Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I have a 1 year old male Australian Shepherd, and I recently took him to the vet to have a consultation regarding neutering. We met with the vet just to ask questions regarding neutering, but mainly to get to know who would be doing the surgery, so that we could feel confident about it and not have to worry.

Several days prior to his actual neutering appointment day, I called and asked the receptionist to confirm that his appointment was in fact with the vet whom I had seen previously, and that he would be doing the surgery, and after checking her computer, she confirmed positively that he was scheduled with him. This vet also happens to be the senior vet at the clinic, and is the owner of the clinic (at which there are three total veterinarians).

After his surgery, upon arriving home, I was reading over his "physical exam" sheet (notes regarding the surgery), and noticed a different vets name on the paper. This vet is another vet in the office who is younger, and has four years less experience than the vet whom we made the appointment with. She came to the phone and apologized, and after several different explanations that didn't really line up, said she would have the original vet call me.

He did call me the next day, but I missed his call, and he left a voicemail, sounding kind of nervous. He said another client came in and pulled him away to an "urgent matter", and that he "did all of the prep work" but had the other vet do the actual surgery, and "everything went well, and thanks, and bye".

Now, firstly, this particular vet clinic is known as the "best" vet clinic in the area; it has the highest reputation, for whatever reason. Perhaps it is their senior vets and the overall design of the clinic and personnel training; I don't know, but they are the most expensive and generally known as the best. When I found this out, I was in shock. I was pretty pissed off.

Secondly, while I wish I could say he is one of those dogs that has come home and was fine and dandy the same day of the surgery, he hasn't been. It's now the end of day 3, and he is miserable; they put an e-cone on him, and said he has to wear it for a full 10 days, and he hates it. He keeps trying to lick, I assume because it itches, and he can't. I have no way of knowing whether he would be in more or less agony/pain/whatever had the senior vet done the surgery, or not. I just know that it concerns me because everyone else I talk to has this same cheery story of "Oh, yeah, we took Jimbo the Lab home and he was exactly the same on day 1!, no e-cone, no problems at all!", meanwhile, my Aussie is looking at me like "why can't you fix this, this sucks!"

So, I was just wondering, should I raise a big stink about the vet passing my dog off to another vet without my consent, after taking my money for a consultation, etc? How big of an issue is this? Should I/can I sue? Should I/can I ask for a refund? Does the fact that a less experienced vet did the surgery instead factor in? It just seems like if you tell someone you're going to do something, and you take their money, you should do what you say you're going to do; not pass off a patient like a cow. That defeats the entire purpose of a vet clinic being a good vet clinic, doesn't it?

And how worried should I be about doggie man being so miserable? It's tough to tell how much of it is the e-cone, how much of it is internal pain, and how much of it is external (stitches/shaving/skin abrasion/etc). I just can't read his mind, but I know he's not happy. Do some dogs just not do well, or is it rare? Is it more common for the higher intelligence breeds (working dog breeds) to be more sensitive to surgeries and traumas?

Thanks for your thoughts and insights, we really appreciate it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,950 Posts
I wouldnt. A vets office is a busy place. A neuter is a quick simple procedure. 10 mins. The more experienced vet could have been called to do a more critical surgery.
The risk in a neuter comes almost all from the anesthesia. The procedure itself is simple and not many complications come up related directly to the neuter often.We did a neuter the other day in 5 min. So I would not be to worried about who performed the surgery. They would not have such a great reputation if they employed vets so bad they could not perform a neuter properly.

Every dog responds differently to a neuter. Some dogs are very sensitive at no fault of the vet. They are just sensitive. You could ask for some pain killers. We normally send them home with any surgery. Sometimes it is the collar. You could try getting a different kind of E-collar from the pet store.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,658 Posts
I can understand how you would be upset at the vet you requested not doing the surgery, but I also feel like if he is the best vet in the area, with the best reputation, he wouldn't let the other vet do it unless he absolutely knew the other vet would do just as good a job. Spays and neuters are very common, which makes it easy for younger vets to get lots of experience with them; four years isn't a lot of difference as far as experience goes unless you're talking about a vet with 5 years of experience vs. a vet with only 1 year of experience. Do you happen to know the circumstances that caused the head vet to pass on the surgery? It could've been a more urgent patient, or a personal (i.e. family) emergency.

