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Discussion Starter #1
This is rather lengthy story so please bear with me.

Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I decided to adopt two puppies (3 month old) that were about to be euthanized at the pound. We already own 3 dogs: one Yorkshire Terrier (3kg, 8 years old) and two Maltese (1.3kg 2 years old and 1.7kg 3 years old)

My girlfriend asked a vet before she introduced the rescued puppies to our home if there is any risk in introducing the rescued puppies to our three dogs. The vet told her that there would be no problem since the puppies were vaccinated.

About a week later, my 1.3kg 2 years old Maltese started vomiting and having loose stool. We immediately took the dog to another clinic since the original vet was on vacation. The 2nd vet told her that my dog was suffering from IBD (irritable bowel disease). They ran ultrasound and gave her IV as well as antibiotics. They assured us that it was a simple bacterial infection, possibly a parasitic infection, and insisted the dog stays a bit longer so they can closely monitor the dog.

Since my girlfriend has extensive experience in raising many dogs, she thought a simple bacterial infection IBD would not require an overnight stay so after the IV and antibiotic shots, she took the dog back home.

That night, the dog started vomiting and having diarrhea again. Next day morning, we immediately took the dog back to the 2nd vet for the second time. This time, since we had to go on a vacation, we left the dog with the vet for 36 hours. During this 36 hours, the vet updated us on the exacerbating condition of the dog. Then we asked the vet, if it would be possible that it was not a bacterial infection but a viral one. The vet ruled out the possibility that it was a viral one. (this is message is recorded on the instant messenger on the phone)

After coming back from the trip, we took the dog back home. The dog was lethargic and weak. It continued to vomit and had series of diarrhea. Finally, the dog puked and some of the regurgitation went into the lung and the dog went into to a shock. We took the dog immediately to the vet again for the third time.

Then the vet decided to run a viral check and it turned out that my dog was infected with parvovirus. Although not completely sure, I am guessing that the parvo came from the rescued puppies. The dog died that night.

I am guessing that the parvo came from the puppies since we never take the dog outside of our homes. In addition, we never came into contact with other dogs at all.

Now I have three questions.
1) Is this a negligence/malpractice by the vet? How could the vet not know that it was parvo after 3 visits?

2) Also, in regards to the first vet who assured us that it was safe to introduce the rescued dogs to our home, is he liable for anything?

3) Lastly, the vets at the rescue center, are they liable for anything? How could they just release puppies that had parvo. Although the documents claimed that they were vaccinated, how could they just release them without any warnings? (I do not know definitively if the puppies have parvo yet)

The dog was healthy. It received 3 vaccinations. It never had any prior medical problems.

I am just so angry at the incompetence of all three actors! Our medical bill is now racked up to almost a grand and more importantly, my dog is dead! My dead dog seeks justice!

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Sorry to hear about your situation. The first thing I would do is test all of your other dogs (including adults) for parvo... So that you can be certain that it is/isn't parvovirus, and so you can monitor or treat your other dogs if they test positive. Generally speaking, it is very rare for a fully vaccinated and healthy adult dog to get parvo (or distemper, or rabies) if they are well vaccinated, but it isn't unheard of.

I have no idea what you can or can't do legally, but I am more than a bit surprised that your vet did not immediately rule out parvo given that you just introduced two puppies of unknown histories into your home, and given the symptoms. It is pretty easy to test for... But again, I am very sorry for your loss. This is so tragic and I hope your other dogs are fine.
 

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I'm sorry that you went through this. It must have been terrible watching your dog be so sick and not knowing what was wrong.

I don't know if it is negligence on the part of the vet(s). Like Canyx said, it's not very common for a healthy, adult dog to get parvo, especially if they are up-to-date on their vaccines. Just out of curiosity, did the second vet know you had introduced new puppies into your home? And do your dogs go out in public at all? Parvo is transmitted in poo - dogs don't have to have contact with any other dogs in order to get it.

