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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ive had the worst experience with vets in my area. I took my young, 65 pound pit to one a coworker recommended. The vet told me to put her on the table which she had zero interest in - so he yanked her collar as I was told to push her. I was already ready to leave. THen he had me hold and restrain my dog as he tried to get blood. Other vets have always had a vet tech do this. I understand shes my dog and responsibility... but I dont have the strength or knowledge of how to restrain a jumpy, scared dog. HE finally brought in a tech who he basically had to teach how to restrain as my dog became more frightened. I felt I was going to get an elbow to teh face and walked away. He then told her to get 2 more techs. It became such a ridiculous situation. Eventually they got the blood for her heartworm test... it was only after i paid that i realized they didnt get enough for her full blood panel(?). They then took her in the backroom - which other vets have done for all blood tests even with my cat!.
they couldnt get the blood!! I feel they totally ruined my dog now in terms of ever being ok at the vets. I have to now go back and have her sedated!! NOW i am extremely upset that this is their fault as it was in my notes that i wanted 2 tests done. It is only because she has very long nails that need to be cut past her quick which i know requires sedation, that this works out. But for sure.. that will be our last visit with this practice.

i do want to know... as her owner am I meant to be her restrainer??? Is this normal? I know it helps her to see me and tell her shes ok... I felt I was wrong and lazy to not help... yet its never been my experience to have to get involved.

THANKS
 

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Personally, the vet has always had a tech in the room to restrain the dog if necessary when I've gone in. Vaccinations have always been given in front of me, but they always take my dog to the back room to do the blood draw.

I feel like your personal situation was unusual and I probably wouldn't go back to that vet, either, but I'm not sure if all vets always have a tech in to restrain if necessary or if they always bring the dog to the back room for a blood draw. Perhaps someone else will chime in.
 

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First off - I am so sorry for your (and your dog's) recent, unhappy experience. Vet visits are stressful enough, for everyone involved (canine or human) as is, without adding additional 'wild card' stressors!

As far as MY personal experiences/comfort level goes - I do NOT allow the office staff to take any of my dogs 'into the back'. I request (up front) that any/all routine procedures are taken care of in the exam room with me present.

I also request to be the one to hold/restrain my dogs for any necessary procedures. Generally speaking, there is a tech or assistant at the ready to do the holding for shots/exams/blood draws/etc... but I prefer to (and have the experience to be competent at) the necessary handling. (Honestly, two of my dogs would be MUCH worse if a 'stranger' tried to man-handle them into compliance) If they argue with me that a staff member "needs" to do the holding... I threaten to walk out (and it's not an idle threat). Period.

The new clinic that I am seeing is in the process of becoming certified as 'Fear Free', which is a HUGE bonus in my eyes (and one of the reasons I'm switching over to them) When my 'nervous nelly' (Beckett) was in for routine procedures recently, they allowed me to hold/restrain while the tech fed him Cheese-Wiz as his blood draw & shots were administered. This is a team approach I can get on board with.
 

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It isn't unusual I think for an owner who is comfortable with doing so to lightly restrain their dog for simple blood draws or vaccines. I always do because most of the dogs I have taken for vet stuff are more likely to be licking or jumping on the vet than reacting in fear, or, because I know the dog will relax with my arm against them and be less twitchy.

For painful injuries where a dog may likely reac with a bite purely out of the pain, not aggression, then I'd have the dog muzzled and an experienced tech assist.

It isn't having you restrain the dog that is the glaring error here IMO but kinda everything else. Sounds like no sense of "bedside manner" or dog body language.

Try to do some well visits with just like a weigh-in and maybe some light handling (not even nail trims) a few times with treats at the new vet office before you have need of anything medical to be done. Good chance to avoid sedation that way. If the dog still isnt comfortable, ask about a mild antianxiety pill for him to take an hour before a scheduled exam to avoid stronger sedation and make the arrival there etc easier.
 

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me... no.... you are going to have your dog and many vet visits for many many many years to come... Any person in an animal profession who doesn't understand the importance of leaving an animal better then they found them is a huge OUT for me. To ruin and leave you to deal with a dog for future handling is short sighted. Was your dog going to die without that blood test?
I always tell my animal professionals I would gladly pay for the appointment time not getting anything done, and help the animal be better for a reschedule to try again. Then to make something small worse. Your animal is your life long investment, to protect them.. no respect for anyone in a professional position doing them harm for the future leaving you and other professionals to deal with it..
 

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The "get it done" attitude is (unfortunately) not uncommon with vets. In their actual schooling, vets receive little to no formal behavior training. A lot of older vets still have antiquated ideas about animals emotions, and even among younger vets, there can be an attitude of "just get the thing you need and get the dog out the door" in some practices. To be fair, that kind of attitude is rampant among pet owners as well.

It's also worth mentioning that many vets don't have the time (or necessarily the behavior knowledge) of how to help an animal feel more comfortable with them.

Personally, behavior knowledge and general attitude towards my animals is a lot of how I decide for or against using a practice. Both the practices I currently use have vets that take time to let my dogs examine them and feel comfortable with them before diving in. I was very against my dogs going in the back for awhile, but have relaxed somewhat on that in circumstances where I don't think that my presence will help the situation. I do ask vaccines/shots be administered up with me and not in the back.

