Boz has heartworms! Am I overreating at the clinic mix-up?

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.

After the 'opps' my vet clinic made, I am changing clinics entirely for all of my pets. Overreation?

No, the mistake could have been fatal! Never go back!
20
87%
It was a terrible mistake, but mistakes happen. Only leave if there are other major issues too.
3
13%
It's not that big a deal, give them another chance.
0
No votes
You're definiely overreacting.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 23

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kaliya5
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Boz has heartworms! Am I overreating at the clinic mix-up?

Postby kaliya5 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:12 pm

The vet never called me about the HW + results and never would have if I had not seen the file myself over the counter. I am switching vets I'm so pissed off and having his HW treatment done at the new clinic. Am I over-reacting?

Some background:
Boz got some routine blood work and yearly heartworm test back on the 7th and the vet tech told me they'd have the results and a vet would call me tomorrow to say either all is well or there's a problem. No one ever called. I had no reason to think anything would be wrong so it kind of slipped my mind. I mean, he had a negative heartworm test from before I adopted him, his foster family had him on HW preventives and I have had him on preventive meds too and have never missed a month. He's not acting sick. After all, if there were anything wrong with him... surely they would call me.

Almost 2 weeks later I ran in to the vets office to buy some HW preventive b/c I was running low and I didn't want to forget. As they were filling the Rxs for all 4 of my pets they had the files all spread out on the counter and I saw something odd on Boz' most recent sheet... there was something highlighted in yellow... it said "HW+" and my eyes went WIDE... I looked back at the top of the sheet... the name was "Boss" (his old name, I hadn't changed it with the vet yet).

The tech noticed me giving saucer eyes to his upside down file and asked "You know Boss has heartworms right?" NO, I DO NOW THOUGH!!! WHY DIDN'T ANYONE CALL ME TWO F-CKING WEEKS AGO??? And no one was going to tell me b/c they assumed I'd been called. She didn't say anything until she saw me staring wide-eyed at the highlighted "HW+". There was no "I notice you have not scheduled treatment for Boss yet, ma'am" or anything when she opened his files. I guess she assumed I knew.

The results had gotten put back in his patient file instead of the "call box" letting someone know a phone call needed to be made about the results. I never got a straight answer on how or why this happened but thank god I happened to stop in so soon after the test. Otherwise the results would have sat there for who knows how long! Possibly an entire year! And in the course of that year I would have been working poor Boz's wormy heart with no knowledge about what was going on until he started showing symptoms. :po:

I have had some minor problems with this clinic before. Files get lost and have to be re-faxed, appointment times get overbooked pretty frequently (like scheduling 4 people for a 3pm time when there are only 2 vets and 3 exam rooms in the clinic...), I'd had questions about whether or not they were selling me meds or diagnosing my pets with things they didn't really have (other clients had the same questions I later found out) and things are just kind of disorganized and hectic every time I go. Also, on the day in question there was a BYB ad on the counter. Twice this spring I have been in and seen hand written ads like "Purebred puppies for sell. $250 each. Call Keisha" or some variation of crap sitting in a plastic display on the counter, covering up a "Spay/Neuter awareness" flyer. But nothing ever got f--ed up that effected me until now.

I was so upset I broke down crying in the waiting room and tried not to just indiscriminately yell at staff, b/c I don't want to be that woman. But I my head was spinning b/c this came from nowhere. I just stopped in to buy a few meds and then "Oh yeah, Boss has HWs, You didn't know?" BAM. The whole place feels tainted now.

My cat was due for her annual exam so my friend recommended another clinic and I got her in there two days later. I was SO impressed with the staff, the level of organization and professionalism, a donation box for my favorite local rescue was on the counter, and there were ZERO BYB posters. I asked to talk to someone about HW treatments too and was very impressed with their patient services rep. The doctor talked to me very frankly about different treatment options and the patient services rep was very nice and helped me digest everything (and spent a lot of time with me too).

Boz is starting his HW treatment tomorrow at the new clinic and I think I am going to switch all my pets over. I do like this clinic better but am I overreacting by taking all 4 of my pets elsewhere over this whole thing?

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patty
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Postby patty » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:30 pm

[b]No, the mistake could have been fatal! Never go back![/]

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luvnstuff
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Postby luvnstuff » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:43 pm

IF you have had him on prevenative ALL year and has vet records to prove it (reciepts and whatever they need) some companies will PAY for the treatment.

And yes..had you popped that monthly hw pill in his head it could of been fatal.

Be sure to have a re test to confirm that postitive before doing anything..they might of confused the results..didnt they tell you right in the office? its only a drop of blood and about 5 mintues??

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dogs4jen
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Postby dogs4jen » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:14 pm

I'm so sorry he has heartworms. That's a pretty bad mistake, I think I would switch too, and it sounds like you found a better place.
Jen

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Postby WackyJacki » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:39 pm

Nope, I wouldn't go back. I realize we humans make mistakes, but that kind of incompetency is not acceptable.

I agree with previous posts, get a second test (somewhere else!) to confirm the results (I'm sure if you see a different vet they'll want to do this anyway).

Which preventative was he on? What state are you in?

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

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kaliya5
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Postby kaliya5 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:43 pm

luvnstuff wrote:IF you have had him on prevenative ALL year and has vet records to prove it (reciepts and whatever they need) some companies will PAY for the treatment.

And yes..had you popped that monthly hw pill in his head it could of been fatal.

