#TheStruggleisReal: Dying dog not taken to ER

A sad tale from a veterinary assistant about what happens when clients don’t follow a veterinarian’s advice

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As a veterinary assistant of 5 years, probably the most memorable case of a woman who brought in her pitbull. He was notorious for eating things he shouldn’t, as the lady said.

The dog was listless and had no energy, not even to stand in the waiting room while I set up the exam room for the poor pooch. The lady was more concerned with her toddler, because he was let loose in the lobby and wreaking havoc with cans of cat food.

Her reason for bringing her pitbull in was because he had eaten a sock … three days ago. He was not eating or pooping since then, and had extreme abdominal pain. Through more interrogation, as I like to call it, I learned that a month beforehand the dog had eaten a large bag of lollypops, sticks and plastic and all.

For the last two days, he had been as what she describes as “pooping from his mouth.” After asking her to describe the color and consistency of this magical mouth poop, I learned the dog was actually vomiting old congealed blood. I called the doctor into the room right away and after examination, he showed the owner her dog’s sunken eyeballs, the loose, dehydrated skin, and clearly explained that due to how long these serious symptoms had been going on for, his prognosis was very poor.

Finally, the woman began to worry when it was spelled out for her (God help her kid). She opted for treatment and diagnostics and signed authorization forms. The dog had made some improvement with treatment but was still unstable around closing. We recommended they bring the dog to the local animal emergency for overnight care. Three days later, after many phone calls by our staff to see how the dog was doing, the lady and her husband come in and blame the staff for “killing their dog.”

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We found out that they never brought their dog to the ER that night, and they were refusing to answer our calls concerning his health. They threatened to sue us and wanted a copy of the record to take with them. The doctor stated multiple times that he would be happy to send a copy of the handwritten record to the College of Veterinarians, as he had nothing to fear. After rude and aggressive phone calls were made for several days to our hospital by the husband, in which he threatened the doctor and wasted our time, the College of Veterinarians saw everything was done by the book and correctly, and that this crazed lunk and his wife had no case.

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