IMO the clinic's reputation shouldn't ride on the quality of just the head vet; surely if he is such a good vet he can also recognize the talent and skill of the other vets that he hires. After all, it is his reputation on the line no matter who is actually doing the cutting. If it really bothers you, definitely let the practise/head vet know how you feel.

Can't help you on the rest of it; all of our animals have come to our family already fixed. I'd say the itching is normal, and in my experience the e-cone makes all dogs look miserable, even if they're not in any pain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,104 Posts
I happen to choose certain vets for surgical procedures based on anesthesia management. We have small breed dogs and they have more precise requirements. So I am more comfortable with the particular vet of MY choice doing the surgery.

On the other hand, anesthesia issues aside, neuters are such a basic surgery that I would have no trouble with another vet doing the surgery. In fact, as an undergrad student back in the dark ages, we neutered lab rats as part of our anatomy and physiology class. They were rats, not dogs, but the procedure is very similar. Even in the rats, they all recovered in different ways. That was part of the whole lesson and it was a good one to learn. So I don't worry too much about my dogs post surgery as far as perceived happiness. As long as the post op instructions are followed to the letter, there is no sign of infection, and the office is available to answer any questions that the post op hand out doesn't cover...I'm happy. Think about humans with a root canal. Some people are back at work that afternoon, some need a week. Some people think it's the most awful thing they've ever gone through and others see it as a minor bump in the road with a few ibuprofen to take the edge off. I've discovered that my dogs are the same way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,415 Posts
A neuter is an easy procedure. I wouldn't say anything to the vet.

But here are some suggestions for your dog-
1) Get some Cortisone cream at the grocery store or drug store (in the ointment aisle, where stuff for poison ivy is), and put it on the shaved area near the incision but NOT ON the incision. It'll stop the prickly feeling where the shaved hair is growing back. If you've ever shaved your pubic area, you know how awful that can feel).

2) Buy some boys underwear, and put it on him backwards so the tail comes out the crotch. Then take cone off when you can directly supervise, and tell him, "No licking" or something similar to keep him from licking/chewing...the boys underwear will help.

3) Don't let him jump, climb stairs or run, but you can take him for leisurely walks to help him not go stir crazy. Don't get incision wet.

4) consider a "soft cone" instead of the hard plastic one.

5) My dogs have all had their cones off after a couple of days, when I was with them. If I had to leave I would put the cone on them. Supervision is the key, but they are much happier with the cortisone cream, and underwear, and pretty much left the incision alone afterwards.

6) Get him a Bully stick, raw bone or antler to chew on to occupy himself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,384 Posts
Don't blame yourself, I didn't think to ask if my vet was going to do the surgery on my one guy when we were going over the procedure before leaving him, I thought my vet was doing it as he is the only one I had worked with getting ready for the procedure.. And I wouldn't of know another vet in the clinic did it. Except I couldn't get over how exceptional and perfect the stitches were (they cut Major open from one end to the other and every stitch was identical) and commented on them and my vet said oh that is Dr.. work .. he did the surgery. felt as you shocked and not informed as I trusted my vet and felt confident in leaving my dog in his hands, Now in this case the other Dr. was the specialist in the clinic and more qualified then my vet for the procedure. You learn as you go that there is even questions you should be asking. I do think you should speak with your vet and see if you can repair confidence in keeping him as your vet and set guidelines of what information is important to you. Do hope your boy is feeling better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,186 Posts
Dogs (and people heal) differently. Kabota's scrotum was swollen for weeks afterwards. It worried me, but my vet was right, some dogs just heal slower than others. You should see my scars from a simple mole removal. I look like I was shot.

