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I need urgent help, ASAP!- dog ripped stitches out at the vet

curiousbeme
June 6th, 2006, 11:37 AM
I have an urgent question that needs answered as soon as possible. One of my dogs was recently injured badly. Another one of our dogs bit her right back leg, breaking the bone I believe in a few places. We were out of town so we couldn't directly do anything about it, we had somebody take the dog to our vet for us. He performed the surgery on her leg, he put a pin in her leg (I believe that's what he said) and stitched her up and then wrapped her up.

Then in the middle of the night, she chewed through her bandages and pulled out the stitches and licked the wound, causing infection to set in. This occured AT THE VET's clinic, during the night, in HIS care. The dog was NOT at home with us when this occured, we had no control over this whatsoever (edited for clarity). He now wants to amputate the dog's leg and wants to charge more money to do it.

My question is this: Is it standard procedure for a vet to use a cone, and if so why was a cone not used to prevent the dog from licking it's wounds? A dog licks wounds, to me it would be common sense to use a cone to prevent it from doing so.

I'm considering contacting a lawyer, but I wanted to find out if I have any grounds to do so. I know this isn't a law-forum, but i'm hoping maybe somebody has had some experience in the past with this kind of stuff.

Thank you.

badger
June 6th, 2006, 12:29 PM
Some dogs lick (excessively), some dogs don't. But I'm surprised the vet didn't suggest it, given the risks.
Did you manage to keep the dog post-op in a quiet, clean environment? Why didn't you leap for the phone when you saw he was a licker and ask for a collar, or improvise one?
I'm sorry for your situation, and especially for the dog, but I don't see a case here.
Sounds serious, what are you planning to do, go ahead with the surgery? I hear three-legged dogs do fine.
I hope you've got the dog-on-dog aggression solved. It would scare hell out of me to be around the kind of secenario where one dog was able to do such severe harm to another. Yikes.

abudamunky
June 6th, 2006, 12:30 PM
i know they put cones on cats to keep them from licking spaying stiitches, and i would think that the vet would have done the same for the dog with a borken leg. did the vet maybe except the person who took your dog to him to supervise your dog? maybe he gave the care-taker special instructions that weren't followed. i would think that the vet would try to treat the infection before amputation, everything i've ever seen on the animal channel is that amputation is the last resort......
good luck w/ your puppy dog!

Lucky Rescue
June 6th, 2006, 12:34 PM
Oh that's too bad.:(

For this type of wound, that involves bandages,(since dogs tend to chew at foreign objects on their bodies) I believe it would be usual to put a cone on the dog when it cannot be watched, just to be on the safe side and avoid a situation such as yours..

I have no knowledge of the legalities in this or even if negligence took place, so your best bet would be to consult someone in the legal profession.

And yes, your dog will do fine with 3 legs, as long as she is kept fairly lean.

LavenderRott
June 6th, 2006, 12:38 PM
Of course if he has to amputate the leg he is going to charge for it! Amputation is a very time consuming and detailed procedure.

If you went to the doctor with a serious break, the doctor did everything possible to try and fix it and then had to amputate it - you wouldn't expect him to do that for free, would you?

jessi76
June 6th, 2006, 12:40 PM
i know they put cones on cats to keep them from licking spaying stiitches, and i would think that the vet would have done the same for the dog with a borken leg.

not always the case. I've had a few cats spayed in my lifetime, none of which have come home with or required a cone. it depends on the individual animal and the amount of supervision for the after-care.

regardless, OP's situation is indeed sad. best of luck to you & your dog!

phoenix
June 6th, 2006, 12:53 PM
I agree with jessi. For my dog's injured toe and also for both spay and neuter operations for my 2, the vet said keep an eye on them and IF they are lickers, then come back and rent a cone from us. It was not usual practice to send the dog home with a cone.

curiousbeme
June 6th, 2006, 12:57 PM
Some dogs lick (excessively), some dogs don't. But I'm surprised the vet didn't suggest it, given the risks.
Did you manage to keep the dog post-op in a quiet, clean environment? Why didn't you leap for the phone when you saw he was a licker and ask for a collar, or improvise one?
I'm sorry for your situation, and especially for the dog, but I don't see a case here.
Sounds serious, what are you planning to do, go ahead with the surgery? I hear three-legged dogs do fine.
I hope you've got the dog-on-dog aggression solved. It would scare hell out of me to be around the kind of secenario where one dog was able to do such severe harm to another. Yikes.