I doubt the vets at the rescue center are liable for anything, although if you get the puppies tested and it comes back positive, I would call them right away so that they can track the disease in their own facility. Regardless, if the puppies were healthy and not showing any signs of any illness, the shelter/rescue would not have any reason to test the puppies or provide any kind of specific warning. They aren't going to put resources into testing every asymptomatic dog that comes through the shelter for every disease - it's just not feasible, nor would it be responsible of them to waste resources in that manner.

I really, really doubt that the first vet would be liable for anything. The puppies were vaccinated and apparently healthy, and a reasonable person would likely agree that introducing healthy, vaccinated puppies to healthy, vaccinated adult dogs has very low risk of transmitting any kind of illness.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Canyx and gingerkid.

The 2nd vet was not aware that we introduced two puppies from the shelter. But they had more than 48 hours cumulatively with the dog. How could any sane vet not know that it was parvo after running x-ray, ultrasound, fecal/urine and blood sample. Also, my dogs never left home. Last time, they stepped outside was 2 month ago.

I am infuriated because of many reasons. On the first visit to the 2nd vet, the 2nd vet recommended a surgical procedure for luxating patella. The vet commented that my dog suffered from 3rd and 2nd degree on its right and left knee respectively. My girlfriend took the dog because it was vomiting, not because it needed a knee surgery. Instead of focusing on the illness, they just wanted to perform a costly surgery. Upon researching luxating patella, if a dog suffered from 3rd degree, it would be limping and showing signs of lameness. The day prior to the visit, my dog was running around just fine. Also, this dog came from a well known professional breeder. The entire family history has NO history of luxating patella. This really angered me! The fact that they wanted to perform a costly surgery using fear tactics and neglected to pinpoint the illness really made me so angry. The fact that it was Lunar New Years, and most vets were closed, left me with no option but to choose this morally reprehensible clinic. I am right not in the process of contacting a lawyer. I hope the vet gets his or her license revoked. This degree of incompetency and negligence deserves no mercy.
 

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Were your dogs up to date on shots? If not I really recommend getting the other ones checked out too. I've never heard of anyone saying that bringing a healthy puppy to a house with other dogs could be dangerous for the dog, but pretty much everyone assumes that dogs are up to date on their shots too.

At the same time, the vets should have checked for that too. I'm sorry for your dog :(
 

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The 2nd vet was not aware that we introduced two puppies from the shelter. But they had more than 48 hours cumulatively with the dog. How could any sane vet not know that it was parvo after running x-ray, ultrasound, fecal/urine and blood sample.
If the 2nd vet didn't know about a potential source of a parvo infection (especially given your dogs never go outside so wouldn't be exposed to the virus anyway), why would they think about checking for it, when it is pretty rare in vaccinated adult dogs? It doesn't make sense, diagnostically, to run down a path that has no signs pointing that way.
 

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Was your dog up to date on his vaccinations? You said the dog "had 3 vaccinations". Is that in his entire life?
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss, and that it happened in a such a sad way.

I would guess that the puppies themselves did not introduce parvo to the house, at least not by carrying the disease. I would get them checked, but healthy vaccinated pups wouldn't be carrying it. That said, the parvovirus might have been externally picked up at the animal shelter where you got the puppies, most likely on your shoes, or maybe the pups' feet. Animal shelters have a ton of traffic of sick dogs, and even if they're meticulously cleaning the facility itself, you never know what you might step in on the grounds and whatnot. Parvo can survive on surfaces for long periods of time without a host, even in winter. I guess that if you just got new dogs, you also made a trip to a petstore for supplies? It's possible you might have come in contact with something there, too.

Introducing the pups should have been safe if your adult dogs were fully vaccinated and up-to-date on all jabs. I would double check now that the other adults are - don't just go by memory, actually check their shot records - and go back and review the 2 year old Maltese's records as well.

If you do confirm that your late dog was administered the parvo vaccine on the standard timetable, and the dog still contracted parvo, then you may have a case against someone, as it suggests the vaccine was mishandled or defective.