I personally use a single vet practice, so i cant have who's doing what issues, but it's not like the younger vet is automatically bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
I wouldn't be upset. As everyone else has said, neuter/spay are very common so the newer vet was probably a pro like a year into working there. Also as far as your friends that didnt have to have their dogs wear e collars, they are lucky that teir dog didn't rip anything or get infected. I took our collars off after a couple days but there is no way I would have just don't used one at all. My first dog had his in the entire 10 days, Baby Girl had hers or about a week. Our dog Brody whom we no longer have only wore his for about four days but that was because I went through about three or four in that time period because he loved using his head to try and ram through anything and everything and the e collar was more of a hazard to him than a help. I just watched him like a hawk and had to keep focusing his attention away from it constantly. I don't know many dogs who love the e collar, buts its there for their safety not for them to love.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,584 Posts
In fact, as an undergrad student back in the dark ages, we neutered lab rats as part of our anatomy and physiology class. They were rats, not dogs, but the procedure is very similar.
Im undergrad... holy crap! We looked at cow eyeballs and did some fetal pigs and frogs in our a&p.. SO JEALOUS.

and OP, neuters really are like a 10 min surgery. For something that basic I probably wouldnt be too concerned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,658 Posts
Im undergrad... holy crap! We looked at cow eyeballs and did some fetal pigs and frogs in our a&p.. SO JEALOUS.

and OP, neuters really are like a 10 min surgery. For something that basic I probably wouldnt be too concerned.
Weird... we did the eyeball (sheep, for us), frog and fetal pig all in high school. My comparative anatomy lab was dissection of a cat and a dogfish shark.... have to agree; neutering rats seems way cooler!

Actually, thinking about it, if the "head vet" has more experience with more serious/extensive procedures, its possible that he doesn't do spay/neuters as much anymore and that a younger/newer vet would actually be better at them simply from having more practice recently. Its probably similar to riding a bike - once you've learned it its hard to forget, but getting on a bike after a few years of not riding one still takes a bit to get your full confidence/skill level back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
471 Posts
I happen to choose certain vets for surgical procedures based on anesthesia management. We have small breed dogs and they have more precise requirements. So I am more comfortable with the particular vet of MY choice doing the surgery.

On the other hand, anesthesia issues aside, neuters are such a basic surgery that I would have no trouble with another vet doing the surgery. In fact, as an undergrad student back in the dark ages, we neutered lab rats as part of our anatomy and physiology class. They were rats, not dogs, but the procedure is very similar. Even in the rats, they all recovered in different ways. That was part of the whole lesson and it was a good one to learn. So I don't worry too much about my dogs post surgery as far as perceived happiness. As long as the post op instructions are followed to the letter, there is no sign of infection, and the office is available to answer any questions that the post op hand out doesn't cover...I'm happy. Think about humans with a root canal. Some people are back at work that afternoon, some need a week. Some people think it's the most awful thing they've ever gone through and others see it as a minor bump in the road with a few ibuprofen to take the edge off. I've discovered that my dogs are the same way.
Not really related to this thread, but for what it's worth, neutering rats is definitely more risky than neutering dogs; much greater chance of post-op complications.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,540 Posts
I wouldn't be happy but because of Skyler's mdr1 status. i do trust my vet's judgement &trysts she gives specific instructions. did you do the mdr1 test prior to this surgery? It may be part of the recovery problem. Our vet worked with WSU on anesthesia protocol, Skyler came out of surgery as happy as if he was at a party. No issues in recovery, including no need for pain meds past day 1. Each dog is different but I & our vet strongly feel it was the protocol she used that made the biggest difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
You feel what you feel whether you "should" be upset or not. Honestly, you could probably train a monkey to neuter a dog, BUT that's not the point here - the point is that you were expecting one thing and another thing happened.

Emergencies come up and that can't always be helped. But having said that, IMO what one of the vets should have done was called you, explained the situation, and then asked you if you would like the second vet to go ahead with the surgery or reschedule for another day when the vet you were expecting could do it.

If you're feeling like "well that was a little weird, but whatever" and aren't seriously upset by it, I'd probably just let it go. If it's really nagging at you, I would just call again and just explain how you feel. Vets aren't perfect, sometimes they make mistakes and sometimes they don't handle situations 100% perfectly - but how they handle your feelings now and how they will learn from this and move on are important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks all so much for the helpful responses. They really have made me feel better about it.

