January 24, 2015: Jelly’s Big Adventure!

Why, I wondered, is there blood on the floor?  And then: Why is there blood on the blanket?  And: Why is there blood on the dog bed?  Upon closer scrutiny, I had my answer.  Jelly had, somehow, snagged her dewclaw and torn it badly.  She seemed oblivious, more focused on the water bowl than her mangled paw, apparently not bothered by the ugly wound.  I, on the other hand, instantly felt dizzy on her behalf.

After checking with about a half dozen vets in the area, I settled on the one who could see us soonest – at 9:30 a.m., which would give me an hour before I had to leave for Kitchener and our final location day for the episodes #101/#102 of Dark Matter (a little scifi t.v. show I may have mentioned here on occasion).

We arrive for 9:20 a.m. in the hopes that the doctor could see her sooner.  No early appointment.  No on-time appointment either.  The doctor casually rolled in at around 9:50, then took his time settling in.  It wasn’t until 10:15 that we got to see him.   And, when we finally did, the cursory examination yielded a blunt, if not annoying, diagnosis.  “We can do one of two things,”the vet explained.  “I can bring her to the back and yank off the broken dew claw – which will be really painful for her, or we can sedate her to remove it and she won’t feel a thing.”  I want to say “the subtext was clear” but, really, there was no subtext.  If I wanted to save a few bucks, my dog would suffer for it.

Now normally (and as any semi-regular reader to this blog is well aware), I’d have no hesitation about spending money on my dogs.  Jelly’s stem cell therapy alone was costlier than my first car.  But in this instant, it wasn’t the cost of the procedure but the procedure itself.  I’d hesitate to put a pug under anesthetic at the best of times – but a sixteen year old pug?  Only in the direst of emergencies – and this wasn’t one.

After considering her age, and her narrow nostrils (“They’re too small,”said the vet. “These should have been treated long ago.  Subtext: “Your vet is incompetent.”) he agreed that sedation wouldn’t be an option.  He’d just bring her to the back and remove it without the benefit of anesthetic.

I was understandably hesitant, but he assured me it had to come off – and that it would be quick.  She probably wouldn’t feel a thing (which was a decidedly different take from the Option #1 he offered not ten minutes earlier).

I waffled, hesitated and finally gave the go-ahead, returned to the waiting room, discussed with Akemi, changed my mind, walked to the back room and told him I’d reconsidered.  A brief discussion ensued.  He continued to assure me it would be quick.  I vacillated.  He demonstrated, grabbing the dangling claw and – tugging! It came off.  Jelly, as early, seemed oblivious.

I was enormously relieved.  He told me he’d clear her up and she’d be out shortly. And so, we returned to the waiting room and waited.  Five minutes.  Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes later he walked back out and informed me that he had to clean her anal glands which hadn’t been dealt with in at least a year (subtext: “Your vet is incompetent.”) and offered to show us what he’d managed to recover.  “Uh, no thanks,”I passed as I checked my watch.  I was going to be late.

We accompanied him back to the room where he completed his check-up, poking, prodding and pressing until – clearly concerned – he claimed to feel something unusual.  “It feels like a mass in her abdomen,”he said.  “Look how uncomfortable she is when I squeeze it.”  I wanted to point out that anyone would look uncomfortable having their abdomen squeezed but, hey, he was the medical professional.  He suggested an x-ray.

It was already almost 11:00 p.m. and I was running well past late, but the x-ray machine was right there and he claimed it would only take “ten seconds”.  Akemi was already fed up and ready to leave but I figured – hey, what’s ten seconds? Especially when the alternative was making an appointment and waiting until next week.  So I gave the go-ahead for the x-ray.

Two seconds turned into two minutes.  Then ten minutes.  Then twenty.   Eventually, we headed back to his office where we examined the x-rays.  Which, it turned out, weren’t very good.  There was what appeared to be a mass.  But it could have been fecal matter.  He suggested we make an appointment and come back for an ultrasound.

Given the fact that Jelly just had an ultrasound two months ago, I elected to hold off – and go back to her regular, presumably incompetent but much nicer vet, for a follow-up.

I paid up, dropped Akemi and Jelly off at home, and then headed to work – arriving an hour after main unit call.

Oh, and apparently I was overcharged.  He offered to reimburse my card the next time I dropped by – or just put it toward the cost of the ultrasound.  Whichever comes first.

30 thoughts on “January 24, 2015: Jelly’s big adventure!

  1. Poor Jelly! What an ordeal, for you guys *and* her. I sure don’t like the sound of that vet – he’s sound really brusque. Also, he sounds like the type to “upsell” you a lot of stuff. Definitely get that second opinion from the normal vet.

    I do hope though that whatever the mass is, is nothing serious.

    Hopefully the main unit crew were able to move along without you and weren’t there doing the sighing and foot-tapping thing!

