Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Scrappy survived the anesthesia.  It will be about a week before we know the results of the biopsy on that sore on his leg.  He came out of surgery with 12 less teeth.  I knew he'd have to get some teeth extracted, but it didn't occur to me that he would need to be on soft food for a while.  It's obvious, but I've been so busy chasing the horses around, working on Bombay's leg wounds, getting the horses caught up on their vaccines, hoof and dental care, and getting their hay restocked that I just didn't think ahead to the dog's surgeries.  Fortunately, we have some soft dog food in stock, but that's one of those little pieces of information that would have been good to know ahead of time just in case we didn't.  We have to special order our dog food over the Internet because of Midge's diabetic diet and Scrappy's tendency to form fatty tumors and gall stones.

Now I am officially administering 6 different medications between 2 dogs, and 2 medications between 4 horses.  I should have just become a vet, because taking care of sick and injured animals is my specialty.  That and scrubbing blood and vomit out of upholstery and carpets.

I've noticed that veterinarians are not good about forewarning pet owners about all that is involved in post-op care when it comes to optional surgery.  I'm sure they know that if they went into details before the surgery, they would have way less patients to perform surgery on because their owners would get cold feet knowing they couldn't fit all that work into their schedule.  As is, I cringe every time someone invites me to, or tries to schedule me for, some early morning or early evening event, because I literally can't leave the house due to Midge needing her medications.  I do tire of telling people I can't have a social life because I have to give my dog her insulin shots.  Obviously, giving an injection only takes a minute, but the timing of administering medications is important, and I can't be sitting in a restaurant somewhere while my dog is slipping into a diabetic coma.

The vet tech kept me in the clinic for about 40 minutes signing legal paperwork that essentially said I would pay the bill, and then they actually made me pay the bill before the surgery.  I guess all the paperwork was just in case my credit card got rejected, my check bounced, or I gave them counterfeit cash.  They also wanted to make sure they had their money ahead of time just in case something went wrong during surgery, and I refused to pay because they killed my dog.

Two doctors and multiple vet techs spent hours with us every time we came into the office pressuring us to agree to this dental cleaning for Scrappy.  They acted like they had all the time in the world to argue with us about why it had to be done.  They continually pushed paperwork on us to educate us about canine dental care, even though that was never the reason why we brought our dogs to them.  When I finally agreed to do the dental care, those doctors and techs spent an equal amount of time with me going over the estimated bill.

Despite them sucking up a bunch of my time on two separate days discussing the bill and repeatedly having me sign papers saying that I would pay it, I discovered that once my dog came out of surgery, the vet suddenly didn't have the time to speak to me, and the tech ripped through the list of items in Scrappy's post-op care fast as an auctioneer and made me sign a piece of paper saying that she went over it with me.

It felt kind of like buying a car, in which the salesperson follows you all over the lot for hours while you sit in cars and take test drives, but as soon as you get your loan set up and hand over a check for the down payment, the salesperson suddenly moves and talks like he's on fire when going over the specifics of how to operate the vehicle.  He's literally shoving you into the driver's seat and slamming the door to get you off the lot.

I didn't catch half of what the vet tech said, and when I started asking questions, she quickly whisked me out of the examining room and disappeared behind closed doors.  The receptionist made me pay a second bill for the balance, and then said, "If you have any questions, just call."

I was standing there thinking, "I've got plenty of questions right now, but obviously everyone is too focused on getting home for dinner, so I guess it will have to wait until morning."

I had to carry my dog, all the billing and post-op paperwork, all the medications, my truck keys and my purse out to the car.  No one helped me with the door, so I had to put the dog down and have him stagger through the doorway while I held it open.  This was right after the tech told me that Scrappy would have to be carried since he was still groggy.  She was going to carry him for me, but we couldn't find the receptionist to set up the two follow-up appointments he needs.  The office was like a ghost town.

Then once the receptionist appeared, the tech disappeared, never to reappear.  Perhaps they had some emergency going on in the back room, but they sure left me with the impression that all they cared about was getting their money.  Helping my dog and me wasn't even on their radar.  I am continually disappointed by this vet clinic, but from what I hear, all the vet clinics in my area are the same or worse.  It just makes me miss my old vets back in Nevada more.

