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Discussion Starter #1
I posted a thread quite some time ago about my dead dog due to delayed diagnosis/ misdiagnosis of parvo. I've tried various measures with the clinic to settle this outside the court but they are now resorting to lies. By the way, all I asked for was the reimbursement for the cost incurred at the clinic as well as the purchase price of my dog. I did not ask him for emotional damages or for any other compensations. I thought it was more than reasonable. The clinic has just ignored me for the past month until I contacted a local newspaper.

The vet is now claiming that he urged me to do a parvo test but that I rejected it. Obviously, this is a blatant lie. He only became suspicious of parvo on the 3rd day, 24 hours before the dog died. FYI, he had 2 whole days with the dog, on the 2nd and the 3rd. On the first day, he just sent me away saying that its probably nothing serious.

I have evidence of his lies because we conversed over instant messaging. On the 3rd day when the dog was still hospitalized, he clearly stated that, "If the dog does not get any better then we should be suspicious of parvo or corona. However, if the dog does become better soon then it should be fine. From my observation, the dog shows signs of improvement." <-- this was said 24 hours before the dog died.

Now my question is, since I cannot prove that he is lying about him telling me to do a parvo test, and the only thing I can do is prove that his diagnose was too late, which occured on the 3rd day, is it normal for a vet to diagnose parvo this late? Does it take 48~72 hours to come to a conclusion that parvo kit is in order? Heck, it takes just 15 minutes just to do that fecal test for parvo and its only $50. By this point, I already spent near a grand. I don't care about that additional $50. I am just so mad that this guy is now resorting to lies. Any suggestions?

Before I take this dirtbag to court, I just wanted to know if it reasonable for a doctor to not conduct a parvo kit test within in 2~3 days of hospitalization.

1. vet was aware that I adopted dogs from the rescue shelter when my dog started getting sick
2. the dog showed all the classic signs of parvo (vomit, diarrhea, arching of the back)
 

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Vomiting, diarrhea and arched back are classic signs of gastro distress, period. That includes vomiting and diarrhea with blood, which is also typical of parvo (and the case of the 'distinctive' smell).

Whether or not 3 days is reasonable depends on a lot. In a puppy or dog over than about 16 weeks, even from a rescue or shelter? Yeah, thinking other things first is not unreasonable. A WHOLE LOT of dogs end up at the vet for treatment for vomiting, diarrhea and discomfort and it's almost never parvo in any dog that isn't a pretty young puppy. The assumption is, and is reasonable, that any puppy much older than that has already been exposed and has or has developed immunity to it because it is so prevalent in the environment. Rare dogs will never become immune, or miss exposure, but those are RARE.

Also, honestly, parvo treatment is supportive - ie: IV, meds for nausea/vomiting and diarrhea and pain - and not really all that different from treatment for any other cause of lots of nausea/vomiting.

And dogs with it still die, while getting that treatment. It's nasty and it's viral.

I really, really, don't think this is going to go the way you want it to in court, unfortunately, unless you were dealing with a pretty young puppy and/or the pup wasn't being treated for the symptoms it was exhibiting.
 

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If I recall, this was a dog that was over a year old, and had had their puppy series and maybe an adult booster? And the newly introduced puppy never exhibited any symptoms of parvo, nor was it tested for parvo? I agree with CptJack that you probably won't get the outcome you want in court.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
wow you have a great memory LeoRose! I still have unanswered questions. First, is it normal to not run a blood sample test? As far as I know, when dogs come to vets with specific problems such as diarrhea, vomit and corrugation, it is the duty of a vet to perform tests beyond mere physical ones. Especially upon seeing his prescriptions, he must of thought that it was bacterial since he prescribed antibiotics. But why would you assume that it is bacterial and not viral without running a blood sample test? Had he ran a blood sample test, then it would have been clear that it was viral infection thus saving valuable time. Is it standard practice to trust your gut instinct and believe something to be bacterial than viral? I think the vet may have made a procedural error.
 

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The thing is, viral tests aren't broad, they're for very specific viruses, so you can't just test for whether an illness is bacterial vs. viral quickly. Bacteria needs to be cultured before they're identified, which can take several days. Parvo is tested with either a fecal test for parvo antibodies (an ELISA test) or a blood test for parvovirus DNA (PCR). With no reason to suspect parvo over other, more likely illnesses given her age and vaccination history, I could understand why the vet wouldn't test for it right away. And why he'd start treating ASAP as if there was an infection, because if it WAS bacterial, waiting 2-3 days for the culture to be done before treating could also be deadly.

FTR, antibiotics are usually part of parvo treatment anyway, because the virus causes ulceration in the intestines, which can cause secondary infections from intestinal bacteria, so she wasn't being given horribly inappropriate treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for your reply. However, I think you may have misunderstood my point. I want to emphasize again that if the vet did a blood sampling then it is easy to know whether its bacterial or viral due to the WBC gran and mid count. He didn't perform it. That is procedural error. He just ruled out viral based on his "expert hunch." Also, obtaining a blood sample analysis takes no more than 30minutes.
 

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Well, it wasn't really a hunch, was it? I reviewed your previous thread, and an early fecal detected a bacteria known for causing gastrointestinal symptoms. Vets do have to make assumptions sometimes, since they're not all-knowing, and it's just not feasible to test every dog for everything regardless of how likely or unlikely it is. Sometimes they make mistakes. It is, of course, not great that he's trying to change the story around, but I agree with the others that I don't believe there's much to take him to court over.

