Friday, January 30, 2009

Deep breath

Warning, the following post contains opinions that will probably get people mad at me. I don't care.

I have discovered one over-riding theme about people during the last 10 years. During the last 10 years I have started working at a vet clinic as an assistant, gotten into vet school, graduated vet school and have been practicing for almost two years now. And this keeps coming up over and over and over again.

People, as a general rule/category, are stupid. S-T-U-P-I-D stupid. Dumb as a box of rocks, nutty, three bricks short of a load, and otherwise crazy stupid.

Case in point.

I saw a little puppy about a month ago. This puppy, through the neglect/carelessness of the owner's children, had a fracture of the lateral condyle of the humerus. This is NOT something that can be splinted and heal well. This requires surgical fixation to have ANY chance of being a functional joint for the life of the dog. So I strongly stress this point to the owners. They (reluctantly) took the dog to have the surgery done. This is NOT a cheap surgery. I saw the dog yesterday for staple removal.

My technician and myself cut off a bandage that was obviously applied by the owners (real vets do not use Popsicle sticks as a splint) and discovered that they had applied it way too tight. There was a LACERATION to the inside of the humerus where the bandage was too tight. It was infected and draining. AND the surgical site was draining and open. With a pin sticking out. Come to find out the owners had NOT given the post op pain medications and antibiotics as instructed (you should NOT have antibiotics "left over" three weeks after surgery). Also, since there was drainage from the surgery site with a pin visible I'm pretty sure the repair was infected and possibly failed. And he couldn't bend the elbow since they had bandaged him in the improper position.

I sent them back to the specialty clinic for a recheck. I'm pretty sure these people flushed thousands of dollars down the toilet because they were too cheap to come to us for bandage changes and checks as instructed by the specialty clinic.

Surgery to fix a fractured lateral condyle? $2000+

Cost they saved by changing the bandage themselves for three weeks? $20-80

Expression on their faces when I told them they'd have to go back to the specialty clinic and get radiographs and possibly another surgery? Priceless



Anonymous said...

Well, people can just get over it if they don't like your opinion - you're only telling it like it is. I used to work for my veterinarian, and I don't know how she's kept herself from lunging across the exam table and strangling some deserving SOB for what they did/allowed to happen to their pet, for all these years!

Some people should NOT be allowed to be anywhere near animals, much less own them!

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Sad but true. In a way, it might have been easier for them to admit they were not prepared to pay so much and have the puppy euthanised... which hurts us just as much but not the puppy! Suspect this will happen a lot - both options, in this financial climate.

As a new vet I felt very upset when I saw any possible neglect or mistreatment of animals. Then I had children, and my animals assumed a different perspective in my life, which made me able to understand clients motives and attitudes a little better. I developed empathy and allowed patients greater choices to suit their needs as well as the pets, without blame. Once,
I had cash-strapped clients with a dog with a fracture - it was going to be expensive, but they wanted to treat it with surgery. Their children were raggedly dressed, snotty nosed, and obviously the money was potentially better being spent somewhere other than the dog!! As I tried to talk them out of surgery, they both fawned over the dog, while telling the kids off all the time in a very abusive way. I forget the outcome for the dog - but I will never forget worrying about those kids and how spending the money on the dog might affect them. It was a paradigm moment for me about how my attitudes had changed!

Mel said...

I've worked technical support for a long time, worked retail, and currently volunteer at the SPCA. Humans, in general, are stupid and ignorant.

People bring in dogs and cats that are 12+ years old and expect us to find them a good home. Trust me, even people who want a shelter animal don't want a 'new' pet who may only live 6 months.

Helen said...

Oh I know people are so silly. I have had animals all my life dogs and cats. According to my vet I am an extremely experienced owner, his words. I get annoyed when you meet people like this, with limited animal experience and they try to give you advice so irritating.

How can anyone give a 12 year old animal away. A elderly family friend left me her 12 year old cat in her Will when she died. Mimi is gorgeous and has fitted amazing with my 3 cats, doberman and german shepherd,

Anonymous said...