I understand it's a simple procedure, so overall I shouldn't be too upset.

On the other hand, I have trouble understanding why they didn't at least ask me, when everything we had discussed up to that point was about a specific vet doing the surgery. We have to go back in a few days to have the stitches removed, anyway, so I assume I will either talk to him then, or he will be embarrassed and pass me off again to the other vet. I guess we will see.

Now, however, something luv2byte said has concerned me. We never got around to testing our dog for MDR1. Is this something the vet should have brought up during the consultation, or known about before/during anesthesia and surgery? I have no idea if he is positive or not; all I know is that I recall seeing on his original papers that, if memory serves, his mother was negative (or it wasn't listed), and his father was, I think, "half positive". I forget the exact word, like when the gene is a partial carrier. At any rate, the information isn't complete so I don't know whether he has it or not. Is this something vets normally know to check out first in breeds that are known to carry it, prior to something like a neutering?

We are giving him a dose of metacam daily that they provided post-surgery for pain, so that may factor in, though it doesn't seem to have hurt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
It may have been an emergency situation (critical patient, family etc.) and they may not have that window or ability to ask your permission or inform you. You need to discuss reasoning with them and make it clear you want to be asked this for any future procedures. If something happens on a surgery day (a critical case that x1 veterinarian may have been fallowing and/or more familiar with comes in on your surgery day so x2 does the surgery instead etc.) that could be reason for switching and things do happen... patient emergencies, family emergencies, illness etc.

If he isn't tested, I would recommended that you do so. A little information for you: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vcpl/drugs.aspx This is a discussion you would need to have with your veterinarian. They may have just avoided any high risk drugs as a precaution rather then test before hand. The anesthetic protocol is a discussion for you and your veterinary team. In my experience, anesthetic protocols were made up for each individual depending on age, breed, health concerns, pre-surgical exam findings, blood work etc.

It's GOOD that they gave him medication to go home. Animals feel pain too. Just think if it were you, would you want pain medication? Most likely. The metacam is not going to be harmful for him. If he doesn't like the cone then there are other options available (underwear trick doesn't always work...) some are a softer material that form a cone and others are a harder plastic that fit just around the neck that prevent the dog from licking itself (https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&sugexp=les;&gs_rn=4&gs_ri=psy-ab&tok=AqNkoVHRckBYbvXckRW4QA&cp=12&gs_id=22&xhr=t&q=cones+for+dogs&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42768644,d.aWc&biw=1486&bih=721&wrapid=tljp1361760381718027&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=d9AqUb_RMI3QqwHVuoGoCw#imgrc=UY4K3LQ4TSCjSM:;kVUkav3SFRpc9M;http%3A%2F%2Fwww.arcatapet.com%2Ffullsize%2F16279.jpg;http%3A%2F%2Fwww.arcatapet.com%2Fitem.cfm%3Fcat%3D16279;400;400)


If he is a licker, KEEP A CONE ON because you will encounter more complicaitons if you take it off and he licks when your not able to watch him (if your out, at night etc.) they sent him home with one for a reason and that's because he likely started licking the moment he was awake enough after surgery. Some dogs are just more sensitive then others... sutures feel funny. As long as he isn't swollen, red/inflammated, no discharge etc. then I wouldn't be concerned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
It may have been an emergency situation (critical patient, family etc.) and they may not have that window or ability to ask your permission or inform you. You need to discuss reasoning with them and make it clear you want to be asked this for any future procedures. If something happens on a surgery day (a critical case that x1 veterinarian may have been fallowing and/or more familiar with comes in on your surgery day so x2 does the surgery instead etc.) that could be reason for switching and things do happen... patient emergencies, family emergencies, illness etc.

If he isn't tested, I would recommended that you do so. A little information for you: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vcpl/drugs.aspx This is a discussion you would need to have with your veterinarian. They may have just avoided any high risk drugs as a precaution rather then test before hand. The anesthetic protocol is a discussion for you and your veterinary team. In my experience, anesthetic protocols were made up for each individual depending on age, breed, health concerns, pre-surgical exam findings, blood work etc.