  2. Poor Jelly. Hope she is feeling better soon. I don’t think I would be making a return visit to that Vet.

  3. Well, then, this is where I’d tell him “You know we’re here temporarily so please just go ahead and refund to my card. TODAY.” He sounds like a dick. And poor Jelly! He sounds like he was playing the situation, since you were clearly upset and he was discussing your baby.

    Here’s hoping it’s too much breakfast and not a ‘mass’.

  4. The vet sounds like a jerk but at least her toenail is ok now. I hope he was wrong about the mass. You’ll have us all worried until you get her seen. Does her Vancouver vet recommend anyone in the area? Prayers coming for little Jelly!

    Line Noise: (from a couple of days ago) I’ve seen them use buttons on ear hematoma’s but not on the eye. I bet that was a site!

    Shana: Sorry I didn’t answer you right away. They have animal traps you could borrow (maybe) from a humane society. Sounds like your approach might take time but it could work (more gently). Don’t give up and good luck catching the pup!

    Glad you made it home ok and don’t work too hard!

  5. Poor Jelly! Poor Joe! Poor Akemi!

    You guys had a horrible day. Normal ultrasound two months ago and now a mass? Maybe. But I would get another opinion. And another vet.

    I hope the rest of the day was better and that the filming and fireworks were spectacular.

  6. OMG! how harrowing. What a way to start the day. I hope this vet is wrong too. I’m with Tam Dixon, why not a local? Hugs to Miss Jelly. Praying things are ok and this vet is just needing to pay for his new car.

  7. Sometimes I feel like I need my anal glands cleaned. 😛

    (subtext: Lemme share more information than anyone needs to know! 😀 )

    das

  8. What the . . .? Huh? I don’t even! That vet sounds like a total asshole. Jelly is totally badass, though! “Sure, just rip that vestigial toe off. I wasn’t using it. Pain? What pain?”

    Tam Dixon: I’ll have to ask Mum if she has a photo of it. It was probably over 30 years ago so maybe not. But it obviously left an impression on me because I still remember it!

  9. What a major jerk! I think this guy was playing you. Fingers crossed the mass turns out to be nothing, but I’d certainly take Jelly to her regular doctor to find out!

    That vet reminds me of an emergency dentist I saw one weekend when I broke a tooth and my regular dentist was unavailable. He did an x-ray and showed the film to me–this was before digital–pointing out a large black spot beneath the tooth and solemnly informing me that I needed an emergency root canal, right then and there. I told him to just smooth down the rough edges shredding the inside of my cheek and that I’d see my own dentist soon. He was very unhappy. When my dentist did his own x-ray a couple days later, the ugly black spot had miraculously disappeared! He said the other guy’s x-ray had probably been “sharpie-enhanced.”

  10. Glad that Jelly’s toenail is okay now and hoping there is nothing to the mass that “vet” saw. I would not go back to him. I have an emergency veterinary hospital I take my dog to when needed. They are open 24 hours 7 days a week. My regular vet does not have good evening or weekend hours and of course that is when I will usually panic and want to take her in. The ER vet hospital is good and fast and busy. Did that vet have any other animals waiting on him? Didn’t sound like it. Get a refund over the phone and don’t go back. I’ll keep Jelly in my thoughts and prayers that it is nothing.

    Follow your instincts on this vet.

  11. Sounds like what I went through a couple of weeks ago. Dog started vomiting and a few bits of sticks, rubber chew toy, a carrot, etc came up. Next morning, bloody diarrhea so I assumed a blockage and rushed to the vet. X-ray showed nothing, IV fluids, ultrasound showed nothing but he wasn’t getting better. They finally suggested an endoscopy. I had agreed to each procedure but by the end of the week I realized it totalled 4000.00 and I was out of money! I tearfully told them they had to either cure him or kill him because I was completely tapped out! I have to live in the real world, as much as I love Solomon. Surprise! When they stopped poking him, he was fine in 24 hours and hasn’t looked back. Lesson learned..keep track of every expense!

  12. Talking you into an x-ray, trying to talk you into a sedation procedure, not wanting you to walk out and discover the claw would come off uneventfully and unchargeably, then “accidentally” overcharging someone in a hurry, thus encouraging a follow-up visit/procedure/charge. Name a shady character after that hustler vet, Joe.

  13. When I saw that first pic, I thought I recognized that bandaging technique. I had a similar incident with my childhood dog. He stepped on a disassembled Christmas tree and his nail got caught in one of the little holes in the tube. Ripped clean out. I had to chase him around the house, him squealing and spurting blood everywhere, and pin him down to apply a pressure bandage. He was a much bigger wimp than Jelly.

  14. Our dog Lucy had the same problem as Jelly. She had mostly torn off one of her fore-nails had bloody paw prints all over our hardwood floors. In her case, we were able to clip the hanging nail and bandage her injured paw. She wore the bandage for about half a day and then gnawed it off, but by then it had seemed to scab over enough for her walk normally. Like Jelly, she seemed to pay it no heed, and walked as if everything was okay.

    I think a dog’s threshold for pain is higher than a human’s.

