My husband and I have a Yorkie. She is 9 months old and never having had one before; this has been quite the experience for both of us. Who knew a dog like this would be much like having a child the age of 2 or 3 living in your home again? She is into everything, constantly at my feet, demanding my attention; when I get on the phone, she is in my face, and heaven help me if I go into the bathroom and don’t get that door closed fast enough or tight enough…No privacy here, again. And if I do get lucky enough to shut her out, then there is this pathetic paw sticking under the door until I am through. Sheesh.
She sasses, hits back, and thinks she should have a seat at the table with us. Quite the little prima donna. We have two other dogs, a German shepherd and a Rotty/Border Collie mix. Big dogs who have just given up when it comes to her. She rules the roost as far as the doggie kingdom goes.
But this is about Marlee and the scare she gave us a few Sunday’s ago. She had been her normal self that day, into everything, except I had noticed that she was eating more grass than was usual for her. I know dogs self medicate for tummy problems with grass so I was keeping a close eye on her that day. She had thrown up that evening and I put her into her crate while I cleaned up after her. She seemed quiet in there and I left her while I went and did some other things. About two hours passed before it dawned on me that she was too quiet. Normally, she doesn’t like her crate unless it is bedtime. Any other time she puts up a loud fuss when put in there. I hurried back upstairs and pulled one sorry looking little dog from her crate.
She had been vomiting and was drooling. Her little eyes were listless and her fur was soaked from snout to paws from the drool. I knew we had to do something fast. Being an RN, I know that little things like babies and children can go from feeling good to being really sick in a very short time just because they have no reserves to call on like us bigger people. I assumed that with dogs it would be the same thing. I hurried downstairs with her wrapped in a towel and told my hubby we needed to get her seen and quickly.
He called the vet, who of course was out of the office, and we had to take her into the emergency vet not far from where we live. He drove and I held the poor, little thing on the way there. She usually shakes and shivers while riding in the car. She never has gotten used to it, but this time, she just lay in my arms and didn’t move. That worried me and I kept urging my husband to go faster. We got there in about 15 minutes and rushed her inside. Now I am not sure how most ER Vets work, but before they would even see her, it was “$89.00 Please.” Quite the pricey office visit in my book, but then I am used to paying just a co-pay.
Of course we paid and then waited a few minutes for the doc to see her. By then, she had perking up a bit and was looking around to see what was going on. She was still obviously ill, but was not drooling as much as she had been. The vet came in and did a quick exam and then questioned us as to what she had done or eaten that day. She is up to date on her puppy shots, which included parvo, but still they wanted to do a fecal smear that would rule out parvo. For $160.00 mind you. I told them no. She doesn’t go any place that she would get infected. She is a house dog and a back yard dog and that is it. Then they wanted to do abdominal x-rays to rule out any foreign bodies. Again, I had to put my foot down. I had, long ago, puppy proofed my home because of her chewing up everything in sight. I had been with her all day long and there was no evidence of anything she might have gotten into and swallowed. Then there was a list of blood tests and other tests they wanted to do to see just what might be wrong with her. All during this discussion, Marlee is looking and feeling better, wanting to get off my lap and run around. To me, this is a good sign and one that tells me she just had a little bug and would probably be fine, but since she is so small, I really only wanted them to give her some fluids to get her through the night, and if she was no better in the morning, then I would take her to her own vet.
The total cost of them doing all the testing, IV’s and blood work, would have been over a $1000.00. Cash. That is just something we don’t have and as much as I love my dog, I couldn’t do that. I told my husband what I wanted to do when they stepped out of the room and he agreed. He trusts me when it comes to medical stuff, be it animal or people. When the vet tech returned, I told her we just wanted some fluids for her and I would take her home and we would take her to her vet in the morning. Marlee, at this point, is on the floor sniffing around, looking much better than she did when we came in. How could they argue? She got her fluids, an anti-nausea medicine, and an anti-biotic for just in case. Then we were sent home with a package of anti-fungal meds, more anti-biotics, and instructions to get some generic Pepcid AC at the drug store since I refused to pay $38.00 for theirs. The total cost for the two hours we sat there was just over $200.00.
Marlee trotted out to the car on her own four legs and we went home. Oh, we did stop off at the drug store and get the generic Pepcid AC which came to a grand total of $3. 98. I checked on her frequently through the night and she did not have any more vomiting or diarrhea. I did not take her to her vet the next day. She was eating the chicken and rice that I cooked for her and keeping it down, but more importantly, she was drinking and acting normally again. She took more naps that day than she normally does, but after that day, one would never know anything had been wrong with her. She has been just fine ever since.
I am not saying that the ER Vet Center tries to take advantage of people when they are scared and don’t know what to do. I think they are trying to just do the best they can, but sometimes, the BEST is not what is needed for that set of circumstances. How many people have had to let their pets die because they can’t even afford the fee to be seen? I think it is so sad.
I am blessed because I do know about medicine and know when something is really not necessary and what treatment might be better for the circumstances. Had I not, then I might have decided to have all that unnecessary testing and x-rays done. Vets need to really listen to the owners, too, just as doctor’s need to listen to their patients. No one knows their pets more than the owners and we love them enough to bring them in to be treated and need to trust that we are not being taken advantage of in the process. Why do unnecessary tests even after the owner has said it is nearly impossible for that to be why the dog is sick? Why still want to do the x-ray when the physical exam is normal and the owner is certain the dog has not eaten anything that he or she shouldn’t? It was those two things that made me think we were being taken advantage of more than anything else. Once the vet learned I was an RN, she backed off and quite trying to get us to do those tests and left the room fairly quickly after that, and we didn’t see her again.
I will be discussing this with our vet at Marlee’s next visit. She is trying to catch a huge fly as we “speak”. It just better not make her sick!!