If vets keep up this behavior, they will find themselves on the level of used car salesmen when it comes to consumer confidence.  They did something very sneaky by having the vet tech hand me several pages of paperwork and telling me I need to initial next to each procedure that I am giving them permission to perform.  She showed me another list of all the things they had to do in order to perform the surgery, and then she suggested that the paper work I was going to initial had the same list.

Fortunately, I took the time to locate some reading glasses, and I discovered that while two of the items did correlate between the two lists, everything else was optional, unrelated vet work, such as treating for heart worms.  They have pressured me to get my dogs involved in that expensive heart worm racket every time I go in to their office for anything at all, and I'm about ready to scream at them and say, "How many times am I going to have to say no before no means no?"

They are like robots that repeat this sales spiel over and over to everyone who walks in the door every time they walk in the door, and they never consider just asking once, recording the answer, and then dropping the subject in order to save the sanity of the customer.

So, I went right down that list putting my initials next to NO for every unrelated procedure.

So, poor Scrappy will be stuck in the cone of shame and bandages for a while.  It will be difficult for him to eat, drink, poo and pee.  I just hope it is all worth it.

Oh yeah, and they had to get in one last dig over me not getting his teeth taken care of sooner.  The vet tech said, "I don't know if you noticed, but he had advanced periodontal disease.  That doesn't happen overnight, you know."

I wanted to say, "I don't know if you heard, but I adopted this dog when he was a senior citizen right after he had major surgery.  You should be thanking me for even taking on a dog this old with so many medical problems instead of hassling me about it."

It's funny how she didn't have the time to answer my questions about my dog's post-op care, but she did have the time to express her judgment of me.


KarenTX said...

You are paying for their services. You make them explain everything especially if it's post-op procedures. Just calmnly say "I need to have the vet explain this to me." Period. Then wait.

Bournerider1 said...

Hi! I also have an older diabetic dog that has fatty tumors. What type/brand of food do you feed your dog?


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Bournerider1 - Here's a link to it:

Camryn said...

I know your broke from all the expenses but, just in case. They have soft collars (cones of shame) available. Basicaly little inner tubes with velcro. Little guy will be much more mobile. Petco, Petsmart care them I know. About $15.00 & up depending on size. Be sure to measure his neck so you don't have to go back and forth returning if doesn't fit. Ask me how I know this part :) My sons dog had an amputation and the soft cone was awesome during her recovery.

fernvalley01 said...

Glad he made it though surgery, sorry that clinic, seems to just suck

Once Upon an Equine said...

Awww, Scrappy, get well soon. I feel like I'm being fleeced when I go to my own dentist too. I've noticed that about small animal vets lately. I recently switched to a new vet office for my dogs because of bad misdiagnosis that ended up with me at the Emergency Vet last Christmas Eve, having my elderly dog euthanized. The new vet was trying to get me to sign up for a "health maintenance" plan that is paid monthly and included a yearly dental cleaning. I've never had a dog that needed teeth cleaned every single year. And the ex-vet had been telling me for the last 5 years "Sadie probably needs her teeth cleaned in a year". Good luck with Scrappy's recovery.

Cindy D. said...

I have worked at a couple different small animal hospitals there. I seem to recall that the vet in your town was one of the worst. Mesa Vet Hospital was by far the best. Expensive but worth it. It was built by a Dr. who really cared about the animals and their owners. His name was Dr. Ken Jeffery, he was a heart specialist.(he also came up with the treatment for Valley Fever that is still used today) Of course this was a gazillion years ago. He has since retired, and I have no idea if the integrity he insisted on, remains. Also I know that there used to be a good on in Gilbert. I have been told that Arizona Equine is one of the best Large animal hospitals in the country and that is from Vets from WY, so hopefully that is a good thing.

I think it is terrible what they put you and your dog through.

Snipe said...

Maybe some of the locals can refer you to a better vet. I suppose it could be worst, but it's hard to imagine how that could happen. Glad to hear the old fella made it through the procedures.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Believe me, every time I meet someone who owns dogs, I ask what vet they use and whether they would recommend him/her, and the answer is always no.