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Veteranarian Snubbed my Shiba
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    My Shiba, Django, has a terrible rash, which has developed into puss filled bumps and wet looking redness. Before it got this bad, I called my normal vet and he recommended two benedryls a day and dabbing baking soda water on his rash. Yesterday I called the office again to make an appointment. The receptionist said, "Oh, yeah, he's the difficult one." To which I responded, "Beg your pardon?" and she very coolly began trying to talk me out of bringing him in, referring a number of times to him being very difficult and "almost impossible" to handle for examination. She said, "Maybe we could order you something stronger than benedryl that you could just pick up." I told her I am concerned that his rash could be infected, and that he is acting sick, listless, doesn't want to walk, drink water, or eat. I told her "Dr. @@ doesn't seem to have any trouble with him!" She said, "He doesn't work on Fridays. If you want to you can make an appointment for next week, Tuesday." I insisted on making an appointment for Friday, with whichever veterinarian would see him. She was really rude about it.

    Django hasn't even shared his Shiba scream at this office yet! He does get very snappy when they try to examine him, though one vet has had better luck than any of the others. But I have never been told there's an issue. He let them insert a micro chip and take blood with no problem but when they try to touch his feet or other things, he can get very upset. It just takes time and patience, and the right approach.

    I decided not to subject them to his presence, or him to theirs, so we made an appointment at another place, highly recommended, and after talking in-depth with the receptionist, I feel they have a much better attitude towards my somewhat fearful dog. They of course want my business, but I hope it turns out to be the right choice. Also they offer emergency services, so it will be a good connection.

    I think I will write a letter to the offending vets office, but I also feel sad that my dog, who is just wonderful 98% of the time, has gotten this reputation. Maybe I should just let it be. Anyone have experiences like this?
  • Wow! Yes write a letter and if I were you I will go to their website and every other website out there and write a bad review on them. They should not be getting your business or anyone else's with an attitude like that!
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Geez.... Finding a new vet is the right thing to do here. I think it was highly out of line for the receptionist to comment about your dog that way too. My son's office has files for all their clients, as all vets do. They are still on a paper system so red writing means one thing, green means another. But they all know not to share the files and info out loud. Definitely write the vet office (attn to the vet or someone other than the receptionist so she doesn't toss your mail), and let them know their staff needs a lesson in common sense.

    I know Banfield dreads me bringing in Sheba. She sounds a lot like your Django in terms of difficulty and the paws. Banf folks aren't strong enough to hold her and they are all too scared of getting bit to be that good. As soon as her contract is over, and if I still have her, I plan on bringing her to my son's vet to do a full evaluation. I hope you find the source of Django's skin issues and he gets better soon!
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    Whew! I was afraid folks would comment that it was Django's fault for not being a nice submissive patient. I'm glad to get some support here. I'll let you know how the new vet turns out. We're going in at 2 today.
    >amti, what do you mean, "contract"? and evaluation? just curious.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Yes, I no longer go to Banfield @amti since owning dogs ... their bedside manner is poor and their staff at mine turns over a lot.

    @roxanne, I am glad you are finding a new vet. A vet relationship depends on both parties wanting to work together and it sounds like they do not. It is highly rude what they said but it probably is for the best as now you know where they stand.

    Hopefully, you can find a much better relationship with a new vet who does care.
  • starrystarry
    Posts: 187
    That's terrible. I wonder if the Vet feels the same way or if it's just the Vet techs and ancillary staff. You should write a letter to the main Veterinarian and let him know how your interactions have been, including the interaction with the receptionist.

    I took my super people friendly shiba to the vet and she did great with the Veterinarian during the entire exam.
    But when it came to the vaccination the Vet techs just came in put a muzzle on her (which she never has) and held her down. it actually took two of them to do it (it's amazing how strong a 16 lb dog can be)
    And then the next time she had to have her vaccine they just took her into the back room without me and you could hear her screaming from the waiting room. I didn't go back because they were clearly not interested in working with my dog just interested in getting their job done. After a few negative experiences I knew it would end up being a disaster.
    My new vet and the vet techs are great, mainly because they are less task focused and more interested in the dog's well being.
    Things I learned:
    -Don't be afraid to ask for a time out if you see your dog getting ramped up (you know your dog better than anyone and you'll notice it before they do). Sometimes a short break wherein the vet backs off and some simple tricks (sitting, lying down) with a treat reward refocuses the dog's brain. It also helps with positive reinforcement that being at the vet is okay.
    -Ask if your dog can stay on the ground and not be put up on the table and have the vet get on the ground. If you get on the ground in front of your dog and have your dog look at you and keep feeding him treats he may not even realize that someone else is touching him (or he might not even care).
    Plus being on the ground makes them less anxious cause they know they can call a time out when they need to. But don't ever chase after him if he runs away into a corner, just give him a little time and see if he'll come to you if you have treats
    -If they want to look at his teeth, then ask if you can open his mouth. After many walks wherein my dog ate every piece of gum off the sidewalk, I taught him to open his mouth when I put my had over his snout and slipped my thumb and middle finger onto his gums.

