Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part II)

Continued from Part I

With Jasmine unable to get up on her own, barely making it out to potty, peeing brown, there we were, on our way to the emergency.


And all that from trying to diagnose her episodes...

How could this be happening? Could whatever was causing her episodes have something to do with all this?

That was the emergency vet's question also.

They wanted to know why was Jasmine in for the x-rays in the first place.

They were expecting us and when we arrived they came out with a cart to load Jasmine on.

They checked her out and asked about what preceded the situation. Jasmine's temperature at this time was actually below normal, so was her heart rate. There was bruising on her tongue, which we did notice, and more bruising on her abdomen, which we were unaware off.

They took her in the back for testing. They gave her IV fluids, tested her blood, took some x-rays, and whatever else they did back there.

When they returned, they presented us with x-rays and horrible news.

They told us that either her liver or kidneys were failing, and her platelets were tanked (thus all the bruising everywhere).

The biggest bomb was when they showed us on the x-rays what they believed was intestinal perforation.

Basically, they told us that Jasmine was finished.

There we were, shaking in shock. This cannot be!

They asked us whether we wanted to put Jasmine down or get a second opinion at the teaching hospital.

Last thing we wanted was to prolong Jasmine's suffering.


If she was finished anyway, wouldn't euthanasia be the humane thing to do? But where the heck would the intestinal perforation come from? None of what was happening made any sense.

We decided, that before ending Jasmine's life, we wanted a second opinion. Got the referral papers, and left for the teaching hospital.

That was a decision that saved Jasmine's life!

As we arrived to the teaching hospital, they too took her in the back for their own testing (And yes, we got to pay for everything twice). After what seemed like eternity, they came out with their verdict.

Jasmine's kidneys were fine, her liver shot but not beyond repair.

There was no intestinal perforation!

Instead, she had a large abscess in her abdomen. They would need to operate as soon as possible, but would have to wait for the platelets to get up to safe levels. They explained all that would need to be done to treat Jasmine and gave an estimate.

All we wanted to know, if we did all that, was she going to be ok.

They said that if everything went right she should fully recover. And even though it was a very rough journey for her, she did!

This was four years ago. Four years Jasmine almost didn't get to have!

Had we accepted the emergency vet's diagnosis and prognosis, Jasmine would have not been here today.

I don't know what the emergency vet was seeing, but they were seeing wrong. And it almost cost Jasmine her life.

PS: Another thing I had a hard time getting over was a note on the emergency vet's file which I got to see after Jasmine's vet uploaded it to her online medical records: "Owner insists that if you get Jasmine in standing position she will be able to hold herself up."

OK, I get it that one cannot trust everything the owners say, but to assume we're so dimwitted that we couldn't tell the difference between a walking (even though with extreme difficulties) and non-walking dog? Truly?

We had the same difficulties trying to be heard at the teaching hospital that prior to the incident Jasmine was walking perfectly fine. Once they saw bi-lateral cruciate surgery, they were convinced that was why Jasmine wasn't walking the entire week she was hospitalized, even when we had Jasmine's main vet telling them otherwise. We were very concerned that her mobility was not improving but they wouldn't pay attention to it because they had made up their minds about the cause.

***

Related articles:

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 
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part I) 

***
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

12 comments

  1. Oh, Whew! What a turnaround! I am glad that through the flood of emotion, you were able to get some clarity and be willing to wait for a second opinion. I hope everything DOES turn out ok in the end.

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    1. Thank you, Jessica, yes, everything worked out great at the end.

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  2. I've been waiting for Part 2! Wow! an abscess mistaken for a perforation, did the vet think he was seeing fluid in the abdomen when in reality it was an abscess, I wonder? Regardless, I am so glad you went to get a second opinion. It's hard under those circumstances to have a clear mind.
    Did you ever find out what caused the abscess?

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    1. Well, not that we had clear minds ... but we just couldn't believe it. And we couldn't just give up on Jasmine so easily.

