ASK-THE-VET: MINI POM WITH A VERY BAD TUMMY

Pomeranian 3Question: My dog is on science diet ID, I want her off! Her breath smells awful on this food! She weighs 6 lbs. And is a mini pom with a very bad tummy. She gets the poo’s very easy! She only likes can food. I would like her to eat some dry but can’t get her to. She was very abused so I want the best for her any advice? The Vet keeps pushing the ID.

Answer: Thanks for your question. If you are not thrilled with the i/d diet, my suggestion would be to speak to your vet about the characteristics of the diet he wants your dog on.

Dogs prone to digestive disturbances can often do very well on a natural diet that contains a highly digestible protein source, are low to moderate in fat content, and have added fiber (a blend of both soluble and insoluble).

Natural diets that contain no artificial preservatives or dyes can help minimize adverse reactions. A high quality probiotic is often very helpful at maintaining gastrointestinal health as well.

Hope this information helps.
Dr. Donna Spector

Answers provided to pet owners by Dr. Donna Spector should be considered information and not specific advice. Answers are to be used for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for in-person evaluation or specific professional advice from your veterinarian. Communications on this site are very limited and should never be used in possible cases of emergency.

Halo, Purely for Pets will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any information or content contained in a blog or article post. If you have consulted your veterinarian and if you are still concerned about your pet’s condition or if your pet has chronic, complicated or undiagnosed problems, Dr. Spector can offer consultations for you and your veterinarian via www.SpectorDVM.com.

Halo

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Pet Powder

Open for info* (watch in 720p HD) This is a healthy pet recipe to add as a supplement to your pets food. In my case, our English bulldog, Rusty, has skin is…
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Posted in Pet Care Media | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Wordless Wednesday

 siggy


LoveMy2Dogs

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Types of Cancer in Dogs

Cancer is one of the primary killers among all breeds of dogs but some breeds are more susceptible than others to certain types of cancer. Cancer can occur at any time in a dog’s life but it usually doesn’t rear its ugly head until a dog grows older. Treating dogs with cancer can be difficult for a veterinarian because the correct diagnosis can be challenging with the large number of different types of cancer that affect dogs.

Canine cancer can easily spread through a dog’s body, meaning that early detection and treatment is of paramount importance to a pet’s health and longevity.

One of the more common types of cancer found in most dog breeds is oral cancer. These cancers can be identified by the gradual, or sometimes sudden growth of tumors in a dog’s mouth. If these growths are cancerous and malignant, the dog may suffer considerably before any outward symptoms are seen. Even when the growths are benign rather than malignant, they can still be dangerous or deadly to a dog.

Liver cancer is the most common cancer affecting the major organs in the body. Tumors of the liver can develop quite suddenly, but usually take months or even years to fully develop. It’s very possible that a dog may be suffering from liver cancer for quite some time until the tumor becomes large enough that it begins to cause symptoms that indicate the presence of a cancerous growth in a dog’s body.

Bladder cancer is one of the leading forms of cancer in many dogs. Like other kinds of urinary tract diseases, bladder cancer can develop without the owner realizing it, and when it reaches a certain stage of growth it can have very painful consequences for a dog. This form of cancer is one of the most difficult ones to treat, partially because surgical removal of the infected tissue is difficult or even impossible.

Bone cancer is more commonly found in larger dog breeds who tend to have a higher rate of bone cancer and at an earlier age than smaller breeds. It is believed that the reason for this statistic is that the bones of larger breeds are growing and reproducing much more quickly than the bone cells of smaller dogs, allowing mutations to develop which can result in cancer.

A responsible pet owner will want to watch their pet for the ten early warning signs of cancer in a dog:

* Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
* Sores that won’t heal
* Weight loss
* Loss of appetite
* Bleeding or discharge from any opening of the body
* Offensive odor
* Difficulty when eating or swallowing
* Reluctance to exercise or loss of stamina
* Persistent lameness or stiffness
* Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

It also helps to be aware of known and suspected cancer causing agents which include:

• herbicides
• insecticides
• second-hand smoke
• radiation exposure
• certain viruses
•chemical additives and preservatives in food

No one wants to lose a pet to cancer. When the unthinkable does happen it can be as devastating as losing a member of the family to cancer. Learn to watch for the early warning signs and keep your dog away from all known cancer causing agents.

