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My vet sucks

December 5th, 2005, 04:20 PM
My vet really sucks! This is what happened to my little 6-month old brittany spaniel:

At age 10-weeks, while in her pen she hurt herself. We're not sure exactly what she did but speculate she tried to climb over the fencing and hurt her rear left leg. We brought her to our vet who said if you see an improvement over the next couple of days, don't worry about. Otherwise, bring her in for an x-ray.

She progressively got better over the weekend so we assumed everything was fine. But never quite got over it. She would almost be over it and then take a spill on the stairs and she would limp again. Get better then do something else... it never fully healed. Concerned, we brought her in last week. They take x-rays and have their 'specialist' take a look.

His diagnosis was without a word of a lie was "her kneecap is big." He had nothing else to comment on in terms of remedy or anything. Then he says "I'll give you a referral to another specialist for a second opinion."

The referral specialist knew what he was talking about and said she has arthritis because the trauma she had at 10-weeks had internal bleeding and it's calcified. As a result her cartlidge is now damaged which makes it difficult for her to walk on that leg. She has to have medication that costs a mountain of cash as well as physiotherapy (not something I realized was an option for dogs) that will hopefully breakdown the calcified blood.

Should my vet be taking money for faulty diagnosis's's's like that? What do you do?

December 5th, 2005, 04:54 PM
I can't really help you out, but I just wanted to say that your situation sucks!:mad:

Was the vet that claimed her kneecap was to big, the same vet that diagnosed the pup when she was first injured. I would definatly switch vets.

I hope she feels better, and this doesn't turn out to be a long-term problem for her.

December 5th, 2005, 05:50 PM
Yes and no. The vet hospital I go to is one large entity, however they're two different people - the one who said "don't worry if she gets better" is not the same person as the guy who diagnosed "her kneecap's big."

Funny thing - the clinic that they referred me to, made me sign a form that said that I acknowledge that I was there only for a referral and opinion and not as a new patient. Perhaps they've stolen clients from my incompetent vet in the past.

Perhaps I should bring the old vet to small claims after everthing is said and done with. That's horse#$%.

December 7th, 2005, 11:06 AM
Other than going to vet school we can only rely on boards like this to learn from other people's experiences. The neglect exhibited by your vet on the first visit has unfortunately resulted in a bigger more expensive problem. Although small claims court is less expensive than seeking council and suing, it is still a major pain in the butt. It takes up your time and I'm pretty sure there are court room and administrative fees. You have to line up a bunch of qualified witnesses and/or testimonials and I think you'll be hard pressed to find a vet that will testify against another vet. In the end, the decision could go either way. You could go to all that trouble for nothing.

The route we went was to find a small one-man-show vet. If you see a dog walker at the park ask them who they go to. Most dog walkers love dogs, but ask a few just in case. When you hear the same name from a few experienced dog owners, BINGO, you've got your vet. Good luck and I sincerely hope that your dog fully recovers.:pawprint:

December 7th, 2005, 11:21 AM
Perhaps I should bring the old vet to small claims after everthing is said and done with. That's horse#$%.

I'm not sure about how possible that is in Ottawa, but I know in Québec suing for a misdiagnosis (especially for an animal) is very hard --I'm pretty sure it's the same in Ontario.
Vets have what's called an 'obligation of means' and not an 'obligation of results'. Default on an obligation of means is hard to prove, you would have to prove that the vet made a gross error that a prudent and diligent person wouldn't have commited -- and you have to prove that with a preponderance of evidence -- that's VERY hard to prove :-) VERY HARD.
I'd recomend : change vets!

December 7th, 2005, 11:31 AM
Definitely change vets. I don't know how you will prove bad advice when the vet can easily doctor his files...

I'd just focus on fixing this doggy up. You're not seeing specialists that that vet referred you to, are you? I don't know if I would trust his referrals either...

December 13th, 2005, 12:16 PM
Actually I am using the doctor my original vet recommended for the so-called "second opinion." The new doctor was aghast at what happened. I think I may stay with that clinic - I've heard they are really good - expensive but they get good results.

As an update, the orthopedic surgeon recommended three weeks of anti-inflamatants and 12-weeks of a heavy dosage of Cosequin (expensive glucosemine) to help fix up the cartilage problem. We've been on that program for 10-days. She stopped limping last week and is walking/running normally. His hope is this treatment along with physio-therapy will be enough. I think he'll want to keep her on the glucosemine forever...but that's not a big deal.

If this doesn't work, the next step is surgery. I really don't want to go down that road.

December 13th, 2005, 08:15 PM
Good vets are hard to find. You should have recieved some breed specific advice.

A dog with really high drives like a Brittany, especially a pup, will go go go regardless of pain or injury. If you see an injury you must rest the dog. They will not rest themselves.

You should have been told to rest the dog for a week or so. Crated most of the time. Out for a short walk on a leash only. No jumping, running at all. Just short walks. Add to that some simple massage techniques to keep the blood flowing and the muscles from tensing up compensating for the hurt. Maybe, a couple of Bufferin if the dog is in real bad pain. (Best to go without painkillers though, the dog will just re-injure more easily if it can't feel the pain.) Last, maybe add a couple of chiro treatments if the dog's back is getting stressed from compensating.

I see pups all the time that are overplayed and gimpy in the back legs with nagging injuries that are never left to heal. They don't know their limits. Especially breeds that are bred to run for hours day after day.

You may still want to have a chiro evaluate the gait, it is amazing the subtleties they can pick up to diagnose what is really bothering the dog.
You may not need all the drugs.

December 13th, 2005, 09:22 PM
I know several vets that you may want to check out. I can give you their names and numbers, just pm me if you want them.
How old is your pup now?

December 14th, 2005, 08:36 PM
That vet is obviously negligent. You should contact a lawyer. That will help other future pets and pet owners.

December 16th, 2005, 07:24 PM
I also have asked groomers who they take their own animals to. It's how I found my current vet clinic after some sketchy ones.