In terms of restraining your own animals, many vets actually outright don't allow that, because it is technically a liability. As strange as it sounds, if your own dog bites you while you're restraining it at the vet clinic, you could sue the clinic over it. I let techs restrain one of my dogs, because I know she doesn't care about a stranger restraining her any more than she does about me doing it, and its a difficult job I don't really want. I usually ask to do the restraint on my other dog, because I know that HE feels better if it's me holding him v.s. a stranger. Not every vet is OK with that, though. I don't think it's that weird for the vet to think you might want to restrain your dog. I feel like usually it's an option given v.s. assumed, though.
 

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My husband and I usually take our dogs in to the vet together and my husband is usually the one to restrain them for vaccinations, etc. Honestly I've never really thought about it much before. With Pepper she would just be so excited if it were a stranger holding her, she wouldn't sit still. Kane is fearful and wouldn't allow a stranger to restrain him, so it just makes sense that we do it when necessary. However, there is almost always a vet tech in the room to assist if needed. I have never had my dog taken to any other room without my being there except when they are left at the vet office for surgery or x-rays.

As with human doctors, it can take a few tries to find a good vet. If you have the option I would try somewhere else. You could even go in first without your dog to see the place, then bring your dog in but not for an appointment, just to sniff around. I am very lucky to have a fantastic vet who understands our dogs and their body language. I'm thankful every time Kane has to go in especially because he's fearful and our vet is great with him!

It isn't having you restrain the dog that is the glaring error here IMO but kinda everything else. Sounds like no sense of "bedside manner" or dog body language.
Agreed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Would you agree that sedation for her long nails - the quick is too close to part that can safely be cut - is the right choice???. I feel I want to do this to get them down to a decent length.. but read sedation is not always best. They did say it was a light sedation... not surgery strength. But i would be picking her up once she wakes up... so that sounds pretty heavy.

THANKS AGAIN!!!
 

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Would you agree that sedation for her long nails - the quick is too close to part that can safely be cut - is the right choice???. I feel I want to do this to get them down to a decent length.. but read sedation is not always best. They did say it was a light sedation... not surgery strength. But i would be picking her up once she wakes up... so that sounds pretty heavy.

THANKS AGAIN!!!
How bad are her nails? Are they simply long or are they starting to curl back into the foot pad or noticeably effect her walking? While nail care is important, MOST of the time it is not an emergency.

Even if the dog is sedated for the actual trimming, you're still talking about cutting through the quick on all her nails. That is painful and will make her feet tender and sore afterwards until they heal; if you have to handle her feet during that time it also increases the chances of her creating a bad association with having her feet being handled-- making future nail trims all that much more difficult. It also means an unnecessary exposure to bacteria etc when the dog walks around outside with the exposed quick and if you are in an area with snow, sensitive toes will be more sensitive.

My guess is by light sedation they mean similar to what they use for dental cleanings. It is less deep sedation than for a surgery like a spay and sedation in general is very very safe for a healthy dog, but its still a medical procedure. When my pit bull Eva had her dental cleaning for example, she was totally fine with the sedation medicine and woke up quickly and full energy but the IV spot on her neck bruised badly and so she couldn't wear a collar with leash for several weeks.

IMO, the best course of action (unless the nails are actively causing pain or problems now) is to use a Dremel to slowly grind the nails a wee bit at a time which will help the quick recede naturally and painlessly. It does require de-sensitizing the dog to the noise and vibration of the Dremel tool but it is very difficult to accidentally quick the dog using the Dremel and it makes for nice smooth nail tips. It can be hard to use with long haired dogs but a pit bull doesn't have that issue. If the dog yanks a paw away, unlike a nail trimmer it won't grab at the nail or catch on it. White/clear nails or black nails? If you can see the quick in a light colored nail then you might trim it back a sliver at a time with a nice sharp pair of dog nail trimmers but its a little harder with the black nails with no visible quick to see how far to trim.

You can Dremel one or two nails a day for just a few seconds at a time and then once all nails are done, start back at the beginning and gradually the nail and the quick both will shorten. You must take the time to introduce the Dremel and get the dog comfortable with it though. Here's a good blog post from a reputable behaviorist about nail trimming

Note-- I mention Dremel as that is the major reliable brand but other brands like Oster would be fine. The pet specific nail grinders are mostly under-powered junk though and for just a few dollars more, the hardware store versions can be used for household repairs too.
 

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The Fenzi Dog Sports Academy is running a class on nails this session. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/19985 Tuition starts at only $65, and they have a scholarship program that will cover half of that, if you feel that you can't afford the $65. Enrollment runs through the 15th, but the last day to apply for a scholarship (if you feel you need one) is the 10th. The class covers counter conditioning and desensitization, as well as alternative nail shortening solutions, like scratch boards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
THANKS! Her nails touch the ground and you can hear every step she takes. But definitely NOT curling to foot pad... didnt think dogs could get that bad!
She gets a LOT of walks on pavement! But that doesnt seem to grind them down much at all. Thankfully, she has clear nails which i was so excited about when I adopted her.... but cutting them was obviously not as easy as i hoped. Ill look into the dremal - I did buy one and returned years ago. Ill have to try harder this time. Coco REALLY hates having her paws touched in any way. Ive been doing so since i got her (3 years ago) but that's why i thought the vet would be best. But I need to do what's best for her. THANKS AGAIN
 
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