Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Vetting the Vet

I won't name the specific outfit or the city,because although I had a bad experience at this location, other locations might be great.  But if there are any Vets in the reader group - a little lesson on how to lose a patient in a little post about getting a new Vet for Abby in my new locaiton ( her previous vet was in the city where I lived before I got married.)   The place I went to first is a chain (you know, like IckDonalds) and I'll just refer to them as "IckHospital"

First Visit - The place was fairly close to home and I appreciated the big parking lot as the truck is difficult to maneuver, one of the main reasons I selected them for appointments starting in the Fall/Winter. Plus they advertised themselves as a "hospital" not just a veterinary clinic, something I found invaluable when we had Barkley and he took ill.

I arrive with a printed coupon provided on their website for a free exam.  I get charged for the exam anyway.  Scheduled a nail trim (groomer on-premises) in addition to a wellness check.  Nails not trimmed. Her shots were due in a few weeks - told to wait and bring her back in, rather than do them early (second exam fee)
Mom won't let me on the couch if my nails are too long and sharp.

Last visit - scheduled to look at a scab at the edge of her ear that was bothering her and that didn't seem to be from any obvious wound and showed up suddenly. It was loosening a bit but was causing her some discomfort. As my husband and I are waiting in the exam room, a lady in a T shirt and jeans comes in, not the vet that's on their website, no doctor's smock or jacket, no ID, doesn't introduce herself other than "well I guess I'm the one that gets to look at you". She asks which ear it is, then roughly picks off the scab, to Abby's unpleasant surprise, and simply says "it's a bump", offering NO explanation as to what it actually WAS under the scab.   (I can see it's a bump, and could have paid someone off the street to tell me that). She just says "keep an eye on it for a few weeks" and moves to leave the room, apparently having the attention span of a goldfish.

I say (politely) - "if we don't know what it is, I'd like it removed ."  (Having lost Barkley to a sudden cancer, I'm acting on the side of caution.)

I am told "we don't do that here. " Apparently, although they list themselves as a "hospital" they don't have anyone trained in even a minor surgery on staff.   I was told I could go to another of their locations that has a surgeon. It's almost an hour away in traffic each way. They offer another office that's slightly closer, but say the person there isn't a specialist and may not be able to treat her either but I'll have to make an appointment to find out.

I'll also need a separate appointment for blood work.

I ask "Why can't you do the blood work here since you are 10 minutes from my house and you're the same business, you can just send them the results?"

I'm told, "we may not know what kind of blood work they need" (hello - it's a sister office, could you perhaps just call and ask).

I'm given a brochure and a phone number to call to set up what I need.  I do not.

I am charged for my exam of "the bump" and sent on my way. I may have burned gravel in their empty parking lot.
But Mom - what about my ear?

Next Day - new Vet. With her records in hand, I take her to the place Barkley went to when he had an ear infection issue while visiting my then-fiance and they were great. So I just parked on a side street and walked her over.

Fees were explained and we were promptly seated in an exam room.  A young man, dressed as you would expect a vet to dress, walked in.  After introductions and some general questions about Abby, the Doc looked at it and said "it looks like a Histiocytoma. They are usually benign but I can do a needle aspiration and look at the cells under the microscope while you wait. It won't hurt."
He leaves -I hear much giggling and laughing and a happy woof as Abby gets petted and fussed over by all the techs so she's at ease when she gets a little poke with the needle. A few minutes later, the doctor comes in with a happy Abby, explains what he did and saw and says that the cells look normal, and that type of growth should regress within 3 months as they normally do.   If it doesn't, it can be removed onsite, but it likely will just go away. He prescribed an ointment which he said would speed up that regression process while soothing the ear. When the front desk gave it to me they explained how to use it and how to store it. I made sure I thanked them for getting her in on less than 24 hours' notice as well.

Needless to say - we have a new vet and a happy dog who has a less itchy ear.


  1. A good vet hospital is worth some hassle to get to it or find parking. We were fortunate to find a great vet real close to our home when we moved here 25 years ago and have had great service from day one.

  2. Yay for a new vet! We fell in love with a vet here. The military base is much cheaper, but this new vet we found is awesome. It's a young girl and she LOVES puppies, especially the little dogs. Maddie absolutely loves her to death and gives her kisses.

  3. Grrrr to the 'not quite' a Vetperson!
    Finding a great Vet is very, very hard butts once you found them...stick wiv 'em!!!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  4. There is an hour drive, one way, to our vet, but we go because I trust him. It helps, I met him 20+ years ago when I was a student looking for a job and I ended up being hired to nanny his kids. When he isn't around, I trust one of the other 14 or so vets that work at the hospital. I don't feel I have been "screwed" by any of them and I know my pets have gotten amazing care. When our Loki was diagnosed with a rare disease, they entire clinic went above and beyond to give him the best care. I also love that there is a vet on site 24 hours a day (as well as techs) and they have emergency care. I joke with my vet that when he retires, I am going to have all my pets put down. He laughs and tells me he will help me find another amazing vet (we hear there is a good one about 30 minutes away). I am glad you found a vet who would listen and seemed to know what he was doing and there was nothing major wrong.

  5. I'm so sorry that happened to Abby and to you. What a horrible experience. Our vet here in Winnipeg is wonderful - Transcona Veterinary Hospital - and we have gone to them for over 20 years. And yes, their parking is horrible so maybe that's the telltale sign of a good vet hospital? Glad Abby is happy and well and your concerns were met with care.

  6. Hari om
    Finding practitioners of any type for pet or hyooman is abit !ike roulette...so glad you were happy in the end Abby... the pawrents too, of course!!! Hugs and wags YAM-aunty xxx

  7. OMD ABBY... we are sorry that you had a scabby bump... butt GLAD that you found a REAL DOGTOR to take care of you... and the BUMP... WHAT the HECK is up with that FURST place... OMD that is NOT how YOU and your Peeps should be treated. GOOD GRIEF.
    NO WONDER the Barking Lot looked so BIG to your mom... it was EMPTY of any Patient's CARS and TRUCKS... and OBVIOUSLY fur GOOD REASON.
    NO excuse fur THAT kind of thingy to have happened... Glad that you will never have to go THERE Ever Again.

  8. Just cuz someone is a dogtur does not mean they are a good one! Somebody has to graduate at the bottom of the class! We are glad Abby got a new dogtur who knew what and how to do things!

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

  9. Indy had a histiocytoma by his eye a year ago. Our great vet (Allen Vet Hospital, Allen TX) did a sort of skin scrape slide to determine it was a histiocytoma. It regressed just like they said, in less than 3 months from diagnosis. I am going to miss the vets there at AVH when we move next month. I'm going to ask the new local humane society who some of the better vets in the area are, for dogs.


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on our Lab Rescues that have joined our household since Barkley left us.

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