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22 February 2013


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Carol Olson

Thank you so much for speaking about this issue, I would like to add, Many many years ago, I had a dog with Parvo's, Now his brother had just been put down from it and the owners of this dog didn't have the money to put him in the vet for a few days, so they had him put down :( at the moment my dog started getting physically sick, I rushed him to a different vet, and since I was low income and also couldn't afford to put him in the vet for a few days, I asked the Vet if he could sell me the medication and IV's and let me take care of Rocky at home, he understood and did sell me all I needed for $148.00 which was much easier then the over $2000.00 they wanted to do it for me. Rocky didn't fight when I did the IV's or put my hand down his throat to put the pills down. He is a 1/2 Rot 1/2 Akita and knew I was only helping him. He is a happy 14 year old dog now, and God Bless that vet for allowing me to get everything I needed to save him. Ask your vet for the medicine and instructions if you can't afford to keep him there to be treated, some vets are more than willing to help you in any way possible to save the life of a beloved pet.


Carol, you were fortunate to have such an understanding vet. Many are not so flexible. But what I think is a corollary to Christy's points, is that even knowledgeable internet sources can't diagnose a seriously ill animal online, and owners need to use some sense or risk losing their pets. I have lost count of the number of times I have been on a listserv, bulletin board or blog to read someone post that their pet has been displaying frighteningly serious symptoms (and for some period of time) and seeking advice from others on there. Is blood coming out of any part of your pet and the cause is not a minor cut? The dog has bloody diarrhea, urine, vomit? Has been vomiting for more than a day? Has had really severe diarrhea for more than a few hours? GET TO A VET. Is your pet screaming in pain at the slightest touch? Will not eat or drink? Cannot defecate? GET TO A VET.


If you live in Florida, you can get antibiotics for your pet for FREE with a vet's prescription. I couldn't figure out why my dog kept getting awful bug bites, even with the preventative medicine - turned out that he needed antibiotics! GO TO THE VET!


I would be so much happier if more vets would be real diagnosticians. While it is true that advances in diagnostic testing have made life much, much easier for pets, vets and owners who can afford it, too often the last decade or so, I and other pet owners of my acquaintance have been offered an all-or-nothing stance...told flat out: either pay up front for several hundreds ($400-700) of dollars of exhaustive bloodwork, x-rays and ultrasound, or just pay for an office visit and take your pet home. ZERO middle ground.


Thank you for this post. When I wrote in my first book [My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs] about ultimately coming to the decision to have my pug, Tink, put down because of her liver shunt/bladder stone issues, I was chastised by a vet who wrote a critique of my book on Amazon.com for NOT spending more money to help her. Having my best friend put down was never about not wanting to or being able to afford to spend the money on her. It was about her quality of life. I was fortunate to have had vets who worked with me for seven years to try to make her quality of life better, including aqua-puncture, massage, Chinese herbs, and natural foods. I now have my big dog and a recent rescue on a wellness plan which allows me to pay a low monthly fee, but takes care of their health issues [to a point]. I'm not a vet, and my coursework in holistic care for companion animals was only to give me information for making my fur-kids comfortable and healthy. Whenever there is a serious issue, I would take them to the vet, just as I would a bio-kid. I am thankful to have had vets who were compassionate about my fur-kids quality of life and not just looking for money like the vet who slammed me and my book.


The owner can ask the vet, "Why are you giving my pet antibiotics?" There should be a good reason for it and the vet should be able to explain why like based on a test result!

Thankfully, I have a good vet who will refer my pets to a specialist if necessary. I have heard from friends about vets who will not do this and will try to diagnose a problem that goes on for months. I have heard this about skin problems.

Dr K

Taking a minute to regroup is good advice, particularly when you receive an opinion or diagnosis you were not prepared for. Some vets need to be reminded that this is their profession day in, day out. To lay people, the terminology can be confusing. Pressure for quick decisions only makes a tough situation worse when trying to do right by a family member.


Thanks for sharing and I have written about this on my pet blog. I went to the same vet for years with a variety of my pets. Each visit got worse and the staff ruder. The final straw came when I was asking for help about an issue and was treated very rudely over the phone again. I found another vet that is caring. I am low-income and that's why I went holistic. Better, healthier, cheaper (in long run) and no antibiotics. Luckily, I haven't had any serious illnesses or injuries!

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