Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part I)

Recently I published Angry Vet's post about a bad experience with an emergency vet. The story was very close to home, as we had our own emergency vet horror. In fact, if we went with their conclusions, Jasmine wouldn't have been alive today.

It was almost four years ago and, fortunately, we decided to get a second opinion.

I was thinking about it today again, as hubby is away teaching and Jasmine wasn't feeling well tonight. Her belly was upset, which does happen from time to time. However, she also had a bit of a fever and that scares the pants of me—you'll see why when you read on.

What if the fever didn't resolve or got worse?

We have great hesitations about taking Jasmine to the emergency, hubby no less than myself. I always say there would most definitely be somebody else now, somebody good this time. I so hope I'm right about that.

Our emergency vet horror happened when Jasmine was recovering from her knee surgeries

Her legs were doing well, she had the bounce back in her step, she could run and jump and was enjoying her time outside.

At that time, her episodes kept getting worse, though.

She could go for two days straight, couple times a week. The hypothesis of choice then was her heart or her lungs. It was decided that we shall do more x-rays to confirm or exclude that idea.

We booked an appointment for early morning Friday. Hubby had a day off and the plan was to swing by the vets, get the x-rays done, and continue to the horse farm for the day.

But that couldn't have been further from how this actually played out.

When Jasmine was waking up from anesthesia, she seemed uncomfortable. Could it be that it was already a prelude of things to come? Of course, nobody could have known that then. It was assumed that she was in pain from having her neck manipulated to get the images, and so they gave her a shot of Buprenorphine.

And then whole hell broke loose.

In no time, Jasmine spiked a fever of 42.5ºC (108.5 ºF)! The only assumption was that the buprenorphine was behind that. She was given injections of naloxone to counter the drug and alcohol rub downs. It took hours to get her temperature back down.

It was the day we almost killed our dog!

And we were just trying to diagnose her! Nobody could have expected that. Buprenorphine is known to RARELY cause hyperthermia in cats, no such case has been reported in a dog.

By the end of the day she seemed exhausted but stable. With the best of intentions, she was sent home. Was that a mistake? In retrospective, clearly so. But the idea was that she may recover better in her own environment.

She looked like a train wreck but seemed comfortable enough. 

She went to have a drink once, walking like a drunken sailor. Very unstable, having a hard time with it, but with her usual determination. I was trying to provide some support with a towel but hubby felt that I should let her have some dignity and let her do it on her own. Well, she fell. With dignity.

After that, she tried to get up couple times but thought better of it. That night we all slept with her on the kitchen floor. Well, I didn't sleep ...

We were told she should be better by morning.

The morning came but she was not better. She really struggled getting up and needed help. With extreme difficulty, but nonetheless, she made her way into the yard to go potty. As if all that wasn't bad enough, her pee was brown!

Time was wasting.

We called the emergency vet ahead of time, while I was printing out Jasmine's records. They wanted a urine sample but she didn't want to go pee again and we didn't want to torture her, standing was very exhausting for her.

Off to the emergency we were.

Related articles:
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part II)
OK, I Am A Sucker: We're Going Through With The SLIT 
Jasmine's Episodes: Back To The Allergies Dilemma 
This Is What Jasmine's Episode Looks Like
Gotta Try Everything Once (Or Twice): On The Quest To Figure Out Jasmine's Episodes 
Thundershirt vs. Jasmine's Episodes
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Another Experience With VetLiveThe Diagnosis Is In: Jasmine Has An Interdigital Cyst
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Interdigital Cyst Update  
Is Crawling Under Things Some Kind Of Secret Physical Therapy?  
Is There No Place Safe? Jasmine's Acupuncture Session
Senior Sensory Systems Function: Zero Defects  
It Looks Like A Keeper: Jasmine's New Integrative Vet 
Jasmine's Acute Lameness
Jasmine Doesn't Like "Doing Time"
Our Of Jail Free Pass
When It's Looks Too Good To Be True … The Lameness Returns
The Day Of The Treatment
First Time For Everything: A Healing Crisis(?)  
From Zero To Sixty In Four Days: Stem Cells At Work
The Calm After The Storm 
If It Was Easy, It Wouldn't Be Jasmine
Practicing What I Preach: Jasmine's Semi Annual Wellness Exam  
No Skimping On Oral Care   

Meet Jasmine
I'm Still Standing! (Happy Birthday, Jasmine)
How Dogs Think (Well, Jasmine Anyway)
How The Oddysey Started: Jasmine's ACL Injury
Jasmine is Vet-Stem's poster child!
Rant About Quality Of Life Versus Quantity, And Differential Diagnoses
Jasmine Is Headed For Her Next Stem Cell Treatment
Jasmine's Stem Cells Are In
Arthritis? What Arthritis? 
Guess Who Is An Ever-Ready Bunny And Really Liking The Bit Of Snow We Got? 
Don't Knock It Until You Tried It: Animal Chiropractic 
Jasmine's Fur Analysis
Back At Chiropractic Care


  1. I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna like the second part of this story ;-) We, too, had a horrible emergency vet experience. So bad that we have our current vet's home phone number and, yes, he's even come to the house for us.

    1. You too? I'm not liking that rather than an anomaly it seems to be a pattern ...

      I would love it very much if you shared your story here; would you be up to it?

    2. Just tweeted you, Jana. I've talked to too many dog-friends who've had bad experiences with emergency vets to think they are anomolies. Unfortunately. Just made a note to put my story(ies) on paper for you! Thanks!

  2. Whoa, I never saw a dog have an adverse reaction to Bup like that before, wobbly and out of it for a bit, yes, but not spike such a dangerously high fever.
    I've heard many horror stories about emergency vet trips before, but also many good ones. I want to say I can't wait to hear the rest of this story but I'm scared:)

    1. Hi Jen, you and everybody else ... but it was concluded and confirmed at the ovc that that's what it must have been. I believe something else must have been in play as well, but that's just a guess. Something else being whatever's behind the episodes or whatever was found later (this is to come in next part)

  3. Oh geez... I am already getting nervous to read the second part! I'm glad I know that ultimately Jasmine made it out okay!

    1. Yes, the main thing is that she made it through all that.