Be sure to have a re test to confirm that postitive before doing anything..they might of confused the results..didnt they tell you right in the office? its only a drop of blood and about 5 minutes??


I asked the vet at the old clinic about that and she said since he has been on 2 different types, one company will blame the other product on the failure. He was on Revolution with his foster family and they gave me some when I took him home. But the vet told me that Revolution is no good and becoming ineffective and sold me some Advantage Multi. So, b/c he's been on 2 different meds, she said the companies will ultimately blame the switch and not pay.

What she says probably happened was a) he was infected during his original negative test but the infection was either a false negative or too early an infection to detect, so the HW preventives just kept him from getting any new infections but didn't kill the existing worms OR b) one of the topical meds failed. Both Revolution and Advantage Multi are a multiple preventive for fleas/ticks/HWs/etc and applied on the skin. I will switch to Heartguard and a separate flea topical now, just to be safe.

As for getting the test results in the office, yes I SHOULD have. But that's the weird thing about this clinic... they said they don't have a "lab" per se. They were busy on this day and no vets were available to see me (I had an appointment scheduled but they were overbooked anyway) and a tech took him back to draw some blood and no vet was ever officially involved (probably one of the contributing factors to never getting called). She brought him back out to me that day and said it'd be tomorrow before they had any results. I thought that was weird but she said, for reasons I'm not clear on, they send out their samples for testing at another clinic. I know there are quick tests that should give you results in minutes, which is why I was initially confused and asked why a full day to hear back. They told me me that every blood, stool, tissue sample, etc. is sent out for testing and they don't get results back there for 24-48 hours on any test depending on how backed up that lab is. I was REALLY confused by that, b/c I know some HW tests can be done quickly with just a few drops, don't require a lab and only need a little test strip and a kit... I know it doesn't make any sense, it's just what I was told

And yes, I'm going to have the new clinic run a test tomorrow to confirm the positive before they start. If it was some kind of mix up I will be very relieved but also pissed off in a whole different way.

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Sarah
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Postby Sarah » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:51 pm

If he had a negative before, he can't have too heavy a HW load, and the prevention dose would likely have taken care of it. But, it sounds as though you aren't comfortable with that vet practice, and they do sound pretty disorganized. I think leaving seems quite reasonable.

You are under no obligation to remain with a veterinary practice when you find another that suits you better.

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Postby WackyJacki » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:53 pm

Of course they will blame each other. No surprise there.

It can take several months for a heartworm test to show up positive after being infected.

And no preventative is 100% effective.

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Roxers
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Postby Roxers » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:08 pm

Some clinics do not do in-house heartworm tests. I have no idea why, but that's just how it goes.

During his original heartworm test, he could have been infected with young worms that weren't old enough to produce the antigen (has to be >6-8 months) but were too old to be killed by the preventative. Preventatives only kill L3 and L4 larva, if they have matured to L5 (~2-3 months post-infection), they wont be killed and will continue to adulthood, when they start producing the antigen.

But yea, based on what you've said, I would switch vets. If it was just the one instance, I might not... (though I would still be very upset!).. but you have had multiple problems with them being disorganized with patient files.

How long has he been on heartworm prevention in total? How long on the Advantage Multi?

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tiva
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Postby tiva » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:26 pm

I prefer working with a vet whose office is set up to do lots of tests in house. I'm not good at waiting!

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jlphilli
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Postby jlphilli » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:25 pm

I don't think you are overreacting at all! What vet clinic was it??? (I see you are in NC)

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Misskiwi67
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Postby Misskiwi67 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:05 pm

I would also see a new vet based on the list of issues, and the fact that your new vet is much more organized. Mistakes happen, but disorganization in a medical facility should be the exception, not the rule.

I would get your pup re-tested prior to treatment. If they forgot to call you, they might have also switched his results around with someone elses or entered it into the record wrong.

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Postby Enamorada » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:42 pm

I know that at the clinic I worked at as a vet assistant, things like that just didn't happen because we did most tests in-house and the moment we got the results we documented it IN file, in the computer system AND we called the owner (the same day). If we got no answer, we left a message or if we couldn't leave a message we made a note on the computer (and the chart) to call the owner the next day.

PLUS the chart made it back to the DVM's desk at the end of the day and if possible we would tell the DVM face to face about the results ASAP. If the test was positive, the Vet made the call, if negative we did.


That clinic was organized. Our jobs depended on being specific and on being top of things. Making mistakes was NOT all right, because it can be fatal. Even the rare mistakes here and there were a huge deal in that clinic. No wonder they kept their clients and it was the most expensive vet in town!!

After working there I'm super picky with vet clinics. I want them to be clean, on top of things, professional, friendly and knowledgeable.

There's nothing wrong with high standards when it comes to your fur babies health and well-being !

Just my .02 :tongue:

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WackyJacki
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Postby WackyJacki » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:14 am

[quote="Enamorada"]
There's nothing wrong with high standards when it comes to your fur babies health and well-being !
quote]

Amen!

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Nanci
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Postby Nanci » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:11 am

Well, I'm sure Boz will be treated and be fine afterward. Bella had HW before I adopted her, and she is healthy now with no after effects.

It would bother me to see a vet that didn't even do basic fecals or Grams stains in-house. If someone has something, I want to start the treatment that day, not come back to pick up meds, or possibly even have to bring the animal back for a shot or whatever that could have been done at the initial visit.

I don't think it's unreasonable at all to switch clinics, especially since you like the new one so much!

Nanci


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