    When I say treats I mean don't feed him the morning before going to the vet and just bring a plastic baggie of his dog food and then hand feed him his breakfast while he's at the vet.
    Good luck at the vet. I say the more hands on you are, like spreading the hair to show the rash rather than the vet doing it, the more comfortable your dog will be especially since you've been the one doing it at home and he's been fine with it.
    Post edited by starry at 2013-08-30 11:53:47
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    @starry thanks for all the good advice! Once I took him to a different vet, and they took him to another room and muzzled him, and that was the first time I heard his real Shiba scream. He had a torn nail, and they were trying to clip it. They were unsuccessful. I really don't think muzzeling works with him, but the vet office I talked with today discussed a few things they sometimes try, like muzzeling, and taking him to a separate room where I am not a distraction or someone he wants to protect. She seemed like she was open to whatever worked, though, and I will have an informed discussion with the vet when we get there. I will definitely take treats, and I like the "time out" idea. Very good idea. Django tends to behave better for me at home when he's on a table, in his harness, though, so the floor idea probably won't fit in. He isn't really good at "looking at me" unfortunately, we are still working on trust issues ourselves! He was a stray and around 2 years old when we took him in, so not sure what lazy upbringing he had. He has taught us a lot about how to treat animals and how not to. He is a blessing. Now to find the vet who acknowledges that so we can get on track!
  • Sukoshi and Hoshi were fabulous at the vet.

    My new guy Indie is another story. He has been known to serenade the entire hospital with Shiba Screams. But my long-time vet will work around it, as will the staff. Indie gets a mild sedative two hours before a visit and this seems to help take the edge off and helps his anxiety. My vet's comment when he first expressed his dislike of vet visits: "We can deal with this. Here are some options...."

  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    It sounds like your new vet at least is willing to discuss the options and they sound willing to work with what your comfortable with but give you insight into their thoughts too. I have heard it isn't always a bad thing for the owner to not be present, but I would only allow that after having built a relationship over time with my vet and their staff that gave me confidence they respected my dog not just be oriented on the task that needed to be performed.

    My boy has a "muzzle" sticker on his file after his neutering trip (I am sure he was terrified as he is people shy and had never been away from home without us before that visit). While I understood the muzzle note was for everyone's awareness and safety, I didn't believe for normal routine visits that it really should be necessary. I felt the neutering trip was an exceptional incidence of stress.

    So I talked to my vet about it during his annual visit for his rabies and titers. I explained we had been working hard on CGC skills and that I wanted to be allowed to use positive reinforcement during his annual exam done with me present and no muzzle. The vet techs and the vet were all good about this request despite the fact Bear obviously had demonstrated to them in the past his bad side capability too.

    We had a very successful visit even including a blood draw from the neck for the titers. While I could tell Bear was not comfortable, he remained submissive (almost sad looking), and he focused on me. For most of the visit he was also just comfortable he would take the high value cheese I had brought. There was only one moment I did ask for a brief time out during the exam as he reached a stress stage he wouldn't take the cheese. A trainer once told me a really stressed dog typically won't eat as their focus and muscles don't allow them too.

    So I guess what I am trying to say, is I love my vet, because they are open to listening to me as the advocate for my dog and giving him second chance. I wouldn't use any vet who wasn't willing to have a two way discussion as things will continually change, but I also do listen to them and try to understand their perspective too, so for certain things I do let them use the muzzle and take him to the back room. Like one time he picked up a tick and after we removed it I thought the head was still inside his neck. Because the vet wanted to probe the area, the vet felt it better to muzzle him and take him in back so he didn't associate the unpleasantness with me and they could do a proper exam of the area.
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    @recattoo Awesome points! I really worry about letting them take him away from us on our first visit. He will already be in a new place with new people, and all that. You made a good point, "the vet felt it better to muzzle him and take him in back so he didn't associate the unpleasantness with me and they could do a proper exam of the area" which I had not considered before. We will definitely be communicating with the vet more this time around, and getting a feel for how much they respect the animal vs just being, "oriented on the task that needed to be performed."

    I just gave him more water and he came out of his kennel to have a little treat. He sits down suddenly and looks at me with distress, then licks a little on his tummy, then makes a big SIGH and just sits there. I tried to take a picture, in case his vet visit turns out to be a disaster (I'm feeling a bit discouraged and worried) but at the sight of the "foreign object" he snapped at me and ran into his kennel.