No... we were out of town in TX when this happened, and the dog was at the vet in post-op (AT THE VET!) when the dog supposedly tore through it's bandages and licked out it's stitches. We were in TX, dog was at vet when this happened, a family member brought the dog to the vet, and it was there for several days post-op when this happened, we had no control over it.

He claims that the infection got in through when the tore off the bandages (again, at the vet!) and stitches, then licked the wound. After we got back from TX and got our dog back home and noticed that the dog didn't mess with the bandages on it's leg (the cast-thing that the vet put on the leg). She didn't chew at it or anything... regardless, the vet's story is she chewed through her bandages and her stitches while she was post-op AT the vet.

The dog that caused the injury has been given away so everything is fine at the home-front (it was a pug that did it... to a chiuahaha!). I'm just wondering what to do next.

lezzpezz
June 6th, 2006, 01:01 PM
I am very sorry that you family and your doggy are having such a terrible time. I have a few thoughts on this situation.

"But I'm surprised the vet didn't suggest it, given the risks."

"We were out of town so we couldn't directly do anything about it, we had somebody take the dog to our vet for us."

"Then in the middle of the night, she chewed through her bandages and pulled out the stitches and licked the wound, causing infection to set in."

A few things jump out here.

Firstly, as Badger has stated, the vet may or may not have "suggested" this cone. It isn't mandatory I wouldn't think, but in many cases recommended for sure. I wouldn't think that a vet HAS to suggest a cone, but with a case such as the type of surgery you dog has had, I would expect the vet would not only mention a cone, but also clear guidelines for how to care for the dog at home after such traumatic surgery.

When pets were released from the vet's care when I worked there back in the day, a cone was often mentioned to the client, but, because there was an extra charge for the cone, pet owners often said they would come back and get one IF the dog needed it because of licking and having a great interest in going after the wound etc. Many folks left without a cone at all and found they never needed one.

Secondly, you state you were out of town and someone else took the dog to the vet. Perhaps, if the vet did even suggest a cone, this person did not understand the need for a cone or misunderstood that the cone could be used IF the dog began to go after the stitches etc. Not all dogs lick, as Badger has said.

Thirdly, it seems the dog was left to it's own devices throughout the night immediately after surgery where it likely should have been checked up on periodically to avoid just this very thing. Dogs can work very fast at a wound! I am guessing you were still not home, so the dog was left in your friends care? Does your friend have any experience at all with animals who are injured? A novice would not, perhaps. Undoing what the vet has done can happen in a flash and can lead to much more serious complications as you have now discovered.

I would dig a bit deeper and ask the vet what his/her standard patient release procedure is, if the cones are offered on a regular basis or not. I would ask the dog's caregiver exactly what the conversation upon the dogs' release was. I would examine the veterinary bill for any info on follow up care and I would ask to see and have a complete copy of the dog's whole patient file and scan it for any recommendations that the vet may have written down in regards to the dogs' aftercare, such as use of cone, stitch treatment, how to move the dog, any restrictions on use of leg. It is your dog, so you have full rights to see the file, I would expect.

Was the dog's caregiver given any literature upon the dog's release, pertaining to what to do once the dog was taken home? Verbal instruction is one thing, but having it on paper is always better as one tends to forget what the vet is saying due to the excitement of the reunion of pet and owner.

