Alarming trend in veterinary medicine

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.
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artemiss
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Postby artemiss » Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:11 am

Ya know, I feel the same way, Jazzy.

I had a great dane that had her crop done at a different vet than our normal one.

They REFUSED to let me come back while they removed the stiches.
Both of us were freaked.
Long story short:
This vet missed about half of the stiches in one ear, which caused an infection and delayed wrapping by several week.
Had I been there, I think I would have been better able to subdue little miss separation anxiety (who really had a high pain tolerance and was fine with procedures), would have been there to watch (and question) why stiches were only pulled out of ONE ear in that spot.

Since then, I will RUN not walk away from any vet not comfortable doing routine procedures in front of me.
Somethings, yeah, I understand. But a new vet, for a blood draw?
Nope.
Sorry.

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Misskiwi67
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Postby Misskiwi67 » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:03 am

Seriously people... how about actually TALKING to your vet, saying hey, I think my dogs will behave better with me in the room, so can we try it my way first? If not, then I'll let you take the pup in the back where expert handlers can get the treatment done in a hurry...

Its not that hard.

But then, be prepared to get sprayed with anal glands, peed on, bit, sprayed with diarrhea and everything else veterinary technicians have to put up with.

If you haven't worked in a clinic, then don't question the things we see on a daily basis. I've had owners bring their dogs in for nail trims, and we take the dog in the back where it screams its head off... and when we get back the owner is crying because she thinks we're killing the dog. We didn't even quick a single nail. Do you REALLY think that dog would be better behaved with its owner babying the little brat while it screamed and by babying the dog encouraging the behavior in the future? I mean... seriously.

We do the things the way we do because its faster, safer, and better for everyone. If an owner doesn't know how to hold their dog and it gets away, its just learned how to manipulate people and it makes it that much more difficult in the future. Yeah... lets totally encourage that kind of behavior...

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Sariss
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Postby Sariss » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:07 am

I guess now that I am in a better mood (worked a 14 hour day yesterday, ACK), I will give my 2 cents.

I don't automatically take animals downstairs. I usually will ask if they are comfortable being in the room while I do a procedure like a nail trim or a blood draw. Some owners won't even want to be present for a nail trim! lol
If they say yes, I will give it a shot. If they say no, downstairs they go. The owners are more than welcome to come down with me unless it is crazy down there or there is a surgery going on.

However, sometimes it is better if the animal goes downstairs. From experience most animals tend to be a lot calmer away from their owners. On the other hand, some are 100x worse without their owner there. It really depends on the animal, and I can usually guage that when I am in the exam room talking to them and doing the initial assessment.

Some things bother me though. A lot of owners who are willing to stay for a procedure are good. Some are bad. I get a lot of people who want to stay and want to also restrain. This can be tricky because if they do not know how to properly hold off for a blood draw, it will become a long, drawn out, and stressful procedure. I have also had a few times where an owner refused to let the kennel staff restrain for a blood draw or a nail trim, and when the dog jumped or yelped they were all OHMYGOD, and completely let go of their animals and I was at a high risk of getting bitten. Especially when they are the type that want to restrain, and don't want their high strung GSD who growled at me when I came in to be muzzled. That sits well in my stomach.

Other things include when doing blood draws infront of owners - while a lot of the times most technicians and vets can hit the vein first try - this isn't always the case. If your animal is sick and dehydrated, it may be more difficult than normal. Maybe your dog has very small veins with not a heck of a lot of blood pressure? Maybe they are superficial and blow easily? I always explain these things to owners beforehand, but I know some techs wont and owners freak out when they dont get blood in 20 seconds.

Going "downstairs" in my clinic isn't bad. Some other clinics may be different. Technicians and doctors just tend to trust their kennel/vet assistants. I trust them to have a rock solid composure who wont even flinch if a dog screams, let alone let go and risk one of us getting hurt. Many animals are 'less is more' - very minimal restraint. I trust my kennel to be able to do that, but to be able to move quickly enough and not miss a beat if that goes wrong.
The worst that happens downstairs at our clinic usually is laying your dog on its side with someone on the front end and someone on the back end while we draw blood. Sometimes the dogs need to just be overpowered, but there is no smacking or whatever. Trust me, when I take your dog downstairs I am not chaining him to a wall and beating on him with a rabies pole.
That - and extra help is readily available downstairs. If I have a kennel staff holding for me and I am taking blood and the dog becomes too wiggly for them to handle - there is always at least another kennel staff, another tech or even a doctor or two downstairs who can move and hold the dogs butt or something.

Just my two cents. Then again other places are different. I have heard of complete and unneccessary manhandling, but not with us.

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Postby Linariel » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:14 am

I trust the vet I have now. They do not take the dog away, and spend time letting the dog get comfortable with them before touching it or getting close. This was extremely helpful with my fearful dog.