Now I have three questions.
1) Is this a negligence/malpractice by the vet? How could the vet not know that it was parvo after 3 visits?

2) Also, in regards to the first vet who assured us that it was safe to introduce the rescued dogs to our home, is he liable for anything?

3) Lastly, the vets at the rescue center, are they liable for anything? How could they just release puppies that had parvo. Although the documents claimed that they were vaccinated, how could they just release them without any warnings? (I do not know definitively if the puppies have parvo yet)
1. Obviously we could wish that the idea would have occurred to the vet beforehand, but parvo is highly unusual in an adult vaccinated dog, and doctors are taught to look for horses, not zebras. I'm not sure how much traction you would get here, if you told that vet that the dog was up-to-date on jabs, and did not tell them about the new puppies.

2. In ordinary circumstances the vet's advice would have been fine, so I really doubt it, unless they had some way of knowing there'd been a problem with your Maltese's vaccination.

3. No, assuming they did correctly vaccinate the puppies. Again, the pups probably don't have parvo, although you should get them checked ASAP, in case they are somehow asymptomatic carriers.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@jen2010 The dog was exactly 1year and 11 month old. It received only 3 vaccinations (3 shots on 3 different occasions) in its lifetime.

I just received a medical report from the vet. This is an abridged/ loose translation since it is not in English.

2-15-2018
clostridium found in fecal matter
prescription: ampicilin, famotidine, meotocpramid, metronidazole IV

2-16-2018
withheld food for 24 hours
prescription: ampicilin, famotidine, meotocpramid, metronidazole IV

2-17-2018
no signs of recovery
prescription: ampicilin, famotidine, meotocpramid, metronidazole IV

2-18-2018
parvo postive

Are you joking me...the vet prescribed the same treatment for 3 days when there were no signs of recovery??? How is this not negligence/ malpractice or just plain incompetence?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The dog was vaccinated with dhlpp plus corona at week 5, week 8, and week 12. In addition, this puppy was not separated from its mother (breast fed) until it was 3 month old.
 

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My vet recommends having the last one done at 16 weeks of age (no matter if it's 3 or 4 shots total), and then another at the 1 year mark, then every three years after that.
It is impossible to say, but there could have been a chance that your dog never developed immunity, especially since she nursed a little longer. I doubt she nursed till the 12 week mark, but even if not... Maternal antibodies inhibit the uptake of vaccinations, which is why puppies require so many.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@ Canyx
I agree with you wholeheartedly. The dog did not develop immunity for parvo. From this experience, I've learned that it takes up to 7 or more shots for some dogs to develop immunity, however, this is outside the scope of my post.

On a different note, my girlfriend just talked to a lawyer, who used to be a vet, and the lawyer drafted up some arguments for a small claims court. Thankfully, he was able to spot all the wrong protocols and procedures. All in all, I would like to send out a message to vets out there. First, if you are an ethical and competent medical practitioner, I do sincerely apologize for the tone of my posts. It made all vets sound like crooks. I am sure there are good ones out there and you do not deserve any of this negativity. Second, if you are a crook, you cannot continue with your morally reprehensible actions. Information is simply more accessible. Pet owners will eventually find out your malpractices and useless surgeries that not only take a toll on the owner's wallets but also endanger the lives of pets. Lastly, to pet owners, please do not blindly believe the vets. From this experience, I've learned that simply listening to authority is a horrible way to make decisions. Had I done a more thorough research, my dog could have lived. In part, it was my own ignorance and blindly trusting in these professionals that caused my dog to die.
 