These are just my thoughts, so I hope they can help you. Good luck:fingerscr

curiousbeme
June 6th, 2006, 01:08 PM
Let me make this whole post a bit clearer for everyone, I guess I didn't do such a good job, I'm just furious and upset... sorry everyone. Here is exactly what happened:

A pug (owned by me) broke my chiuahaha's leg (owned by me) while I was away with family in Texas. A family member got rid of the pug (gave it to another family member), and brought the chiuahaha to the vet for us. The Vet did surgery on the dog's leg, says he set the bone with a pin and stitched her up and bandaged her up for the night. The dog stayed overnight AT THE VET's. During the night, according to the Vet, the dog chewed through her bandages and her stitches. Keep in mine again, this occured AT THE VET. We had no control over this, the dog was not in our care, she was in the VET's care AT THE VET. According to the vet, this caused infection to set in which ultimately leads to us now having to get the leg amputated. My question then, is why as there no attempt by the vet or staff at vet's to keep the dog from chewing through her stitches/bandages AT THE VET?

An interesting thing to note: When we got back and brought the dog home, the dog showed NO interest in the broken leg whatsoever, no chewing at the bandages, or anything. We had bought a cone at the store (because the VET did not apparently use one, or provide one) but didn't even have to use it because the dog left the leg completely alone.

So my question is this: based on the above, should we go to court over this? Thank you very much, hope this clears up things.

Prin
June 6th, 2006, 01:19 PM
If the dog chewed out the stitches under the vet's care, the vet is responsible. Even if whomever brought the dog to the vet was told about the cone, it's not likely that they could have gotten into the vet's office after hours to check on it. Definitely the vet's fault.

lezzpezz
June 6th, 2006, 02:22 PM
Yes, definitely the vet's responsibility. Now that you illustrate it with those details, you are within your rights to follow up legally I would think!

Tsk tsk on the vet. Sorry if I misread your original post. Easy to do with email!

Do keep us posted....

curiousbeme
June 6th, 2006, 02:29 PM
Yes, definitely the vet's responsibility. Now that you illustrate it with those details, you are within your rights to follow up legally I would think!

Tsk tsk on the vet. Sorry if I misread your original post. Easy to do with email!

Do keep us posted....

No no, you didn't misread at all, I just didn't put everything as I should have. I'm just so upset at this happening, such a loving young dog getting hurt like this! I understand people make mistakes, and I was full willing to pay the first surgery fee without a second though, but then he wants to charge again for the amputation! Thank you for your and everybody else who responds, gives me some hope in this situation.

Prin
June 6th, 2006, 02:30 PM
Please switch vets. If the vet blames you for something he's responsible for, he's just covering his a**, which is not something I look for in a vet. Good luck with everything.

curiousbeme
June 6th, 2006, 02:52 PM
Please switch vets. If the vet blames you for something he's responsible for, he's just covering his a**, which is not something I look for in a vet. Good luck with everything.

This wasn't my usual vet thankfully. My vet was out of town at this time so the family member took my dog to the first open vet :( Thank you for your kind words!

doggy lover
June 6th, 2006, 03:07 PM
My last dog did this when we had his back dew claw removed, the vet never offered a cone and he ripped out the stiches and got an infection. I cost us another $160 at that time to redue the stiches and for antibiotics.
I just wonder about the amputation could they not try something else, I think I would take the dog to another vet for a second opinion. It kind of sounds drastic.

Daizy
June 6th, 2006, 03:37 PM
Just a thought - but take your dog back to your regular vet, not this one whom was only used because he happened to be there - get your regular vets opinion and let your vet do any work on the dog. Pay him/her.

Then find a lawyer and claim for the money for the later work by your vet and also for compensation for lack of care etc. at the temporary vets ... If your not bothered about making a point via a court case and if he wants to settle out of court and it is enough for your satisfaction then take it.

sways_bodyguard
June 6th, 2006, 05:13 PM
i would think that is worthy of a lawsuit for sure...
also, why is he now wanting to amputate the leg??? isnt that jumping the gun a little or what is the specifics on that??? is it now that dire of a situation that it needs amputated?

curiousbeme
June 6th, 2006, 05:49 PM
i would think that is worthy of a lawsuit for sure...
also, why is he now wanting to amputate the leg??? isnt that jumping the gun a little or what is the specifics on that??? is it now that dire of a situation that it needs amputated?