Since they rarely take the dog away for anything, when they do, I trust that they are being handled properly. Now if I had a dog aggressive dog, I wouldn't let them handle them, because they have office dogs.

A few years ago, before I had a dog, I took my cat to a local vet. Everyone there was extremely friendly, helpful, and nice. One day I was speaking to my brother's wife, who used to work at that clinic as a tech.

She casually mentioned that their standard way of dealing with fearful, aggressive, or resistant dogs was to take them in the back, then shut the dog's head in the door to hold it still.

I've never gone back to that clinic.

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Postby pitgrrl » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:46 am

Misskiwi67 wrote:
But then, be prepared to get sprayed with anal glands, peed on, bit, sprayed with diarrhea and everything else veterinary technicians have to put up with.

If you haven't worked in a clinic, then don't question the things we see on a daily basis. I've had owners bring their dogs in for nail trims, and we take the dog in the back where it screams its head off... and when we get back the owner is crying because she thinks we're killing the dog. We didn't even quick a single nail. Do you REALLY think that dog would be better behaved with its owner babying the little brat while it screamed and by babying the dog encouraging the behavior in the future? I mean... seriously.


I can certainly appreciate that sometimes it is safer/faster/calmer to take an animal away from it's owner, but I have a very serious problem with the notion that an owner has no right to question how their animals are treated, from how they're handled to what methods are used in treatment.

It also seems like a rather unfair generalization to characterize pet owners are reactionary cry babies who can't properly handle their dogs. No doubt vets and techs have to deal with a bunch of unreasonable folks, as with any job where one deals with the public, but wanting to be engaged in the health care of one's animals shouldn't put pet owners at odds with their vet.

With the exceptions of the dogs getting neutered and a trip to the e vet I've never had a vet even suggest taking the dogs away somewhere to preform any procedure. In fact, I've been rather surprised, in a good way, at how much access the vets I've gone to allowed me. We've piled both dogs, myself, my brother or the BF and on occasion a friend into exam rooms, x ray rooms and lab areas. Even Streets having a little tumor removed was done with both the BF and I in the room and I sincerely think it made the procedure minimally stressful for the dog.

If an owner is stressed out or causing problems with treating an animal, then it makes total sense to me to separate owner from pet, but personally, I wouldn't stay with a vet who wasn't willing to look at the individual situation, allow me to be an active participant in the care of my dogs, and work with me to find the least stressful way for my particular dogs to be treated. These are very much the reasons I love my current vet, she clearly comes to the situation with the attitude that you, as the owner of the animal, are contributing to his/her care.

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Postby rednoseErnie » Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:18 pm

BabyReba wrote:my vets have always taken my dogs "in the back" to do some stuff (usually to do blood draws) and it never really bothered me. I wouldn't use a vet I didn't like or feel comfortable with, so I guess I jsut feel comfortable with my vets enough to not even think twice when they want to take my dogs to the back . . . usually they come back telling me how good my dogs were and asking if they can give them a treat for being so well behaved.


Ditto.

msvette2u

Postby msvette2u » Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:34 pm

Because of my job as ACO, and my own experience giving vaccines, doing euth., etc, I've stayed in the room while our vet has done things.
It's SCARY for one thing, for someone inexperienced with needles - I've seen vets and techs go right into the jugular vein to draw blood. They do not do it this way on people so if you're not experienced with that method of blood drawing it could really freak an owner out!!
Sometimes they go in the leg, too. They shave it and even the act of shaving bothers a dog.
For some procedures I'd rather be OUT of the room.
They aren't killing your dog back there; it's much more "profitable" for the dog to leave alive, guys ;)

For Copper, he's had THREE fine needle aspiration/biopsys now and I HATE it, hate it, hate it. He screams in this hound-ish voice, very vocal, and I KNOW it hurts. I do not want to be present while this is taking place.
He's seen 2 vets now, and the 1st(Primary) vet did the 1st biopsy, I was there, and felt SO bad for him.
The other vet took him out and a tech held him. I was relieved to be out of the picture, so he could come back to me and let me "baby" him. I didn't WANT to be the bad guy.

So I've done it both ways, been there for procedures and not been there. If you trust your vet, it's better, usually, to NOT be there, trust me.

***I HAVE heard about situations where the dog was taken in the back and the owner was billed an outrageous sum for things they never ordered. They probably should not be going to that vet. For instance, flea treatment, etc. that was never talked about before hand.
In that case, find a diff. vet, that would fall under the category of "I don't trust this vet".

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Postby Odnarb » Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:06 pm

pitgrrl wrote:It also seems like a rather unfair generalization to characterize pet owners are reactionary cry babies who can't properly handle their dogs. No doubt vets and techs have to deal with a bunch of unreasonable folks, as with any job where one deals with the public, but wanting to be engaged in the health care of one's animals shouldn't put pet owners at odds with their vet.