Share and Enjoy:

Digg
del.icio.us
Facebook
Reddit
StumbleUpon
Twitter
Technorati
MySpace
FriendFeed
Google Bookmarks




Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Farmers, greenies furious at Santos

Farmers, greenies furious at Santos
Farmers, greenies furious at Santos. Yahoo!7 March 24, 2014, 7:07 pm. For 60 years south Australian energy giant Santos has been trying to carve out a solid corporate reputation. Michelle Vella reports.
Read more on Yahoo!7 News

Are We Halfway to Market Dominance for Solar?
In just a decade, solar power has gone from being a fringe technology for greenies to an almost-mainstream source of power, due to its increasing cost-effectiveness in many countries around the world. This is a remarkable evolution and demonstrates
Read more on Greentech Media

Greg Plaisance strikes out six as Newman defeats Haynes
The Greenies made sure that didn't happen. Newman got into offensive rhythms in both the third and fifth innings and received a stellar pitching performance from Greg Plaisance to fly past Haynes, 9-2. "Today we played a good game," said Newman Coach …
Read more on The Times-Picayune

Posted in Pet Care Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping Your Golden Retriever Healthy


Once you have helped your Golden Retriever build up his immune system, he will be healthy and strong enough to fend off any type of illness. There are ways that you can help your Golden with his immune system, which is more or less what you feed him. If you care about your Golden Retriever and want to help him develop a strong immune system – you’ll find this information very helpful.

When you feed your Golden, give him some homemade food. You can substitute this for canned food, or mix it in together. Homemade food tastes a lot better to your dog, and it contains a lot of the nutrients and vitamins he needs. When you give him water, give him spring water. Although many prefer to give their Golden water from the faucet, spring water is actually a lot better for him than any other type of water.

When you give him a treat or a bone, you should always give him raw bones with plenty of meat on the bone, as they will help him to develop a strong set of white teeth. Teeth are very important with Golden Retrievers, which is why you want to make sure that his teeth stay strong and healthy. If you give him a bone a day, he will have plenty to chew on to keep his teeth healthy. You can also use chew toys as well, especially when you are playing with him, as they will help him to develop strength in his jaws.

You can also help to keep your Golden Retriever healthy by knowing a bit about health problems that he could have. This way, you’ll able to keep track of what your vet diagnoses. If your vet tells you something that is wrong with your Golden, you should know a little bit about what he tells you, and how you can help to take care of the problem.

To help your Golden Retriever avoid any type of reproductive problems, you should look into having a male neutered. Reproductive problems are common with Golden’s, and can lead to more serious problems if you don’t do something about it. If you aren’t planning to breed your Golden Retriever, you should have him neutered as soon as you can, to help prevent any type of reproductive problems.

If you take care of your dog and keep him healthy, he will live a lot longer. You should always strive to keep your dog healthy, so he can live a pain free life. As long as you feed him a proper diet and let him get plenty of exercise, he will stay strong and healthy. Golden Retrievers that grow to be strong and healthy make great pets, as they can join you in exercise and provide plenty of fun for your entire family.
Welcome to The Top Dog Blog!

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Jan 3, Digestibility of gel caps for fish oil liquids

I give my dog several supplements and sometimes meds from the vet. I wonder if the capsules or sometimes gel cap for liquids like fish oils dissolve in
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Dental Treat images

A few nice dental treat images I found:

011
dental treat

Image by US Army Africa
LILONGWE, Malawi – Col. Sheldon “Shel” Omi, dental officer in charge of MEDREACH 11 and commander of the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, from Denver, Colo. connects with the children of Malawi.