The Vet says that the leg has started to become gangrenous and if the leg isn't removed soon it's going to poison her blood. I contacted my normal vet and told her about the situation and she didn't want to amputate the dog because she wasn't the one to do the original surgery and figures that this vet would be the better choice to do the amputation... I don't know if I agree with that statement after his lack of attention from keeping the dog to causing her wounds to become infected in the first place, but I've used her for years so I trust her judgement. Right now the dog is at the 'worse' vet, she was supposed to get her leg removed but the vet is waiting until tomorrow, saying that he had to go home with the stomach flu. Whatever happens I just my dog recovers.

Shamrock
June 6th, 2006, 06:12 PM
I'm very sorry you are going through this, and send my best wishes for your dog's recovery.
As the problem occured while your dog was in the care and under the supervision of the vet.. it seems to me they are indeed responsible for the serious issues that have sadly arisen.


My sisters young cat died after spay complications last year. No cone was placed on her. This vet said this wasnt procedure with cats - even when they brought her back to the vets office, concerned that she had removed the stitches. By the next morning it was too late.
But, the infection set in at their home. In your case. there is a fair assumption that they should be safeguarding against such events while the animal is in their care.. Why a cone wasnt in place seems a mystery.

OntarioGreys
June 6th, 2006, 08:13 PM
I am sorry about the situation you find yourself in.

Have you asked the vet why a cone was not used? There may have been a vaild reaon why they did not.



I have one dog that I cannot use a cone on, it causes him to totally freaks out and he becomes a danger to himself thrashing around we learned this after a tail amputation.

It is possible that they may have tried using the cone and if she also was thrashing as a result of panicking with the cone on, that also puts her at risk of rebreaking the leg. She may have been acting calm enough and leaving the wound alone prior to them closing for the evening to feel that leaving the cone off was best in her case. I can't answer for the vet just providing a potential senerio thast I was faced with, with one of my dogs. Even if she was not thrashing around but became highly agitated and panicky with the cone, it can prove fatal, as extremely high levels of stress can cause a dogs internal body temperature to rise, and can cause brain stroke.

In my case if my dog has surgery, I have a greyhound basket muzzle with clean stool cup inside that I bought myself to use to prevent him from worrying wounds, this does not freak him out so works well for him.

There are alternatives if you learn that you dog did become highly agitated with the cone collar http://ca.shop.com/amos/cc/main/prod/act/27629492%2C36481100/ccsyn/261
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006GXBO0/ref=nosim/104-8736182-3037529?n=284507
http://www.vetamerica.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=507

If your dog was larger even infants jogging pants could have been fashioned to provide a protective barrier


Even in the best case senariios infection can occur post surgery as a strain of bacteria can be drug resistant to the antibiotic used, I had this happen with a foster greyhound that was spayed and had opened up during the haul to Canada, I had immediatel took her to the vet to be resewed up and pumped full of antibiotics, I noticed a few days later while still on antibiotics that the would site was not doing well, so I took her back and her antibiotics were changed to something else.

Similiar situations have happened to me , about 20 years ago I started have bouts of tonsillitus, normal treatment for at the times was 10 days of amoxicillin, each time I was put on the amoxicillion first a week later I was back to the doctor or hospital being put of sulpher drugs instead, when I had 3 flare ups within a few months a decision was made to remove the tonsils because sulphur drugs can become ineffective with constant use which would have really left me up a creek without a panel. It sould have only been a 2 day stay at most I ended up I the hospital for a week for my tonsillectomy battling yet another infection.

Obviously right now your dog has not been responding to antibiotics, if it is because there is a strain of bacteria present that is refusing to respond to antibiotics , that same strain could have been present at the time of the initial surgery so even if a cone had been used you would still be in the same boat The potential that a drug resistant bacteria is present is also going to scare other vets away from doing an amp knowing you want to sue the first vet, as they cannot guarantee a successful outcome.

So was the vet negligent? possibly and possibly not