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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious if this is normal, or is my vet just cruel?

I've had the same vet for 20+ years. He's taken care of all of my pets since day 1, and he knows me professionally.

I used to have 2 cats in addition to my 2 dogs. They were indoor cats for 16+ years, and when they got older I didn't take them for their rabies vaccine because

(a) they're indoor cats,

(b) they weren't in the best health so I didn't want to rock the boat, and

(c) rabies is exceedingly rare in my area, with the last case in 2018 (from a skunk).

Looking at the last 20 years, the only cases of rabies in my area were skunks. And since my cats were indoor, there was 0 risk of them encountering one of the rare rabid skunks :-/

Anyway. When it came their time to go (almost exactly 1 month apart), the vet insisted on fully vaccinating them before he could euthanize them.

Is that normal? What exactly was the vaccine supposed to accomplish at that point, other than racking up the bill and causing them more pain and suffering?

Now, one of my dogs (an indoor 13 year old beagle mix rescue) is near the end. He's a very special case, he's terrified of people and has stress seizures. The last time I took him to the vet (in 2019), the vet rushed him out of the office because he was about to have a heart attack!

So today I called the vet and asked if there's anything they can do at all to help me with his transition... prescribe some sort of sedative so that I can calm him enough to bring him over, maybe? They work on farm animals, too, so maybe even a house call?

I was told, no, we can't do anything until he's been vaccinated. Bring him in on Friday (note, it's currently Monday), we'll vaccinate him, and then we'll see what we can do. They simply will not do anything else until he's been vaccinated.

Again, is this normal?

I'm pretty livid, honestly, so I need to know whether this is common practice (and if so, why) before I blow up.
 

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Is this the only vet in your area? Seems over the top to me, and I wouldn't still be with him after what he did with the cats. However, you might want to check and see if your state has strange vaccine laws. I really don't think a rabies shot would cause pain and suffering there at the end, but I would question it, resent hell out of paying for it, and if it's not required by law, get snotty about it.

If there's no law requiring a vet to behave like this, and if there are other vets you can go to, call around, explain your dog's particular problems, and see if one of them has more compassion. Hope you find one like that.
 

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Agree that this sounds really strange. It takes time for vaccines to 'activate' the immune system anyway, even if it's a booster, so you couldn't even argue that vaccinating immediately before euthanasia would somehow protect the vet/vet staff if they got bit in the process (not that a rabies vaccine would help an actively rabid animal anyway, it only works if it's given before the virus reaches the brain and becomes symptomatic/contagious).

Unless there's a really strange law as @storyist suggested (I've never heard of one like this but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist), I'd be looking for a different vet who'd be willing to work out a way to do a home visit or other minimal-stress option without the vaccine issue.
 

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I think that's weird too.
I switched vets because the other was making us feel guilty about vaccines.
I usually just do rabies.

I suggest looking for a at home euthanasia.
I did that a few months ago and despite being a difficult situation.
I wouldn't have done it different.

My dog was more comfortable I think with all of us with him and they gave him a sedative to go to sleep first.
A little more money but it was nice to have it go peacefully.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There's one other vet in town, but I had an even worse experience with him.

This was about 22 years ago, and at the time he was the only vet in town. He had known my dog since she was born and knew her medical history.

One day I noticed that she was weak and wimpy, so I took her in. He ran tests and studied and everything, and eventually diagnosed her with ehrlichiosis. He said he hadn't seen that since Vietnam (not sure if he meant the country or the war), but it was going to require an aggressive (read: expensive) treatment and her odds were not good.

After a month of daily treatments and well over $1,000 spent, on a Sunday I saw that she was hemorrhaging from her rectum. I thought this was the end, so I called the emergency line and rushed her in.

(Note that the after-hours rate was $250 /hour)

The emergency vet took one look at her and said, "oh, that's just a UTI. I'll spay her and she'll be fine." Which he did, and she was fine afterward.

I was absolutely livid! He diagnosed her with a rare and expensive bacterial infection, when it was literally THE most common problem for an unspayed female dog? Letting her suffer for a month, me going through the emotional rollercoaster of thinking she was going to die any minute, and spending a ton of money that I didn't have?

He refused to even apologize, much less refund any of the money.

Shortly after, the emergency vet left and opened his own practice, and I went with him. That's the vet that I'm complaining about now. These are the only two in my county, the next vet is a little over an hour drive away.

I'm very tempted to get licensed to do it all myself... since I don't trust the vets, I do all of my own research, anyway, and only rely on them for emergency situations. If they're no good then, either, then what's the point?

I suggest looking for a at home euthanasia.
Researching now, thanks.

I'm surprised, but he's still with me! He moved around a little and pooped overnight, but he didn't eat anything. He refused breakfast but drank some water, and at one point walked (slowly) to the door to go pee! I scooped him up and carried him to the yard, where he stood up and walked around for about 10 minutes (stumbling a little, but less than yesterday; and with me hovering over his hips to catch him) before finding a spot to pee. Then I carried him back in.

Him refusing food and stumbling like that are clear signs that his organs are shutting down, but peeing, pooping, and drinking water confuse me. I really worry that he's been poisoned in some way :-( His pee and poop are normal, though, no blood or anything. That puts me on an emotional rollercoaster...