    As for the vet, he strikes me as similar to some unscrupulous mechanics that I’ve met over the years. Best to avoid further patronage.

  15. Sounds more like you went to the cleaners rather than the vet. I’d be telling him to issue the refund immediately because I certainly wouldn’t be going back.

  16. {{{HUGS}}} Jelly,,, and Joe and Akemi for having to put up with douche doctor.. better days!!!

  17. I was watching a movie on Syfy yesterday and they listed “Dark Matter” as one of their 2015 shows! They had several clips running from all the shows but I don’t know which one was DM (they ran the clips so fast). Exciting!

    That vet might be a jerk but he also might be a good vet (with no people skills). Prayers going to Jelly!

  18. As a (human) medical professional, I think you’ve been ripped off. Don’t go to this vet again, it sounds like he will do anything to find new problems to be able to rob your wallet.

    As for the mass, if you’re worried, maybe you should get a second opinion. But first, consider this: if it was cancer, would you want to know? Would you do anything about it? Would you have your 16-year-old pug undergo major surgery to have it removed? Would you have her undergo chemotherapy? Radiation therapy? And I mention this not for the costs, because I know how far you would go for your babies as far as costs go. The reason is the massive impact these therapies will have on Jelly (and I probably don’t need to remind you she’s 16…). If you’re (understandably) hesitant to have her put under anesthetic, then I can imagine the answer to the above questions. The costs to Jelly’s wellbeing and quality of life very likely do not outweigh the likely limited increase in life span if it is cancer (she’s 16 after all). Following this: if you’re not going to have it treated, what benefit does knowing whether it is or isn’t cancer have? Especially if she isn’t bothered by the mass. In my personal opinion: don’t have any further investigations (and stress) done to Jelly, if you’re not going to have it treated either way. Just let her enjoy life. And if you do consider the ultrasound, do not go to this vet, because he’ll do his best to convince you to have surgery, chemo and the like, even if it’s not in Jelly’s best interest.

  19. 1. That guy is an up-sell crook. See that you get that refund immediately. I hope you have a receipt. The longer they doddle, and they will, the less likely you’ll be to get your refund. (He may have heard of you and knew you would shell out thousands on your baby.)

    2. If that vet is listed on any sort of web site where you can leave a review of your visit – leave a negative review.

    3. That he would even consider a painful procedure without a local aesthetic is malpractice in my book. The fact that it came off easily suggested to me that he was just jerking you around by “threatening” pain so you’d use the more expensive procedure, even if it killed poor Jelly.

    4. Be sure to tell every one of your pet friendly family, friends and co-workers this quack’s NAME and how they should NEVER use this asshole. You may not be able to publish it on your blog, FB, Twitter, etc. without a lawsuit, but use word of mouth LOUDLY. Post this blog entry on the bulletin board at work.

    5. Find a different vet. I’l bet that “mass” is nothing but fecal matter.

    6. Hugs to Jelly, you and Akemi.

  20. My heart is breaking for Jelly. That vet would really tick me off. He needs to refund you immediately. I would put it in writing if they give you grief about it over the phone. Does anyone you know who is working on Dark Matter have animals where they like their vet? I hope she is going to be okay. What a tough cookie! I agree with the advice above about this stomach mass. While it might be good to get a diagnosis if something can be done without surgery (it might be able to inform you of certain decisions), I would definitely not opt for surgery with her age and not a general anesthesia candidate.

  21. Oh, and apparently I was overcharged. He offered to reimburse my card the next time I dropped by – or just put it toward the cost of the ultrasound. Whichever comes first.

    i agree with everyone who says that guy’s a crook. there was probably nothing wrong with her nostrils or anal glands & just wanted to find more stuff to charge for.
    maybe the credit card company can do something about the overcharge?

  22. A mass in her stomach that could also just be fecal matter? You’ve got to be kidding me. This vet really doesn’t know shit from shinola!

    Please just get your card reimbursed and take his “new information” back to your regular vet.

    -Mike A.

  23. @Tam Dixon – thanks for the tip, that will be helpful in the future. I went back twice just to make sure but the little guy was gone, or at least I couldn’t find him. I am hoping that he either found this way home or someone was able to catch him.

    @Joe – Sorry about Jelly’s paw and the crappy vet. I hope that she heals quickly and the mass was nothing more than fecal matter.

  24. Its all to gruesome for me to think about, poor Jelly. That is why I didn’t get any other dogs after mine aged out. It rips your heart out. Constant worry and elder care vet bills. ugh! And cats aren’t much better in that regard. One of my four is on Prozac.
    You seem to have met your opposite in the vet, meep.
    I’d let the gland cleaning be done by the professionals. :-/ 😛

  25. Yikes, poor Jelly, and poor Lulu too. The pups are having a rough time, please give ’em plenty of hugs for me. Glad you are going back to your regular vet; you advocate very well for your pups, they are lucky to have you looking out for them. Docs should be able to answer your questions clearly, listen to what you have to say, let you know of delays and be flexible.

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