My (layperson's) understanding of WBC count is that many things can cause fluctuations. Yes, low WBC can be an indicator of viral infection, but also of cancer, autoimmune disorders, massive infections (including bacterial!), congenital issues, medications... so on its own it might not have been as clear-cut as you say (if I'm wrong, please link me some info, I love reading about this stuff). You also said he did do a blood test in your last thread, was this mistaken?
 

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No, it isn't standard procedure to run bloodwork on a dog exhibiting vomiting and diarrhea as symptoms. It's standard to run bloodwork if you suspect liver, kidney, or other organ involvement and *maybe* to check for infection - but it's rarely done as a first line thing. It's something that would be done if the issue continued to be an issue for a long time or other symptoms (not nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) were present. Even if the vet had, it wouldn't have showed much except 'possible infection' and it certainly wouldn't have given you a parvo diagnosis.

And, again, even if you HAD gotten that Diagnosis earlier: the standard parvo treatment is intravenous fluids, anti-vomiting and anti-diarrhea meds, and, yeah, sometimes antibiotics to deal with or prevent secondary infections. So your dog getting those actually strengthens the fact that the vet *did* do what was appropriate for your dog.

That's all there is to be done. You can try things like blood transfusions of the dog starts bleeding out from the sloughing GI lining, but at that point death is pretty likely, anyway. Dogs either get better and beat the virus or their systems start shutting down and they die within about 3-5 days. Of *supportive* treatment. Ie: Fluids and medication to make them feel better/not throw up or have so much diarrhea.

It's nasty, and I'm sorry you lost your dog. But I don't see a thing the vet did wrong, really. I mean, yeah, I'm sure you would have liked to have known you were fighting parvo earlier, but if the dog was at the vet, getting fluids and meds for the vomiting/diarrhea, and even antibiotics? They were already doing everything that could be done for parvo. There simply is nothing else to be done.

Since knowing wouldn't have made a difference in the treatment, I really can't see you being awarded ANY monetary compensation. The vet did the right stuff, even without the diagnosis of parvo. The dog died anyway. Sadly, and I really am sorry for your loss, it happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@daysleeper
1) You also said he did do a blood test in your last thread, was this mistaken?
A: yes, the blood sampling was done roughly 4 hours before the dog died

2) Yes, low WBC can be an indicator of viral infection, but also of cancer, autoimmune disorders, massive infections (including bacterial!), congenital issues, medications... so on its own it might not have been as clear-cut as you say (if I'm wrong, please link me some info, I love reading about this stuff).
A: I am sorry I do not have a link. I am also a layperson but I've read up on interpreting data from hematology analyzer. While you do seem to understand the general role of WBC, it should not be analyzed as a single index or a unit. When you look at the hematology report, you look at four different data: WBC, WBC lymph(lymphocytes), WBC mid, and WBC Gran (granulocytes). If the WBC lymphocytes are high, this indicates that there is an infection; whether it is bacterial or viral cannot be deduced from this index alone. Therefore, in order to definitively determine whether it is viral or bacterial, you need to look at granulocyte figure. If in the case the lymph is high and gran is low, then you know for sure that it is viral infection, not a bacterial one. This is why doctors always run a blood sample.

3.Vets do have to make assumptions sometimes, since they're not all-knowing, and it's just not feasible to test every dog for everything regardless of how likely or unlikely it is.
A: I agree that vets do have to make assumptions and that they are not all-knowing. However, in this case, the assumption was made much too early based on scanty evidence. Why would you not run a blood analysis for 3 days on a dog you've been pumping antibiotics to and yet has not shown any signs of improvement? The vet should have had the competency to identify the cause of a common disease. Since an infection is present, the vet should have tried to see whether it is bacterial or viral by running a thorough examination instead of a partial one or relying on his hunch. Therefore I argue that there a procedural error was committed. His actions did not meet the professional duty of care. You cannot simply put vets on to standard duty of care. If that were the case, I would just treat the dog at home.
 

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It sounds like although the vet was slow (I even hesitate to use that word, as I'm not sure how quickly a vet would make a parvo diagnosis in a similar situation) to make a diagnosis, the vet provided the proper treatment. Knowing that it was Parvo wasn't going to change the vet's treatment, like CptJack has explained.

I think that if you take this case to court you're going to be out for a lot more money than you have already lost during this tragedy. You'll probably put as much money into legal fees as you did into the dog's treatment, so it'll come out to what, a wash? Suing a vet for malpractice is not the same as suing a physician for humans for malpractice. Animals are considered property....so you might get the cost of replacing the animal..so what, $300-$400? Also, you would have to find another vet to provide expert testimony. Have you actually spoken to other vets and asked them if they think this vet did wrong (since you're asking questions here, probably not, right?)? Would you find any who would be willing to testify?

I'm sorry for the loss of your dog, but I don't think taking the vet to court is a smart move.
 

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Yeah, even if for some reason the case went to you (and unless you can show the *treatment* was wrong, rather than the diagnosis, and that that wrong treatment directly lead to the dog's death (in a disease that is not uncommonly fatal already)) then, yeah, cost of replacement of the dog - which could be about 2,000.00. Tops.

And, yeah, expert witnesses. They are sometimes thing. You get them by paying for their time. Which means not only legal/filing fees, but basically finding a really good vet and buying ALL their appointment time for a day. That's fair, but it is not cheap.
 
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