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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:24 AM
o0paradigm0o o0paradigm0o is offline
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Help Pls - Dog dies suddenly under care of vet

I need to decide what to do - do I pursue a legal course of action, do I file a complaint with the veterinarian board or do I move on with life?

The short-short version:
- we took our pet in to get his ears checked and roughly 8 hours later he died of complications. The vets actions, though not intentional, caused his death.

The less-short version:
- 4 month old bichon-****zu
- we visit the vet to get his ear looked at - there were signs of an infection
- the vet decides that picking hair out of his ear is necessary
- the dog screams and the vet suggests we're exciting him and suggests they take him to another room; we agree to let them do this [and we are now haunted by this decision]
- we sit in an adjacent room and listen to the dog scream for a few minutes and everything goes quiet
- later we find out that they muzzled him and during the ordeal he vomited in his muzzle
- he takes vomit into his lungs
- the vet comes back into the room and tells us they need to watch him in case he develops aspiration pneumonia
- the vet watches him the remainder of the day (~4 hours); we receive mixed reports throughout the day
- the dog stops breathing and they put him on oxygen
- they transfer him in an emergency vet ambulance to a specialist centre
- he arrives and shortly thereafter his heart stops
- they perform cpr, but it's ultimately too late
- aspiration pneumonia had set in and our little dog died in roughly 8 hours

We're having an autopsy performed that will likely confirm the opinion of the specialist that the stress caused by the vet caused not only the induction of the vomit, but also (if I recall correctly) adrenalin that jammed open his blood vessels in his lungs and caused his lungs to fill with fluid.

Our family is completely heartbroken and I am trying to determine a course of action. I have zero interest in receiving financial compensation. If, in fact, the evidence supports some form of negligence/mishandling, I want to prevent another animal (and family) from going through the same mess.

If it's just a serious of unfortunate events, and from a legal standpoint the vet isn't going to be held responsible for the death of this animal, then I'd like to move on and drop the notion of going to the board, looking at small claims, getting a lawyer, etc.

As a side note, for those having your pets looked after by vets:
- don't ever let them take your pet out of the room (particularly for something that should be routine)
- we should have gone back to the vet that afternoon to check on our dog - and we should have gotten him out of there and taken him to a specialist earlier; always get second opinions
- don't let your vet mislead you about how serious something might be; we allowed ourselves to be comforted by the soft-delivery of what our pet was going through - we were ill-informed and trusted too much

Thanks in advance for the advice/feedback.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:39 AM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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I'm so sorry for your experience and for the loss of your puppy .

Personally, I would, at the very least, bring this unfortunate event to the attention of the Board of Veterinarians. You can also ask if there have been other complaints filed against him and, perhaps, that may help you decide how to proceed.

Thank you for sharing what happened to you and your pup. Hopefully others will see this and take your valuable advice.

Again, my condolences on your loss.

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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:42 AM
SamIam SamIam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o0paradigm0o View Post
I need to decide what to do - do I pursue a legal course of action, do I file a complaint with the veterinarian board or do I move on with life?
You move on with life, but the question is, what will help you do that?

Persuing legal action means, on the positive side, you may get to see guilty parties punished for wrong-doing, and you may prevent future similar incidents for other people and their dogs. On the negative side, it will draw out your suffering, and you will have to relive that day over and over and in front of many people. You may also lose. No matter how good a case your lawyer thinks you have, you may lose. There is no harm in talking to a lawyer and discussing your options for civil or criminal charges, and getting a legal deadline when you must make that decision.

Filing a complaint with the veterinary board is probably a good idea. They will investigate and if negligence is found, reprimand in some way. If it was a freak accident that occurred during standard procedures and with responsible personnel, perhaps they will review how things are normally done and set safer practices.

I am very sorry for your loss. May your puppy
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 07:56 AM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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I am so sorry for your loss, what a terrible thing for your puppy and your family to go through, I would probably bring it to the attention of the vet board as the others have said.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 09:45 AM
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chico2 chico2 is offline
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How very sad,for you and the pup
Were I in that situation,I would probably need to do something,would not be able to,just get on with my life.
It sounds like a horror story IMO and I would want some kind of justice for my dog,even if it means the vet will only be reprimanded.
It could be he has more complaints,this should be reported to the Vet-Board,if it were a human patient,there would be no question about what to do,a little dog should be no different.
I am very sorry this happened to your family
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 11:49 AM
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14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
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A dogs' ear hair should never be "picked" out. It should be trimmed though in some breeds. IMO I think a formal, written complaint to the vet board may be your only recourse.
How sad you and your pup had to suffer this way. little baby
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 12:09 PM
SamIam SamIam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14+kitties View Post
A dogs' ear hair should never be "picked" out. It should be trimmed though in some breeds.
Is there a thread on plucking vs trimming ears?
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:59 PM
t.pettet t.pettet is offline
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dog dies suddenly

Unbelievable! I would get a lawyer who deals with animal issues (ask your local spca for a reference) and sue the pants off this vet, advise the Vet Med. Assoc. and get financial compensation through the courts. A 4 mo. old pup (or any pet) should not have been man-handled to such a degree to cause such terror and stress and as for muzzling - how ridiculouis. Ear plucking hurts especially for the 1st. time and a little bit at a time should be plucked out not chunks of hair all at once. If the pup was terrified to that degree then vet should have backed off and enlisted patience, treats and positive encouragement. The vet would have been better off to have a groomer or someone more competent than him to teach the owners how to pluck a wee bit at a time at their own home so it becomes as routine as brushing. I would be out for blood from this imcompetent moron.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 07:43 PM
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Rgeurts Rgeurts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t.pettet View Post
Unbelievable! I would get a lawyer who deals with animal issues (ask your local spca for a reference) and sue the pants off this vet, advise the Vet Med. Assoc. and get financial compensation through the courts. A 4 mo. old pup (or any pet) should not have been man-handled to such a degree to cause such terror and stress and as for muzzling - how ridiculouis. Ear plucking hurts especially for the 1st. time and a little bit at a time should be plucked out not chunks of hair all at once. If the pup was terrified to that degree then vet should have backed off and enlisted patience, treats and positive encouragement. The vet would have been better off to have a groomer or someone more competent than him to teach the owners how to pluck a wee bit at a time at their own home so it becomes as routine as brushing. I would be out for blood from this imcompetent moron.
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