The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Never Allow A Veterinarian To Euthanize Your Pet Without A Second Opinion

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Never Allow A Veterinarian To Euthanize Your Pet Without A Second Opinion

I wrote this story back in January 2011. It tells what happened to me when my little shih-tzu, Domino became sick.

Today is January 23, 2011, and it is my Birthday. I am writing this story to hopefully help someone who may be going through what I experience with my dog, Domino a 12 year old shih-tzu.

Domino no longer goes to the groomers. He get’s so upset that he has a seizure, and I always received a call to come and pick him up. He is groomed at home. I have the equipment, and my son usually cuts him with me standing close by supervising.

On January 18th I decided that I could give him a haircut without my son. Why I started shaving him in the middle of his back, I don’t know…clearly I had no idea what I was doing! After shaving what looks like a large belt area around him, I realized that I should have waited for my son. I did notice that he started lying down on the table and would not stay standing. When my son saw it we laughed, and decided not to finish because he seemed to want to just lay down.

Later that day, I noticed that Domino was lethargic and he already hadn’t eaten in a few days. Since his Veterinarian was out of town, I made an appointment with a local animal clinic for the next day. I was given an 11:00 a.m. appointment and arrived promptly the next day.

We met with the Vet who asked us a few questions, and quickly took Domino off to a back room. I stopped him and showed him where I had tried to groom him. I did not want him to mistake it for hair loss. When the Vet returned we were told that x-rays were needed, of course, I agreed.

When the Vet returned he showed us the x-rays. He showed us a round item on the ex-ray that he explained was a “tumor on his spleen”. He kept pushing surgery, but also saying at the same time. “he probably won’t make it though the anesthesia, most don’t”.

When he saw my hesitation, he began to tell me that Domino will not make it through the night without the surgery…ah, didn’t you just say…“he probably won’t make it though the anesthesia”. Finally, realizing that I was not going to let him do the $2-$3 thousand dollar surgery, he said…"look just put him to sleep, get yourself $500 and go buy a puppy!” As his words registered in my mind…I asked God to numb my tongue! Fearing my response, my son, the Minister decided that we should leave. We paid our bill and left without so much as looking back.

I cried all the way home hugging my little Domino, who was looking at me as if to say, “Mommy what’s wrong?” After I arrived home, I got on the internet and looked for an animal hospital to get a second opinion. I found one, made an appointment for the next day.

I then called another animal hospital where my little Sugar had passed in 2008. To make arrangements for his cremation, believing that he was not going to make it through the night, I wanted to be prepared. I asked what I should do if he passes after they close at 6:00 p.m. I was then asked if I had a home freezer. I immediately asked, “do you mean a food freezer”, thinking …I know she is not suggesting that I put him in the freezer! She immediately corrected herself and said, “I am sorry, I did not mean to ask you that”.

I got off of the phone thinking why am I making cremation arrangements for a pet that is still walking around like normal? I was getting sick to the stomach from listening to her describe the different urns and the prices. I finally agreed to come in and pick up a brochure, which I never did.

Later that same evening, while sitting and wondering what to do next, I started thinking of what the Vet had said earlier. I was so upset, I was thinking what if he does die tonight? I called my son and decided to take him through emergency at the animal hospital.

We met with a Vet and made the mistake of giving him the release form from the first Vet. I also told him about the haircut and that it was not hair loss. You could clearly see that he had been shaved. Hair loss falls out in patches. He smiled and took Domino with him. Later another Vet came in, he was so young he looked like he was in training. He introduces himself and says “Domino has several tumors (now its several tumors not just one like the first Vet said) and he has blood in his belly”. I almost jumped out of the chair! I asked him to repeat himself and he did. I asked how he knew they were tumors without taking an x-ray…he told me he could feel them! He actually said, “I can feel the blood slushing around in his belly”. He then said that he stuck a needle in his belly and drew blood! He also told me that his heart, lungs and liver where fine. They never offered to draw blood! He immediately hands me this sheet with the surgery already totaled up. He then says, 80% is due now by credit card only, and you can pay the balance when the dog leaves the hospital.

I am sitting there about to hyperventilate, when the first Vet comes back in. The first thing he does is apologize for the Vet at the clinic where I took him earlier that morning. He called him by name and said, “while his bedside manner is not the best…he is a good doctor.” That’s when I realized that he knew the Vet that I had went to earlier in the morning. I am sure that it is not unusual for Doctors to know each other.

Without taking any x-rays or blood work, he began to tell me a similar story that I had heard earlier only he was a little kinder. He pushed the surgery and told me that he may live a day, weeks or a month after surgery…but definitely not 6 months. He then said “we can put him to sleep now or you can have your Vet do it.

I told him that if Domino was going to die, he was going to do it at home with me. He then said, “it might not be a pretty picture, he could start thrashing around and having a seizure”. He then said, if money is the problem, we can open him up to see what is going on, that would cost between $700 - $900. What! I am thinking…are you saying that for $700 - $900 you will open him up…then what? Does the $700 - $900 include closing him up!

My head was about to burst! I told my son to put Domino’s coat on him. As I was standing at the front desk ready to pay my second Vet bill for the day. I noticed in the little business card tray the same business cards that I had seen earlier in the animal clinic. I asked the nurse if they were associated with that clinic. She said yes. I had actually ended up in the hospital that was associated with the clinic that I had gone to earlier in the day. I had no way of knowing since they were listed under two different names.

Here’s what his release paper said:

Advised that animal should be pts (put to sleep) immediately.
Suggested surgery
Massive hair loss (What!…didn’t I tell you that I was trying to groom him!)
One thing both Vets’ noticed was that Domino was not in any pain or discomfort.

I arrived home and held Domino close to me. I said a prayer and I told God if you must take Domino, I will understand.

I was so traumatized…I had not eaten since breakfast, and had no plans on eating or sleeping. I slept on the sofa with my little Domino in his bed next to me watching him all night. I finally dozed off, and woke up frightened. I touched his little body and could feel him breathing.

I am still afraid to go to sleep at night, fearing that I may wake up in the morning and he has passed. I have left little Domino’s fate in God. He has the last say…not man. He is doing so much better. He is acting normal, but I am still having a little problem with him eating.

Some wonderful friends on my facebook page, “All Animals Welcomed”, suggested a appetite stimulant called Nutri-Cal. He has started eating a little.

I am still a little shaken not knowing what his regular Vet is going to find when I take him back. Please know that I can not reveal the names of the Clinic or Hospital. I will say that I will never enter either one of them again with any pet that I may have.

My happiest Birthday gift was when I woke up this morning and saw my little baby standing, waiting to go out and do his business! I still think what if I had made the wrong decision? I would have missed at least 5 days of life without him. I guess I would have never known.

By no means am I suggesting that all Veterinarians are bad. I have had my Vet for 14 years and there is some reason that I keep him. When I first met him I was bringing in my little Sugar, who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in 2008. She was only about 6-8 weeks old. One of the things he let me know, was that he was not about money, but more about caring for your pet. He said, “Please bring her in for all of her shots, or if she is sick. Do not avoid it because you don’t have the money”, “I will always work something out with you”.

My little Domino crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on February 25, 2011. I had 5 more weeks from the time that the Vet suggested that I put him to sleep to spend with him. I was with him we he quietly passed. I chose to allow him to die at home.

I hope this story will help someone in making a decision on their pet’s life. Never allow a Vet to euthanize (to put to death ) your pet without a second opinion.


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