but that’s off topic.
Anyway, I got there and described the dog’s symptoms, what had been going on, and his instant reaction is “Parvo.” Which, okay. It’s that time of year. Maybe if I had just picked this dog up at the shelter or from some byb. However, that is not the situation here. The dog hadn’t even been to a show recently and she’s not a fucking puppy. So, my reaction is. “Well, no vomit and it doesn’t really smell like Parvo to me.”
“Well, it does to me.” he says, before running a barrage of tests and telling me how traumatic Parvo is. At this point, he’s convinced me. I mean, he’s a vet right? He surely wouldn’t go on a rant about parvo if the dog wasn’t extremely likely to have parvo…. right? I’m ready to burn my clothes, bleach the house… all of it. After an excruciating wait, he breezes back in the room and doesn’t even mention parvo. Starts going over results with me.
“So wait, it isn’t parvo?”
“No, but it might be A, B, or C”
DUDE. I was having a fucking panic attack. You can’t just come back in and start prattling about fluids and bacteria in the gut. All these scare tactics because I gave the dog a flagyl … the exact thing you’re going to give the dog in the back room as soon as I leave? What a bag of dicks. A bag of dicks that sent the dog home… with flagyl, two days later. To clarify, I have no issue with the man treating the dog and doing whatever is needed. That’s why I brought her in. I do have issue with the condescension.
When I moved to Florida against my will and kicking and screaming, I kept my inherited dogs with the vet they had been with previously. Why not? They have emergency services, a decent enough pile of clinicians and can always fit you in even if it will take three hours. Now in this practice there were about 5 vets, but by sheer misfortune I always got the same one, let’s call him Assbags McGee. Dr. McGee is what one could call a pompous jackass. Questions about the effectiveness about a new Flea/Tick topical carried by the practice gleaned “Just use Frontline every two weeks, it’s the same thing” (No, it really isn’t), and over the realistic recovery time on my then elderly Jack Russell’s large lipoma removal was “I wouldn’t bother since I doubt the wound would heal but we’ll do it if you want” (Expertly not answering the question) and lastly my choice to Ivomec most months earned a lecture on how the dosing was impossible and I’d surely kill the dog with my lack of ability to do simple math. Yeah. Thanks asshole. Helpful. Anyway, lack of other local emergency options kept me there with reservation. I would very occasionally get my preferred vet there but Dr. McGee still managed to be there all the damn time. Even requesting the specific vet, the desk would screw it up half the time. An incident with Beatrice was my personal breaking point. I’ve been back twice to pick up management prescriptions for the oldest dog but have moved everyone else to my current practice and have no intention of ever returning for anything beyond maintenance on the 17 year old. As it happens the practice was recently and not very publicly sold to a conglomerate and now only Assbags McGee and his partner in shitty medicine, Bitchburga MacGuinty (Yes, the ulcer on the the bitch’s cornea is obviously the 3rd eyelid, good catch Dr. Magoo… The university vet wasn’t scratching his head over that one at all…) is left. We now take the extra 20 minutes to go to the university run emergency clinic up the road. It’s not worth the idiocy and expense of the headache and misdiagnoses.
When I first brought Mr. T home at 9 weeks old from the shelter, he had some minor hair loss and a rash. A few days after having him home, I took him to a local vet down the street from us. The vet informed me that it looked like a mild case of demodex mange and that he would need to do a scrape to confirm. Not long after, he came back into the room and informed me that it was indeed demodex and that we could start treatment immediately. Being a new dog owner, I agreed to his treatment plan and let him dip baby Mr. T in a Mitaban dip. I asked the vet if there was anything to watch out for, and he assured me it was safe and not to worry. I admit that I should have done my own research, but I was a first time dog owner and so taken aback by the diagnosis that I didn’t give it much thought. Turns out that was a mistake. Just a few hours later, Mr. T’s entire body was bright red and vomiting, he felt hot to the touch, and had terrible diarrhea. I immediately called the vet who did the treatment who assured me that everything was fine and to give it time and quite frankly, talked down to me like I was some neurotic puppy owner. At this point, I knew I had to trust my gut, so I ended up having to rush Mr. T to an emergency vet to have him treated for his severe reaction to the dip. The vet at the ER was amazing and took the time to explain everything to me, helped me ease my guilt for not knowing better, and took excellent care of my pup. Turns out that Mitaban dips are never recommended for puppies less than 4 months old and are usually only considered in more severe cases. Poor pup never should have gotten dipped. After Mr. T recovered, I called the original vet office and was bounced around voicemail and vet-tech and “conveniently” was never able to actually get ahold of the vet despite trying for weeks. When I stopped by, the receptionist was incredibly rude to me and insinuated it was my fault that my puppy had gotten so ill. While I take some responsibility in not being a more knowledgeable consumer, it infuriates me that this vet did a risky treatment on a young puppy and never bothered to follow up or return my calls. You sir, are an asshole and a terrible vet…or at least that is what my Yelp review said until you deleted it.
We have vet readers, we know. We love our vets. We trust them with our dog’s care on a regular basis. We also know that some vets get clients that come in and have already diagnosed their dogs or act like their dog is dying because it had some soft stool. WE AREN’T THOSE PEOPLE. We didn’t come in demanding meds. We came in looking for a diagnosis and we want you to take the time to explain that diagnosis. We don’t want to be a page ahead of you, we just want you to keep us on the same page and give us good care. These are our pets (And Potnoodle does love the dogs at work like her own, you only have to be Facebook friends with her to know that.) When a loved one is ill, there’s a lot of stress. All we ask is that you calmly, and without overstating or understating anything, help us understand what the fuck is going on.