    Two hours til our appointment.
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    I wonder if I should give him some benedryl
  • I'm sure you did the right thing by finding a new vet. Those people sound like utter jerks. The thing is, many otherwise wonderful dogs are terrible at the vet. That's just the way it is. so vets need to find a way to deal with that. If they're not willing or unable to handle dogs that may be difficult, then they should be in a different business, and to refuse to see a dog is ridiculous (unless the dog is really dangerous, which is another thing entirely).

    My male Shiba can be a handful, and he's BIG. I've had to help restrain him when they were short of vet techs. It's not that easy, but what I've noticed is that if you have the right grip on a dog (which my vets taught me to do), even a squirmy 50+ pound Shiba is manageable. And the other day when he was flipping out a bit, my vet said, "seriously, this nothing. Toby is a good boy." I thought they were just trying to calm me, and they said no, the really difficult dogs are nothing like this. It may not be ideal, but the bottom line is a vet's office is going to have to be able to handle dogs that are truly difficult at times, and they should both have ways to restrain and handle dogs like that, as well as be able to work with owners who have trained their dogs to tolerate being at the vet through positive reinforcement.

    Anyway, hope this new appt. goes better!
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    thanks!
    When this day is done I am going to compose a carefully worded letter to my old vet's office. Upon reflection, the whole situation reminds me of the nursing home I chose for my parents. What I mean is, both places were designed for the families, not the patients. The vets office is really cool looking, North Woodsy, with portraits of animals on the walls and lots of comfy chairs and big windows. But they aren't equipped for a lot of different situations that occur. The nursing home had all sorts of lovely accommodations for visitors, including an aviary and gardens... but the staff was sparse and stressed and overworked. What a mistake that was.

    The lesson? Not sure. Don't make decisions based on superficial evidence, perhaps.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @roxanne, I would say the lesson is don't be fooled by a books cover. Sometimes it takes some time to find the right vet that suits you and your dog. I am glad you have given up on the old one though and hopefully will find a much better caring relationship with this new vet. Never be afraid though to be your dogs advocate!
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    My foster dog came with a Banfield wellness contract. Her visits, shots and regular vet needs are covered under the contract. The vets and staff can't seem to hold Sheba down to take a good look in her ears. They can't put a muzzle on her because her neck is so big it just slides off. I don't feel they can get a really good evaluation on her physical condition. Hope your new vet turns out to be everything and more you wanted and Django likes everyone there too!
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @amti, I was so disgusted by a few things at Banfield I walked away from my wellness contract. As part of the "puppy" contract it included neutering, which I didn't let them do, so ended up eating the cost of that contract and finding a vet I liked better.

    Banfield was fine for my cats, who never go to a vet, but once I got Bear I realized how much they were not going to be my vet of choice now that I also had dogs. I hear some Banfields are better than others though, so I am only speaking to the one in my area I went to. They had such terrible bedside manner, they were overwhelmed with pushing dogs/people through the office that even with an appointment they were hours behind schedule, they kept wanting to push vaccines and testing to drive revenues, and turned over their staff almost every time we seemed to go there. At the end of the day, in my area, they are a high traffic, high visible vet, that only goal is to drive customers and revenues without focus on the animals first and foremost.
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    Whew! I'm glad that's over! Here's the Update. Bad infamation due to probably seasonal allergies ie hayfever. Prednisone and cephalexin have been prescribed. No drama at the vets. In fact, the guy came in and got down on the ground to meet Django. Usually they immediately want the dog up on the slippery table and he gets nervous, as most dogs would. He didn't force his way in, either, and liked my idea that I lift Django's front legs up so he could see his belly real good! Django was happy, because sometimes I do that at home to scratch his tummy, and he gets treats. He turned the lights out and shined a black light on him, too. Django was real good. He got snappy once, and we all stopped everything and let him calm down. The doc knew what was up. The only thing I wish is that the vet poked a bit, touching him more, but in this case I guess it wasn't necessary. We all wanted our first visit to be non-tramatic. And it was. I just hope it wasn't because he was afraid of Django. He gave us a real long visit, too, with lots of Q &A time. Nice. So now we hope the pills start working fast. I have to research them and see what foods will counteract any side effects, like yogurt helps me when I'm on antibiotics. Funny how different veterinarians can be.

    Oh, another cool thing. When I went to pay, I pulled out my Care Credit card. She said, you know, we are happy to take that, but you should know that after 30 days the interest goes up to like 30 percent! I had forgotten, because Care Credit started me out with a real nice interest free period, which is up. I paid cash instead. Nice people.

    Super sad when the elderly couple came in, and it was clear they were there to have their sweet little old dog euthanized. She was just sobbing. Now I am, too. Bitter sweet, love is. Don't we all love our animal companions so much!!!!!!!