LILONGWE, Malawi – A busy road. A packed red clay path. School children commuting. Three Airmen helping. This describes an unlikely meeting between three Airmen of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron and Malawian citizens at the Partners in Hope Medical Centre, nearly 30 minutes from the bustling Lilongwe city center. Together, the Airmen impacted the lives of many Malawian citizens by providing much needed dental treatment.
The Airmen debated over whether or not to cross the road out of concern for causing the children to be late for school, but ultimately decided the opportunity was too good to pass up.
According to Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery, of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Montgomery, Ala., there seemed to be a mutual curiosity between both the Airmen and the children.
“When we crossed the road it was just amazing how they approached us and wanted to be right up on us and to have their picture taken,” said Master Sgt. Teresa J. Morgan, a dental non-commissioned officer in charge of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron.
“All the kids came and wanted to be a part of what was happening. They were so happy,” said Col. Sheldon “Shel” Omi, commander of the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron. “It was just amazing because all of us were like magnets. A lot of them just wanted to shake my hand. It was so much fun.”
According to Omi, of Denver, Colo., it was the smiles and laughter from the bustling group Malawian of children that made him smile. Impacted by the reaction of the schoolchildren, he and his teammates crossed the road determined to bring smiles to the lives of others as well.
The Airmen are visiting Malawi as part of a joint humanitarian medical exercise called MEDREACH 11. Taking time out of their already hectic exercise schedules, the team carved out a few hours to help patients at the clinic.
Walking into the clinic lobby, the Airmen were greeted with the songs sung by a mostly Malawian medical staff. Drawn to the gathering, they listened in on a brief meeting led by Partners in Hope Director Dr. Perry Jansen, who says that while funding for his clinic is important, the connection between volunteers and patients is key.
“I think for many Malawians there is not a face or an experience to strengthen the existing connection through the funds received,” said Jansen. “Money is great, but I think that sending people and having people actually meet with Malawians is a great idea. It personalizes the impact that America has in Malawi to individual experiences and I am sure that people will tell of those experiences. I think it’s a very welcomed thing.”
Partners in Hope Medical Centre is a multi-faceted clinic that provides X-ray, ultrasound, laboratory, physical therapy, and dentistry. There is also a HIV clinic that provides medical and dental support patients suffering from HIV at no charge and a private clinic that offers anything except surgery and trauma care at a small fee.
For many Malawians, the ability to see a dentist could mean the difference between living a functional life and being debilitated by constant pain. For the staff at Partners in Hope, Omi and his dental technicians arrived just at the right time.
“If someone has a bad tooth or an infected tooth it could affect their jaw and affect their whole well-being,” said Omi. “They wouldn’t be able to chew, some people can’t sleep at night, and some people can’t go to work because they have a bad tooth. It can really affect their lives.”
While a large part of the treatments focused on cleanings, fillings, and extractions, each patient received an individual assessment from the dental staff to determine the best course of action. Led by Dr. Themba Nyrienda, Omi and his team aimed to care for and help as many people as possible.
“I had a problem with my teeth and one of them had become damaged,” said Dorcus Mnthambala, a local Malawian citizen. “The doctor saved my one tooth and then was able to clean the rest of them. I am happy, so happy.”
The marked appreciation expressed by the patients continually motivated the Air Force providers to do their very best. Thanks to the efforts of the Airmen, Nyrienda said Partners in Hope had never treated that many people in one day.
Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery of Columbus, Ga. wondered if one of her patients was mad because of the dental procedure, but instead was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a smile.
“One of the patients I had said she was not mad. She was happy,” said Montgomery. “We did something. We actually helped somebody.”
The Airmen walked away at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment. They represented their fellow Americans well, but more importantly they touched the lives of Malawians and brought smiles to their faces.
“I think this will have a lasting impact on the people’s hearts toward what America is and who we are as Americans.” said Jansen.

015
dental treat

Image by US Army Africa
LILONGWE, Malawi – Col. Sheldon “Shel” Omi, dental officer in charge of MEDREACH 11 and commander of the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, from Denver, Colo., and Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery, of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, from Columbus, Ga. meet with children who are on their way to school before entering the Partners in Hope Medical Centre.