But you need to understand that people who are realistic and CAN handle their own pets are the very slim minority. This board does not remotely resemble the general pet owning population! I go into a room with the patient and take vitals before the vet ever goes in. I get bitten at least twice a week just taking temperatures, and scratched up at least once a day. My hands and forearms typically look like hamburger. If somebody can't even distract their pet's front end enough for me to take their temperature, do you really think that they will hold them still enough for me to draw blood or do a skin scraping?

The other thing that has been addressed by others in the field is time. We save TONS of time doing it this way, as it typically takes 3 times as long to do a procedure with a semi-competent owner involved. In that amount of time, we could have seen at least one other patient. How many times have you been irked that your vet didn't have time to see your pet on a day that you wanted to come in?

A couple of weeks ago, we saw an English Setter with an owner that refused to let us do anything without her. What should have taken less than a half hour took 2.5 hours with her getting hysterical and making the dog worse. She kept insisting that we were upsetting the dog, despite the fact that the dog was fine UNTIL she would start getting worked up. It was a nightmare, and we had to turn away several patients because this woman was monopolizing our time and staff.

There ARE some clients that are good at holding their own pets, or that the pets are better in their presence, but they aren't many. In fact, the vast majority that insist on being there with their pets are like the English Setter woman I referenced above. Sadly, she is not the exception, but her type makes up a good deal of pet owners.

Yesterday we were triple booked, and only had me (at 7 months pregnant), a receptionist, and a vet on staff. If I had been unable to bring pets in the back to have the receptionist help me with procedures while the doctor was moving room to room, we would have turned away a lot of sick pets. And in a little town with no emergency clinic, that would have been bad for the animals.

Nice little restraint story from yesterday... Man comes in with nasty Chihuahua. I ask man to distract ChiChi's head while I take the temp. He does, but then lets go and WALKS AWAY as soon as I get the thermometer in place? Guess who now has a nice wound on her hand, and guess who wanted to hold his dog for a blood draw?

:po:


Linariel wrote:She casually mentioned that their standard way of dealing with fearful, aggressive, or resistant dogs was to take them in the back, then shut the dog's head in the door to hold it still.

I've never gone back to that clinic.



I HAVE had to use this method a handful of times over the 11 years I've been in the field. But, it was only for extremely aggressive dogs that could not be handled otherwise, and NEEDED something done. If this was used routinely, I'd certainly question it. But, it IS a viable method that gets sick dogs treated instead of euthanized for mauling a human.

Misskiwi67 said it well. If you want to be present, just ask. It might go well with you there. I'm certainly open to it, especially if you were able to both keep me from getting bitten & scratched, with huge bonus points for keeping your pet still and calm. That happens so rarely that I'm honestly STOKED when it does!

We LOVE pet owners that are smart, realistic and competent! We really do. But, you guys aren't typical of what we deal with.

And yes, people have sued vets for their own dogs biting them when they were helping with a procedure. So, it truly can be a liability issue, and that wasn't a made up factoid.

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Rumpley
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Postby Rumpley » Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:04 pm

Seriously people... how about actually TALKING to your vet, saying hey, I think my dogs will behave better with me in the room, so can we try it my way first? If not, then I'll let you take the pup in the back where expert handlers can get the treatment done in a hurry...


I agree. I won't continue to go to this vet after the next visit, if our conversation isn't successful. The first time I was so taken "off guard" since I'd never had a vet do that. I just let them take her into the back, and then realized, as I was sitting there by myself in the exam room for 15 minutes how incredibly stupid it was.

If anything, it bothered me much more to have my dog out of sight. I was a "worse owner" lol doing it this way than if they had done it right in front of me. I was stressed and worried - not something I ever experience when they treat my dog in front of me. [/u]

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Postby Sarah » Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:18 am

For reference, even a knowledgeable owner can mess up. I worked for a vet for 5 years, and should damn well know how to restrain a dog! But a day or 2 after I got Elmo, he injured a toe, and was being a baby about it. I was holding him on the table for the vet to examine, the vet palpated the sore toe, Elmo screamed, and I let go! Fortunately, it was Elmo, so all he did was lick the vet's hand. I was completely embarassed, though, and if Elmo hadn't been 100% tempermentally sound, the vet could have been seriously injured.

Now, I can't think of any particular procedure that my current vet takes a dog back for. I've been in back myself, in emergency situations, when getting a bordatella (tech appointment, the tech who did it was also a friend of mine), etc. I've been in the exam rooms and held my dog while the vet did a needle aspirate, suture removal, etc.

