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Categories: Vets

Q. A Letter About Vet Practices: My horrible experience

My name is Frederick from Australia. I would just like to tell you my story about my tragic loss and maybe you can share this with people dealing with the same kind of problem.

I am a big reader of your website and I read all your articles and QAs. Your teachings have, in a lot of ways, been the foundation of training I trained dogs although I still consider myself as a youngster in the field.

I used to own a Bullmastiff dog. We got him from a breeder at 8 weeks old and he was the best dog I ever trained and owned. By the time he was 5 months old he was already obedienced certified dog (our council's version of CGC) and we got a rebate of 75% per annum. He was also the reason I trained to be an obedience instructor for more than 3 years now.

I have trained this dog since the minute I held it and carried it to my car and took a 4-hour drive home. Few could have disputed that he's one of the best trained if not the most trained dog in our area. Evrybody loves and knows him. I taught him to ignore all distractions anywhere and everywhere and focus on me. His heelwork for a big dog is second to none with or without a leash. He could have an aggressive dog beside him on a leash (trying to attack him) and he couldn't give a sh#t and intensely focused on me. I had his voice command down to a whispher, people sometimes wonder how I give it. His "stay" is impeccable. He was my pride and joy and a member of our family (pack).

At 18 mos. old he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It all went downhill from there. I contacted 4 different vets for opinions. The first vet took an x-ray of him and he was honest enough to say that this condition is out of his league. He also gave us pain killers and glucosamine and everything all up it mounted to more than 300$.

The second vet was a "specialist" the 1st vet reccommended but the diagnosis was out of this world different. He was very sure the dog had Wobbler's disease. His reccommendation was:

1) Another hip x-ray- $650
2) Myelogram to test for Wobbler's- a dye will be injected to the spine - this procedure could be quite deadly - $1400
3) Drug treatment for 2 months - $360
4) A total hip replacement - $10,000
5) Plus check-ins and care in their facility after the surgery.

So basically, I'm looking at another mortgage here.

I said I didn't agree that all these extra "tests" are necessary as I didn't agree that he has Wobbler's. I also don't like pain killers as they are deadly especially in high dosages, besides he's doing very well with the cheaper glucosamine. The hip replacement is out of date as I wanted an uncemented procedure. Still the stupid consult costed me $130.

Third vet: Another "specialist" with an is entirely different diagnosis. He defintely doesn't have Wobbler's but he might have elbow dysplasia. His reccommendation was:

1) Another hip x-ray- $650
2) Elbow x-ray - $650
3) Drug treatment for 2 months - $360
4) A total hip uncemented replacement - $10,000+
5) Plus check-ins and care in their facility after the surgery.

But here's the deal: he wouldn't treat the dog unless we follow the drug treatment. So, worn out and tired we did it for 3 weeks.

3 weeks later my dog bled to death.

It was one fo the worst and most horrifying 24-hours I have ever had in my life. His stomach lining liquified and went out the backdoor. Our local vet couldn't save him and I would have put him down but he probably knew and decided to spare me the bill and beat me to the punch. I was gutted. My boy whom I trained and loved as a part of my family has died perished needlessly on a whim of some "expert" who clearly just wanted to make a buck from our misery. The whole ordeal costed me more than $2,000 and a very dead dog. He was a complete mess at the end.

The day he died the phone rang and a person on the other end wants to see the car we're selling. I told him it was no longer for sale - because we wouldn't need the money anymore.

The vet never owned up to it. The local vet found the cause of death as inconclusive and it "could be anything." The drug was known to have this "side effect" - the reason I didn't want to administer it at the first place. Was there a cover up here since one recommended the other? I dunno.

I still miss my boy and I sometimes listen to my wife sleep-talking telling me to go fetch him and take him back home.

I now have a new 14 mos. old pup that I'm training and happy with his progress.

I don't expect anyone to sympathize with us since most people thinks "he's just a dog," but I hope this story informs people about the reality about bad vet practices and that they should be aware of some drugs that these people are pushing patients to use.


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