One time, we had a human orthopedic surgeon whose dog fractured his femur - after 4 weeks, the surgeon TOOK THE CAST OFF at home by himself, because, in his words, "well, he was running on the leg, so it must have healed."

Of course, the leg promptly re-fractured and back to the emergency hospital they went.

Then, there was also the physician that fed his dog Aleve for three weeks for arthritis...and was then shocked at the bill for hospitalization and treatment for liver failure

Jo said...

Oh Frogs do not get me started please do not get me started.

Too late.

I can deal with the stupid things people do to themselves, but it enrages me no end when they do the same things to animals.

Right now I'm dealing with a co-irker who has just gotten a puppy. The woman can't even afford to feed herself and her kids, and she knows *nothing* about dogs--didn't even know that females went into heat, for Frog's sake!--and has a puppy.

That's a half Rottweiler, half Pit Bull mix. Two very sweet, very headstrong, very smart dogs, mixed in one. And gotten by a woman who did not know what the words "spay" and "neuter" meant.

*burying head in hands*

I am so very thankful that my big furry Maxzoats ended up with me.

Tayaki said...

that poor puppy. people have basically expressed what i would have said, so i guess i'll end it here.

Mrs. Dreamer said...

I agree with you. People are generally stupid. I'm fortunate that I live in wealthy well-educated area, so I see a lot less of the animal stupidity then I did growing up.

However, I still see people in the newspaper giving away their teenage dogs they've had since they were puppies. That really breaks my heart, especially since most landlords in our area allow dogs of all sizes. I think if a family can't manage an older anymore for whatever reason, they should consider euthanasia, I think it would be a lot less cruel. But again, the people are being selfish, thinking of themselves and how it would hurt their feelings to put their pet down.

Life in vet school said...


One of the things I like about veterinary medicine is people -- I like talking to them, I like finding out about their animals from them, I like teaching them how to take better care of their animals. And one of the things I HATE about veterinary medicine is people! There've been times when I was working as a tech that I had to bite my lip and walk out of the room to take a whole bunch of deep breaths before I could go back in and be civil.

I've been kind of hoping that as a specialist, I'd have weeded out the worst clients, because at least the ones I saw would care enough about their pet to see a specialist (most of the time). But I guess that doesn't weed out the idiots......

Anonymous said...

In my limited experience (almost 2 years) of practice I can tell you nurses (RNs) are the absolute worst clients to have. Whenever I see RN on the occupation in the client info form I shudder.

Anonymous said...

I'm a human doc, hubby is a cop. "People are stupid" is a mantra in our house.

BTW, I know NOTHING about dogs and don't pretend I do. Granted, I probably could understand better than average when the vet was talking about the differential diagnosis when my pup was puking--some possibilities the same as humans (pancreatitis), some not likely (foreign bodies--wow you guys can tell a lot more on plain abdominal films than we do).

You all impress me to now end. We deal with different ages, you deal with different SPECIES. I realized how much better you guys and gals are when my favorite vet took a needle and syringe and drew blood from my teeny, tiny, very furry kitten's paw without a bit of trouble. I can't remember the last time I personally had to draw someone's blood.

You guys are the best!

Homeless Parrot said...

all i can say is A-FUCKING-MEN. this past weekend is proof of that.

i had a dog come in that drank antifreeze (as you saw on my blog). owners didn't have $$ enough for $1700 worth of 4MP, so we treated with pure grain alcohol. but before this - they accused me of "killing their dog" because i was withholding the antidote. I KILLED THEIR DOG.

keep mind, this dog had already been diagnosed and treated for heartworms and had also BEEN SHOT because he was free-roaming...but it was MY FUCKING FAULT THAT THEIR DOG DRANK ANTIFREEZE.

i hate people someetimes. really really hate them.

**ps: excuse the profanity.

Homeless Parrot said...

yeah -guess what? i had ANOTHER antifreeze dog last night. third one this week. i kid you not. this one didn't call me a dog killer - but that's only because we were 20 hours post-ingestion = BAD NEWS. i've treated 2 successfully so far. i've lost far more than that.