Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More from the Vet Trenches

I thought I'd found a good new veterinary clinic right in my neighborhood. It's a walk-in establishment, which is a bit unusual, but on my first visit the wait wasn't too long, the vet was pleasant and efficient, and the price was very reasonable.

I had brought Cosmo in because his eye looked red and he had some discharge. The vet diagnosed an infection and gave him a shot of antibiotics, plus eye drops for me to administer at home. While she was at it, I asked her to check Cosmo's ear on the same side and, sure enough, she found a mild inflammation. She prescribed drops for that, too, then suggested I come back after three or four days so she could check him. I returned today.

There are two vets in the office. Since the clinic is a walk-in, whichever vet is free when it's your turn is the one you see. This time, I got the other doctor. While I held Cosmo, he stuck his otoscope in Cosmo's ear to check it. Cosmo cried out and tried to get away. This vet wasn't gentle. His technician attempted to hold Cosmo's head while the vet inserted a Q-tip to clean out the ear. Cosmo wailed in pain and distress.

I realize the vet didn't physically harm Cosmo by his rough ministrations, but he could have accomplished the same result with less trauma. I've been instilling medicine into Cosmo's ear with a pointy-tipped dropper for the past four days with no problem. Perhaps the vet has burned out due to the seemingly endless line of dogs and cats awaiting treatment. He lacked compassion. And worse, when I asked him a question related to Cosmo's seizure medication, he didn't even seem to understand what I was asking. That is, I knew more than the vet about movement disorders like paroxysmal dyskinesia. Not very confidence-inspiring.

As to why so many people seem to bring their animals to this particular clinic, the extremely low prices might explain that. To his credit, the vet didn't charge me anything for today's follow-up check. But perhaps the old adage is true—you get what you pay for.

I did learn one thing today, though. The next time a vet is about to examine Cosmo's ear, I'll make sure someone else is holding him. The last thing I want is for Cosmo to think I'm the bad guy responsible for his pain.


  1. Not all vets are created equal. I've had my share of bad ones. Now we drive 58 miles to Port Angeles to a vet we love and trust. ~bonnie

  2. Some vets are actually so incompetent that they will induce a disease in an animal. We love our two vets like family, but once in a while there is a substitute in their office (why do vets need a vacation I wonder?) - and this is when I tell our cat NOT to need any treatment. The last time he (the cat) was seen by the guy, he ended up with a laparotomy (his stomach was cut open, for those who unlile B. may not be familiar with the term) that was NOT needed, and believe me, it was a heartache to us, in addtion to the cat's trauma.
    Our cat survived, after all he has 9 lives, and has only used up 3 or 4 so far, and he is only 15!
    /Users/cathy/Pictures/voyage 2006/Modified/2008/6 oct. 08/DSC00013.JPG