      The emergency vet saw SOMETHING on the x-ray... I don't have experience reading x-rays, but I'd figure an abscess is quite a regular shape with clear borders, while intestinal spillage would be kind of "random" in appearance (kind of a difference between a intact egg and an egg that dropped and spilled) but that's just me. Back then we had no idea what they were showing us.

      The abscess was size of an egg ... The ironic thing is that the hyperthermia disaster likely saved Jasmine's life - without it we'd never know about the abscess, and if it ruptured ... at the teaching hospital they were in a big hurry to get it out as soon as Jasmine's platelets allowed, it was a race against time.

      It was determined that the abscess had formed at the incision from Jasmine's earlier exploratory abdominal surgery ...

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    2. Wow. Amazing story. Your right about the abscess having clearer borders, I was trying to picture it in my mind. I'm not the best at reading x-rays either and I am always asking the vet to explain to me what they are seeing, I need to train my eyes better.

      So glad that this horror story had a great ending!

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  3. Oh, man. I'm overwhelmed with frustration just reading this. Thank God you got the second opinion.

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    1. No kidding ... I just still can't believe how quick they were to give out a death sentence ...

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  4. Hey Jana,

    My somewhat similar issue was that the specialists wanted to put my beloved Rottie, Kara, down but my wonderful vet said No!

    Here is what happened ... Kara was 14 1/2 and having undergone emergency surgery for GDV at the age of 13 1/2, was not in the healthiest of conditions. She had some health issues - what dog wouldn't at that age and after undergoing major emergency surgery at an advanced age.

    One day it was stinking hot and she was lying on her side not moving much for a few hours. Then it looked as if she had a fit of some type, and released some urine while still lying down.

    My vet was just closing, so told me to take Kara to the specialist animal hospital where she would probably have been transferred anyway. I did so.

    They treated her for a couple of days - $3,000 worth, and then told me she wasn't going to make it and to keep her alive would be cruel.

    This was despite the fact that I believed she had improved a fair bit! I called my vet and told her my concerns. She drove far out of her way on her way home from work that evening to take a look at Kara for me. She agreed with me 100% and told the so-called "specialists" that they had it all wrong.

    I took Kara home a day or 2 later, and she lived for another 5 months. She made it through her 15th birthday, and even though she wasn't in the best of health in her last weeks, she hung on and on as she clearly did not want to leave me.

    She cost me over $10,000 in her last 18 months, and it was worth every penny to keep her with us for that period.

    The moral of the story is - trust your OWN instincts about your own dog - they are probably right!

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Brigitte. Wow, 15 years is such a blessed age for a Rottie. Sorry you had to go through such an ordeal. Glad it all worked out for Kara. Yes, one must trust their instinct.

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  5. you know this crap really upsets me. I would never go to emergency clinic unless it was absolutely positivley necessary. LUckily I know better because of being a vettech but I have gone in with friends acting "dumb", let them try to bullshit me, then let them know that I know.....it really pisses them off.

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    1. I too am a vet technician and the stories you guys posted horrifies me. I guess the best answer is to ALWAYS get a second opinion, and a third if needed..most important, if you find a good veterinarian stick with him/her. When animals are sick it is like playing a guessing game, based on the dogs symptoms doctors tend to rule out certain conditions to get to the bottom of what is going on, it is the only way to properly diagnose them...if only they could speak and let us know what is wrong. My dog is in her 7th week recovering from ACL surgery and thankfully she is doing wonderful, her surgeon was wonderful and she didn't have any complications . I did a lot of research and saw many doctors before I chose the one I did to perform her surgery. The shame of it is, are those times your regular vet is unavailable and the emergency hospital is the only option. My advice to all..know your dog, trust your gut instinct, do research and find a good doctor, and always get a second or third opinion.

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    2. Yes, a good veterinarian is worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, visit to the ER is sometimes necessary. I agree that sometimes one needs to get as many opinions as it takes to get the right answers. I'm sure that most ER staff are awesome and competent. But horror stories do happen.

      Where we live we are fortunate that our hospital has their own on-call vet for emergencies so there is some continuity. Even though we selected one particular vet from the hospital who we regard as a "family vet" and who we prefer seeing for everything.

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