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U might not like my opinion but I'll I've it anyway
I think people are way too quick to sue usually
this vet didn't know your dogs history they do the best they can but I don't feel it's anyone's fault enough to sue them
Parvo is just not something vets look for in supposedly vaccinated adult dogs so why would he test for that?
Did a vet tell you that you didn't need any more shots after 12weeks? Every vet I've ever went to requires last one at 16weeks then a booster at 1 yr
So not sure y the last shot was at 12 weeks but parvo probably could have been avoided if shots were given at the correct intervals
I'm sorry if you don't like my opinion good luck in your case though :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The dog was vaccinated with dhlpp plus corona at week 5, week 8, and week 12. In addition, this puppy was not separated from its mother (breast fed) until it was 3 month old.
My vet recommends having the last one done at 16 weeks of age (no matter if it's 3 or 4 shots total), and then another at the 1 year mark, then every three years after that.
It is impossible to say, but there could have been a chance that your dog never developed immunity, especially since she nursed a little longer. I doubt she nursed till the 12 week mark, but even if not... Maternal antibodies inhibit the uptake of vaccinations, which is why puppies require so many.
I agree that maternal antibodies could have interfered with your dog developing antibodies from vaccination. Also, the lack of an adult booster didn't help. It's also possible that, even with proper vaccination protocols, some dogs just don't develop a proper immunity to some diseases.
 

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I can’t answer your questions but I would test all the other dogs. I’m very sorry for your loss.
 

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First of all.. I want to say sorry for your loss.

Some dogs will not get immunity from the shots until 16-18 weeks. Shots done before 8 weeks are pretty much useless. They do not do a series because pumping in more anti-parvo juice boosts the ability to fight it or something. The reason they do a series of shots is purely because they don't know what age the maternal antibodies wear off allowing the shot to take hold. This can be anywhere from 8-18(usually 16.. but 18 is the new "just to be safe") weeks. I personally do shots at 8, 12, then 16 weeks. None before 8 weeks, and one last booster after a year.

If your dog's last shot was only done at 12 weeks and never again vaccinated.. on top of never leaving the house to be exposed .. that your dog had never been vaccinated at the right time for the shot to take hold. That being said, though rare, there are cases where a fully vaccinated dog can still get parvo.

As much as I know it hurts and I don't think the vet made the best call.. I don't feel like you are going to get anywhere with suing the vet. Vets are still human and also make mistakes. Maybe they were gouging you.. maybe not. Keep in mind that you also left out some seriously helpful information about the new puppies from the shelter. I think this is just a really unfortunate situation that really isn't exactly anyone's fault on purpose. Trying to place blame isn't going to bring back your dog.

I would make absolute sure that all your other dogs have the correct shots.
 

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As much as I know it hurts and I don't think the vet made the best call.. I don't feel like you are going to get anywhere with suing the vet. Vets are still human and also make mistakes. Maybe they were gouging you.. maybe not. Keep in mind that you also left out some seriously helpful information about the new puppies from the shelter. I think this is just a really unfortunate situation that really isn't exactly anyone's fault on purpose. Trying to place blame isn't going to bring back your dog.
FYI, veterinarians have a very high suicide rate, and people blaming them for every thing that goes wrong is one of the contributing factors. The vet probably feels awful about the misdiagnosis, even though they didn't have a complete picture of everything that led to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
After chatting with my girlfriend last night, some of the facts were wrong.

1. My gf did tell the 2nd vet about the two new puppies from the rescue center.

2. My gf did tell the 2nd vet that the dog did not receive booster shots after the age of one.

3. The 2nd vet did suspect parvo but did not warn us.

I am now even more upset...
 

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I don't want to add to your grief, but I don't think you're going to get any legal traction. Parvo is almost entirely preventable by owners following a mainstream vaccine regimen. Once contracted, though, it has a high mortality rate even with treatment. The basic treatment for parvo is to treat the symptoms - there isn't a "parvo medication" or anything like that. You try to keep the dog hydrated and stable, and prevent opportunistic infections. It sounds like that was being done even if parvo hadn't been specifically identified. Basically, the second vet didn't cause the dog to catch the disease, and even had they correctly identified the disease earlier, they might not have been able to save the dog, so I question how liable they really are here, even if they weren't ideally professional.

Are your other adult dogs up-to-date on their vaccinations?
 
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