But sometimes they take a dog back for one thing or another, and I just figure that it's a more efficient use of time, so it doesn't worry me. I trust them completely, everyone there is super. My dogs love to go in back and visit. And my friend who works there raves about how great everyone is. Not to mention, they wouldn't be so willing to rush people back there in emergency situations if they were doing anything wrong.

But again, I've worked for vets, so I wouldn't assume anyone was doing anything wrong back there anyway.

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Postby Jazzy » Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:27 am

And my friend who works there raves about how great everyone is.


Yes, but how would you really feel if say you moved to a new town and you didn't know the vet. You didn't know any of the vet techs/staff. You didn't know anything about anybody. You'd never been in back. And lets say Elmo comes out from having been in back looking shaken and apprehensive. Would you still be comfortable? That is what those of us not in the field are being asked to experience.

My point is that as the consumer, we are paying money (quite alot of it in fact) for a service and therefore our preferences need to be taken into consideration in how that service is delivered; within reason.

Hasn't anyone ever wondered when being told "We need to take Fido in back to do a skin scraping (i.e. relatively benign procedure) - the rational being it saves time as opposed to having the person come to the exam room: "Well why don't you (the person already in the room, looking at Fido and determining a skin scraping is needed) do it, I mean you are already here and only standing 1 foot away from the dog - what could be more time efficient than that?"

I don't mean to be sarcastic; although I guess that was :oops: ; but that is how my vet does it. I was honestly surprised and very taken aback to learn that there are other clinics that practice differently. In 15 years she has removed stitches, done needle aspirations, skin scrapings, expressed anal glands, taken blood from arms & juglar and never once batted an eye. Sometimes she asks me or my husband to hold, sometimes she'll call a tech in...never once has she asked us to step out.

I understand the points made by others; and Odnard - you very much helped me empathize regarding what a day in the life of a vet tech can be like. (What did you say to the Chi's owner? Hopefully something like "EXCUSE ME! Where the hell are you going?")

However when all is said and done; my comfort level is still my comfort level. If nothing else this thread has really made me realize how lucky I am to have my vet. It has always been the practice of my dogs to give holiday gifts to my vet and to each of her vet techs. This year Veronica is definitly going on a major shopping spree to show our appreciation! :)

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Postby mommy2kane » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:59 am

I also have complete trust in my vet, who I've been with since I got Kane. I now try to make appts with one particular vet (the head person?) because Kane loves her and she gets down on the floor with Kane and gives him lovin'! (Plus, she's really good! lol) With that said, I've never had them take him "to the back" with the exception of his neuter. I would probably not have a problem with it because of the respect and trust I have for her, but I'm sure it's not been done because of Kane's dog aggression. They are well aware of it and work around it. So I'm sure they feel it's safer to keep Kane in the exam room rather than taking him back through the crates/kennels and all that.

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Postby BabyReba » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:29 am

on one kind of funny note . . . doc is a total freak in kind of an endearing way (some of you who know him, will know what i mean in just a moment). he can hardly sit still if he's being touched and when he gets all excited he can be difficult to control if you don't know how . . . he whines and jumps and licks and spins and wags his tail so hard i'm surprised it doesn't bleed. he's just wound so tightly and gets a bit, um, excited when he's stressed.

so i brought him in for a routine blood draw, the vet wanted to take him in the back, and i told them it might be easier for them to have me with him to keep him in control, but they were like, 'oh, we deal with dogs like him all the time, we can handle it.' i shrugged and handed over the leash.

i could hear his nails scraping the floor as he dragged the poor tech all over the back room and i could hear her telling him, 'no, relax, good dog, good dog,' i guess trying to get him calm. a few minutes later, she came back in with him looking a little bit frazzled and was like, 'maybe it would be better if we just did this in here.'

she was having problems doing the physical restraint thing because he kept licking her face, so i suggested she let me hold his head while the other tech got blood.

i told him to sit, and he sat, i held onto his collar, and he was pretty much vibrating the whole time but he stayed where he was supposed to and they got the blood draw.

ah, doc! nobody wants him to go "in the back!" lol

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Postby mommy2kane » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:48 am

Erin, I just got my good laugh of the day! roflmao

I could totally see Doc doing that! He's such a lovebug!

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Postby Ursa Arctos » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:52 am

I feel a little mixed on this. When I was taking Oliver in for his shots, the first time I was in the room, holding him. He cried SO badly! And while I knew he wasn't really hurt, that he was just a big puppy wuss, it still made me upset.

I wonder how many vets have done scrapings/shots, etc in front of an owner, and the dog yelps, and the owner accusses the vet of being cruel, insensitive, or rough?

By removing the owner (who may be a little more irrational than normal if they fear that their baby is in pain) they get to skip all of that. So, I think in most cases I understand.

However, on the other hand, I think that if my dog was ever truly frightened, and that my presence would comfort him, I would definitley insist to the vet that I be present, and I think my current vet would comply.


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