It's GOOD that they gave him medication to go home. Animals feel pain too. Just think if it were you, would you want pain medication? Most likely. The metacam is not going to be harmful for him. If he doesn't like the cone then there are other options available (underwear trick doesn't always work...) some are a softer material that form a cone and others are a harder plastic that fit just around the neck that prevent the dog from licking itself (https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&sugexp=les;&gs_rn=4&gs_ri=psy-ab&tok=AqNkoVHRckBYbvXckRW4QA&cp=12&gs_id=22&xhr=t&q=cones+for+dogs&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42768644,d.aWc&biw=1486&bih=721&wrapid=tljp1361760381718027&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=d9AqUb_RMI3QqwHVuoGoCw#imgrc=UY4K3LQ4TSCjSM:;kVUkav3SFRpc9M;http%3A%2F%2Fwww.arcatapet.com%2Ffullsize%2F16279.jpg;http%3A%2F%2Fwww.arcatapet.com%2Fitem.cfm%3Fcat%3D16279;400;400)


If he is a licker, KEEP A CONE ON because you will encounter more complicaitons if you take it off and he licks when your not able to watch him (if your out, at night etc.) they sent him home with one for a reason and that's because he likely started licking the moment he was awake enough after surgery. Some dogs are just more sensitive then others... sutures feel funny. As long as he isn't swollen, red/inflammated, no discharge etc. then I wouldn't be concerned.
Hey WestieLove,

Thanks for your response. I agree that it's good that they gave him pain medicine to take home (though it was only after was requested it after he seemed to still be doing poorly a couple of days later).

What I was really getting at, though, was that given the lack of discussion about MDR1 gene testing, Metacam, which the gave after the surgery, and for take-home, is (so I've read) among the medicines that can be injurious and/or fatal to dogs with the MDR1 mutation. Trying to figure out whether it's routine for vets to test for this prior to neutering/surgery/giving medicines to potentially affected breeds, or whether he got lucky, or whether he's being affected and we just don't realize it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
Honestly it's rare to recommend routinely testing all herding breeds for MDR1. I don't know a single veterinarian who does it. With modern anesthetic drug choices and techniques, the dose of any particular drug is quite low and unlikely to cause problems; even knowing your dog's status probably wouldn't change much. Acepromazine is probably the most concerning, and the doses typically used these days are tiny... even in an MDR1 mutant/mutant it wouldn't be dangerous so much as cause them to be sedated for a much longer time after surgery than typical.

Drugs of concern are here: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-VCPL/drugs.aspx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Hey WestieLove,

Thanks for your response. I agree that it's good that they gave him pain medicine to take home (though it was only after was requested it after he seemed to still be doing poorly a couple of days later).

What I was really getting at, though, was that given the lack of discussion about MDR1 gene testing, Metacam, which the gave after the surgery, and for take-home, is (so I've read) among the medicines that can be injurious and/or fatal to dogs with the MDR1 mutation. Trying to figure out whether it's routine for vets to test for this prior to neutering/surgery/giving medicines to potentially affected breeds, or whether he got lucky, or whether he's being affected and we just don't realize it.
I have not seen anything at any point that says metacam is among the drugs that may be a concern to these dogs. I would be interested to see where you found that. I did not see it on the drugs of concern that I am use to referencing. I would be interested in seeing this information.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
750 Posts
Hey WestieLove,

Thanks for your response. I agree that it's good that they gave him pain medicine to take home (though it was only after was requested it after he seemed to still be doing poorly a couple of days later).

What I was really getting at, though, was that given the lack of discussion about MDR1 gene testing, Metacam, which the gave after the surgery, and for take-home, is (so I've read) among the medicines that can be injurious and/or fatal to dogs with the MDR1 mutation. Trying to figure out whether it's routine for vets to test for this prior to neutering/surgery/giving medicines to potentially affected breeds, or whether he got lucky, or whether he's being affected and we just don't realize it.
mdr1 mutation really isn't that common (it's just more common in certain breeds) and, as mentioned above, the mdr1 positive dogs that do receive the anesthetic drugs on the list (like acepromazine or butorphanol) just stay sedated for a longer period of time and are typically fine the next day.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top