Bad Vets04 December 2019
I come from a dog-loving family and we have always gotten our dogs from a rescue centre. So we’ve been to the vets a few times and sometimes the veterinary service was very surprising.
On one occasion we took our dog for a check-up at one of those large pet stores. They house a veterinary service who pay the store a percentage. We found we had to leave her there for a few hours due to the large numbers of people who use such stores. It seems during this time the dog picked up a large flea and mite infestation and she also began to feel under the weather. I don’t know what their hygiene standards are but it’s obviously not a good idea to leave dogs in these types of places. It took us a while to get the fleas under control not knowing which treatments actually work. The real problem was that she continued to feel down for some time after. My mother took her back to the store and gave the vet a list of symptoms. She asked the vet what she thought was wrong and the vet responded in turn by asking my mother what she thought was wrong. Obviously she didn’t know, and the vet actually started searching on Google. I guess she was a trainee... My mother ended up with a bag of medications costing about £200 and no idea what was wrong with the dog. The experience taught me the value of a second opinion, certainly before purchasing any expensive treatments. This is all the more true because some unscrupulous vets may offer unnecessary treatments if they think you can afford it or if your pet insurance will cover it. It is a good idea to check consultation fees beforehand.
At another practice I was aghast to see the vet take out the rectal thermometer and handle it both ends without gloves. At the time I just thought it was super gross but later I realized it was a serious hygiene risk to both the vet and to every other animal that comes in. Hopefully she at least washes her hands before lunch!
On another occasion a vet prescribed medication for pain relief without enquiring what medication the dog was already on. The first thing a medical practitioner should do before prescribing medication, is ask what medication the patient is already on. This sort of thing should be second nature. As it apparently isn’t, at least in some practices, it’s a good idea to bring with you a list of any medications and treatments your pet has taken in the last few months.
Which offers some good advice for anyone who has complaints about veterinary clinics. Sadly oversight of veterinary practices has been notoriously poor in both the UK and USA. Certainly the horror stories in the UK link are worth a read. I should finish by saying that most vets are of course invested in their jobs and do a great job. It can be a very stressful job and it is for the most part wise to take their advice and give them some understanding.