Quote of the Day

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2018 at 10:31 pm

“My dog doesn’t like men, he gets upset when my husband gets friendly with me”

This is such an interesting concept on so many levels. I often get the “dog hates men” deal which I used to take as a personal challenge then realized I didn’t have to address it at all as I worked with 5 other veterinarians, all female. Let them deal with the unhappy dog.

The reality is that dogs are likely poorly socialized to “men” at an early age – whether it is a dominant large tall deep voiced individual or simply someone different than the woman/child who they got to know. I do agree that a bad experience with a person who mistreated them can have last effects (“the dog was abused”) but it makes more sense to me that they recognize as ok that which they experience and especially at a young age.

It feels like a bit of a disservice, socially, what we do with our dogs when we keep them to ourselves while getting their vaccines. Until 4 months old. They should get out there around all kinds of people and vaccinated healthy dogs.

Which brings us back to the client with the amorous husband. I don’t think that “man hating” really had to do with men (or me) at all. This was more of a dysfunctional triangle where the top resource (her) was being competed for by husband and dog.


Go Yelp Yourself

In Uncategorized on March 4, 2018 at 7:34 pm

Social/Media scrutiny is always a double edged sword for us veterinarians. It’s the 80/20 rule all over again. Most of the great people clients of ours write glowing reviews which of course we skim over then live and die over the relatively few “bad” comments which of course our version is going to be somewhat different. Should they be responded to? It’s so tempting.
I’ve seen vets go so far as to threaten legal action, right there on the site(s). Any response feels like it’s only going to fan the flames. I’ve finally resolved to not bother even reading them anymore and now I’m generally a pretty happy person. It’s interesting the path people will go to complain – you gotta tell me directly if you want any action. Most will just leave quietly and I get that.

The most recent face off in my lobby this week involved a client with a number of concerns including a “by the way” which ended with suggesting that I am no Dr Noble (the founder of the clinic who it’s named after). Ouch. And he stated that he had already made these complaints, yet I knew nothing of them until that moment. When going through the confirmed and bad things I agree we did do and the more paraphrased stuff I realized perception may be reality but hearing the account from the different people involved were quite a bit different. It makes me want to put all the parties in the same room and hash it out. But instead mea culpas were offered. We’ll see how that goes.

Which brings us to “Sophisticated Lady” who Yelped us, in the “not recommended” section but since disappeared. We’ll call him Bob (yes male) who owned a rabbit. He broke up with his veterinarian for what reason I don’t recall and traveled over 45 minutes to see us. I have come to realize those clients that complain about their previous vets I can be the hero for until they inevitably find something wrong with us. The rabbit has an abscess (infection) requiring multiple surgeries and lots of expense. Bob is what I consider high maintenance but I’m up for it. The medical challenge of his rabbits care being paramount. Both of my managers tell me they can’t deal with him – this should have been enough of a flag. But I persevere telling them to leave him to me. We have rapport, see?

And then we overcharge him, he thinks. Bob wants $27 back. Goes from being a fairly sweet talkative guy to a serious bully. Accuses us of horrible things, poor care, incompetence, malpractice, and says he will absolutely sue.  And yes god forbid Yelp us unlike we have ever been Yelped before. Which of course is not the way to get me to give in. Poof goes our relationship. He goes back to his original veterinarian who simply increases the dose of medication and everything heals. Which of course I’m happy about but the fact that I don’t know how to prescribe for my patients has been confirmed.

The Yelp review was remarkable. I truly wish I had saved it for my own future entertainment. Just a rambling recitation of events painting the picture of Dr Evil and my minions with the recitation of a bill of $x including all the various items when he was expecting $x – 27 and he was suing me to get justice. (The bill was over $600, mind you) He never sued, natch. But the moniker was just special.

Another No Rec was one written by the out of state breeder of a puppy that I told my client I wasn’t sure of a health issue and we would just watch it. No big deal. The breeder calls me up to read me the riot act for questioning the puppy and his reputation by extension which I was certainly not. Then the classic Yelp review had a “$” for every “S” implying I was just out for money. I suggested no test and no return of the puppy for any clear defect. Sigh. Do I go into the Yelp wars and review him as a breeder with questionable tactics? There is not enough time in the day.



Bites to the Face

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2018 at 2:14 pm

This week has brought two incidents of dog bites to the face intimately to my awareness. One was a child in the care of my employee. Many dogs frolicking and the 5yo was in the middle of it when the oldest pet who had never shown indication of this before with no provocation bit her on the face = cheek and lip. Other was a medical professional handling a dog with another medical professional and totally out of the blue got bit on the lip, inside the lip and nose. Both dogs are small, less than 20 pounds.

We only hear about Pit Bulls due to the amount of damage that they can cause. True fact: chihuahuas are the most common listed breed for veterinarian related disability claims. They are wicked fast and can be angry little dogs. These dogs were a chihuahua and a terrier mix.

What is going to happen with these two animals? The terrier is moving out of state to a family member who has a ranch, lots of dogs and can handle this situation. My employee is besides herself because this one was her favorite, of course. And the child keeps asking for the dog. The chihuahua is a shelter animal. It is going to remain to be seen after it gets out of bite quarantine (10 days to be sure it doesn’t have rabies).

Unfortunately in the shelter world pets with a bite history are often given the benefit of the doubt. Like there was an adequate explanation for what it did. The concern of course is that it will get out, some young child (see other incident listed here) will bear the consequence of that decision. I would have no issue with euthanizing a dog with the information I have available. However veterinarians rarely have a say in these matters. Incidents are swept under the rug, erased from records, which can endanger those working with the pet in the shelter even. So tragic.

Back to our injured medical professional. There is a long unfortunate ER story of (poor) care provided, lack of knowledge regarding Rabies post exposure prophylaxis. But more significantly is the effect on ones psyche. She thought she understood dogs (“cats, I have no clue, I can’t read them”) and knew better than most the non verbal cues when an aggressive action may occur. Through a combination of not knowing the dog, poor hand off between people, inability to read absent signals an injury occurred. Now she questions her ability to be sure of any dogs intent. And recognizes that if she can’t tell how can most anybody tell? The public, staff, volunteers, etc.

This has absolutely been a severe learning experience.

For all of us.


(BTW, don’t ever get bitten in the nose. When you sneeze it really hurts)