    Wish Django fast healing, friends! And take good care of your animals.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I am very glad it seems this new vet seems so much better than the prior office. It sounds like the visit went well and was kept positive without undue stress. The prior office probably did you a huge favor by not wanting to have you come in and showing their hand in how they really felt!

    I hope also that this puts Django onto the road to feeling better.
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    Thanks!
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I hear you redcattoo. Since Sheba is not my dog, I take her where I am told to take her. With rescues, every little penny counts, so her wellchecks and teeth cleaning being free is a huge plus. I did turn down the Bortetella last time- she doesn't need it. I keep her away from unknown dogs and people now. The ladies at the store I go to are really very nice. But that's not really one of my requirements in finding a good vet. I'd much rather have them get along with my pet than me, although in vet school, people to people communication seems to take priority.

    Roxanne, so glad the vet visit went well and everything worked out. I always like it when a vet is willing to get to a dog's level because that table is cold and intimidating. It sounds like this vet is willing to work with you and Django and concerned more about Django's stress. So sad about the elderly couple. Makes me cry too. :(
    Post edited by amti at 2013-08-30 23:31:53
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    I think people to pet communication should be a priority in vet school, though having no experience with that, I am speaking as a pet owner only. The vet we dealt with today was mostly trying to make me feel comfortable, knowing our history, though he did well with Django too... but the vet at the other clinic, the one I am leaving, made a conscious connection with the dog first, me second. He actually was previously employed at the clinic we went to today! He's not available when I need him, and the office apparently has "red marked" Django as a difficult dog. I am reminded of a Seinfeld episode...
  • RAM25RAM25
    Posts: 317
    Gosh, we had a really similar experience recently, I wrote about it on another thread but I don't remember which one. We ended up switching vets and writing a letter of complaint. The practice did an investigation and concluded by saying our puppy is unusually aggressive (Shiba scream = aggression apparently). Our new vets has a few Shiba patients and all we do is pop a muzzle on her and give her treats before and after and she's good as gold. The vets attitude really matters, I think dogs can sense if people don't like them.
  • I absolutely love my vet. Jibo had really bad fear aggression and would flip out at even a wrong move. So I was really nervous when I took him in for vaccinations. I briefed the vet on this and when she came in she had a spoonful of beef flavored baby food ready and just sat down on the floor. She didn't make any eye contact and just let him come to her. She spend maybe half an hour just doing that before the rest of the exam. I had to hold him but he never barked at her that first visit. Over a year later and his fear aggression is 100% gone. (We worked very hard at training him) and now at the vet he greets her while wagging his tail and even jumps up on her for treats (we figured that seeking attention from strangers was so rare any kind of jumping up for pets was progress so we didn't discipline him not to. That is the next thing we're working on now). He even got jealous of my other dog while she was examining him and nosed in for attention. The vet was so happy she hugged me saying that he is amazing and was so excited he was doing so well.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Wow!!! I would love to meet your vet sarahzilla!!!
  • @sarahzilla Isn't that wonderful! The new vet we visited on Friday also got down on the ground to meet Django, but I had to give him treats to offer. Django never approached him except to quickly take a treat. I figure I might take him a few more times just to spend a few minutes with the guy, get some treats, and become familiarized with the place, and that might help. He told me he was familiar with Shibas, and I appreciated all the time he gave us. It wasn't as positive as your visit though! @RAM25 I wonder why they were so put off by the scream? I hear other dogs making loud noises at the vet's! And it's not like they are viscous! Even if they were, there has to be a way to care for them. I feel bad for folks that have dogs that are considered viscous breeds, like pitbuls for instance. My local vet (who I won't go to) won't even see them!!! That's not going to help their socialization very much.

    BTW Django is already starting to feel better. Still has the rash but not as bad, and he's walking around more. Still prefers to curl up in a ball in his kennel though. The vet was concerned about his coat. He's blowing it, which always looks frightful, but around his neck he's got bare areas... We'll have to watch that. His coat sure is rough. I shouldn't have given him that bath a few weeks ago. It stripped his protective oils I think. I forgot I had given him one just two weeks earlier, too. He has just been so dirty this summer... lying in freshly dug dirt to be cool and gnat-free.

    Thanks for all the feedback and support!
  • My vet is in Colorado... so if any one wants their info just let me know :) @roxanne, it sounds like you found a good one there. I'm sure it will just take some time :)
  • Django's even better now, but he keeps peeing in the house. The vet said the medication may do this, because he drinks so much water at one time, and is sleeping so hard, he doesn't realize he has to pee until it's too late. But he is walking around, doesn't sit down all the time, and his rash is all but gone. We are tapering him off the meds as per doc's orders.
    Now I just have to write a letter...

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