But anyway. So far all I'm finding are things like overdosing on Benadryl, but he won't eat anything so that's not an option :-( I'm hoping to find a small dose of liquid that I can squirt in his mouth.
 

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DIY euthanasia is running a risk of causing a slow, painful, and gruesome death - or just pain and suffering without actually killing the dog. I'd go with either vet before taking that route, the risks aren't worth it and may actually be legally considered animal abuse in those worst case scenarios.
 

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I would drive the hour to the third vet (after calling ahead to confirm that they can do the euthanasia, of course), making a comfy nest for the dog in the car. See if they'll come out to your vehicle to do it, given the dog's fear of vet clinics.

So sorry about your boy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Unfortunately, a car ride really isn't an option. I used to take him to a walking trail, but the last time I took him (about 3 years ago) he had a mild seizure on the way! It's just too scary for him.

I suspect that his heart has always been kind of weak, and when he gets excited or scared it beats too fast and can't quite get blood to his brain.

Either way, just driving him there would be torture that could end up killing him in terror :-(

I'm really very torn. When my first dog (the one that the vet misdiagnosed) passed with congestive heart failure, I thought I was doing a good thing by letting her die naturally and at home. What a mistake!! She more or less just drowned in her own fluids over a period of about an hour, it wasn't peaceful at all. So I swore to never do that again.

Now, it seems that my choice is to let Bane (the beagle, aka "Mr. Beagleson") die naturally and risk it being the same, or take him to a vet and let him die in terror.

My mom passed peacefully in her sleep about 6 months ago... I'm really just praying that Bane goes the same way :'-(
 

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------

One day I noticed that she was weak and wimpy, so I took her in. He ran tests and studied and everything, and eventually diagnosed her with ehrlichiosis. He said he hadn't seen that since Vietnam (not sure if he meant the country or the war), but it was going to require an aggressive (read: expensive) treatment and her odds were not good.

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The emergency vet took one look at her and said, "oh, that's just a UTI. I'll spay her and she'll be fine." Which he did, and she was fine afterward.

I was absolutely livid! He diagnosed her with a rare and expensive bacterial infection, when it was literally THE most common problem for an unspayed female dog? Letting her suffer for a month, me going through the emotional rollercoaster of thinking she was going to die any minute, and spending a ton of money that I didn't have?

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Maybe the e-vet said pyometra, which is a uterine infection, and not a UTI, which is a urinary tract infection? Spaying is not the standard treatment for a UTI, but it is for pyometra.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Probably... it's been awhile :cool:

Unrelated, but I recently discovered that Bane was how I found this forum in the first place! You all might be interested in this walk through history:

 

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I worked for vets x 8 years and have been in dog rescue x 20 years. Never once has a vet refused to PTS an animal till they were vaccinated. Frankly, a LOT of the vets I've seen are poorly educated and utterly money grubbing. I'm a human surgeon, so I understand business. I'd report that vet to the state veterinary association and the licensing board. To make a dying animal wait is cruel to the animal and the owner. He/She is darn lucky they didn't say that to ME!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hmm. Knowing that... maybe I will report it to the veterinary association.

We're still in crisis mode with Bane right now (he's still with me and maybe recovering? Or rallying, I don't know), so once the emotion has calmed down a little and I can do it rationally, I'll strongly consider that.
 

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I worked for vets x 8 years and have been in dog rescue x 20 years. Never once has a vet refused to PTS an animal till they were vaccinated. Frankly, a LOT of the vets I've seen are poorly educated and utterly money grubbing. I'm a human surgeon, so I understand business. I'd report that vet to the state veterinary association and the licensing board. To make a dying animal wait is cruel to the animal and the owner. He/She is darn lucky they didn't say that to ME!
There isn't a law that 'makes' veterinarians euthanize pets for any reason. Calling the State Veterinary Licensing Board will be a waste of time. I would have just called another vet or the animal emergency hospital and have it humanely done.

On a side note... it's completely ridiculous that your pet has to get vaccinated to be euthanized. The only time we ask this question "Has anyone been bitten by this animal", is when the pet hasn't had current vaccines-but we would never make them get it before we said 'goodbye'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thought you all would be interested to know, he's still with me! I thought he was gone for sure last Monday (9 days ago), but he's improved a bit. He is still alert and doesn't seem to be in major pain, but he runs out of energy pretty quickly.

I was able to find a mobile vet in another county. She mainly works with livestock, but she at least does in-home euthanasia. She gave me a dose of acepromazine that I can give him orally when the time comes, it should make him sleep for about 2 hours so when she comes, he won't even know it. Apparently it's darn near impossible to overdose a dog on it.

After researching, I can't find a single reason why my normal vet couldn't have given me the same thing. In fact, they could have given it to me his entire life when it was time to bring him in for vaccines! So I'm quite angry that they never offered, it would have changed his life.
 

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Possibly because Ace has a significant instance of paradoxical reaction (where the animal becomes extra wound up instead of sedated) in dogs. It's also damaging in dogs when take in combo with a ton of other common medicines, and can dangerously depress the cardiovascular system. Obviously you're in a special situation now, but there are better options for canine anxiety about vet visits in more routine circumstances.

It's super commonly used for horses, which may be why a farm vet would think of it as a default option.
 
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