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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:54 PM
SamIam SamIam is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 447
If considering legal action, it is important to determine at what point the vet failed to provide adequate care for your puppy. Picking/plucking is a technique frequently employed by veterinarians and groomers for hairs growing fairly deep in the ear canal of certain breeds including shih tzus and bichons. The ear hairs that may be trimmed are farther out. Many such dogs are head-shy particularly at their first grooming, and in some cases, even when correctly done, the picking/plucking does cause momentary discomfort. It is not unusual to use a muzzle to help calm the dog, prevent the vet/groomer being bitten, and allow the head to be held still for picking/plucking, cleaning, and visual inspection. Taking the dog out of his owner's presence often improves the dog's behaviour as well. On those points, I do not believe the legal action you are considering will hold any water in court, though still valid points to bring up with the veterinary association. If the autopsy is able to confirm your puppy's death was brought about by stress, then what you are looking for is at some point your vet made a poor decision. We should be able to trust our vets' ability to determine the urgency of treating a certain condition (your puppy's ear infection), to be able to identify the limit between reasonable and unreasonable stress, and to know at what point the treatment (picking/plucking ears) becomes less important than protecting them from unreasonable stress. At times a vet needs to stand back and consider alternate approaches when dealing with a resistant dog. Hopefully the autopsy and an initial lawyer consult will help you determine whether this is a matter you wish to pursue.
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