LILONGWE, Malawi – A busy road. A packed red clay path. School children commuting. Three Airmen helping. This describes an unlikely meeting between three Airmen of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron and Malawian citizens at the Partners in Hope Medical Centre, nearly 30 minutes from the bustling Lilongwe city center. Together, the Airmen impacted the lives of many Malawian citizens by providing much needed dental treatment.
The Airmen debated over whether or not to cross the road out of concern for causing the children to be late for school, but ultimately decided the opportunity was too good to pass up.
According to Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery, of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Montgomery, Ala., there seemed to be a mutual curiosity between both the Airmen and the children.
“When we crossed the road it was just amazing how they approached us and wanted to be right up on us and to have their picture taken,” said Master Sgt. Teresa J. Morgan, a dental non-commissioned officer in charge of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron.
“All the kids came and wanted to be a part of what was happening. They were so happy,” said Col. Sheldon “Shel” Omi, commander of the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron. “It was just amazing because all of us were like magnets. A lot of them just wanted to shake my hand. It was so much fun.”
According to Omi, of Denver, Colo., it was the smiles and laughter from the bustling group Malawian of children that made him smile. Impacted by the reaction of the schoolchildren, he and his teammates crossed the road determined to bring smiles to the lives of others as well.
The Airmen are visiting Malawi as part of a joint humanitarian medical exercise called MEDREACH 11. Taking time out of their already hectic exercise schedules, the team carved out a few hours to help patients at the clinic.
Walking into the clinic lobby, the Airmen were greeted with the songs sung by a mostly Malawian medical staff. Drawn to the gathering, they listened in on a brief meeting led by Partners in Hope Director Dr. Perry Jansen, who says that while funding for his clinic is important, the connection between volunteers and patients is key.
“I think for many Malawians there is not a face or an experience to strengthen the existing connection through the funds received,” said Jansen. “Money is great, but I think that sending people and having people actually meet with Malawians is a great idea. It personalizes the impact that America has in Malawi to individual experiences and I am sure that people will tell of those experiences. I think it’s a very welcomed thing.”
Partners in Hope Medical Centre is a multi-faceted clinic that provides X-ray, ultrasound, laboratory, physical therapy, and dentistry. There is also a HIV clinic that provides medical and dental support patients suffering from HIV at no charge and a private clinic that offers anything except surgery and trauma care at a small fee.
For many Malawians, the ability to see a dentist could mean the difference between living a functional life and being debilitated by constant pain. For the staff at Partners in Hope, Omi and his dental technicians arrived just at the right time.
“If someone has a bad tooth or an infected tooth it could affect their jaw and affect their whole well-being,” said Omi. “They wouldn’t be able to chew, some people can’t sleep at night, and some people can’t go to work because they have a bad tooth. It can really affect their lives.”
While a large part of the treatments focused on cleanings, fillings, and extractions, each patient received an individual assessment from the dental staff to determine the best course of action. Led by Dr. Themba Nyrienda, Omi and his team aimed to care for and help as many people as possible.
“I had a problem with my teeth and one of them had become damaged,” said Dorcus Mnthambala, a local Malawian citizen. “The doctor saved my one tooth and then was able to clean the rest of them. I am happy, so happy.”
The marked appreciation expressed by the patients continually motivated the Air Force providers to do their very best. Thanks to the efforts of the Airmen, Nyrienda said Partners in Hope had never treated that many people in one day.
Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery of Columbus, Ga. wondered if one of her patients was mad because of the dental procedure, but instead was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a smile.
“One of the patients I had said she was not mad. She was happy,” said Montgomery. “We did something. We actually helped somebody.”
The Airmen walked away at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment. They represented their fellow Americans well, but more importantly they touched the lives of Malawians and brought smiles to their faces.
“I think this will have a lasting impact on the people’s hearts toward what America is and who we are as Americans.” said Jansen.

019
dental treat

Image by US Army Africa
LILONGWE, Malawi – Col. Sheldon “Shel” Omi, dental officer in charge of MEDREACH 11 and commander of the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, from Denver, Colo. and Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery, of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, from Columbus, Ga. examine the x-ray of a Malawian patient at the Partners in Hope Medical Centre.

LILONGWE, Malawi – A busy road. A packed red clay path. School children commuting. Three Airmen helping. This describes an unlikely meeting between three Airmen of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron and Malawian citizens at the Partners in Hope Medical Centre, nearly 30 minutes from the bustling Lilongwe city center. Together, the Airmen impacted the lives of many Malawian citizens by providing much needed dental treatment.
The Airmen debated over whether or not to cross the road out of concern for causing the children to be late for school, but ultimately decided the opportunity was too good to pass up.
According to Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery, of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Montgomery, Ala., there seemed to be a mutual curiosity between both the Airmen and the children.
“When we crossed the road it was just amazing how they approached us and wanted to be right up on us and to have their picture taken,” said Master Sgt. Teresa J. Morgan, a dental non-commissioned officer in charge of the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron.
“All the kids came and wanted to be a part of what was happening. They were so happy,” said Col. Sheldon “Shel” Omi, commander of the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron. “It was just amazing because all of us were like magnets. A lot of them just wanted to shake my hand. It was so much fun.”
According to Omi, of Denver, Colo., it was the smiles and laughter from the bustling group Malawian of children that made him smile. Impacted by the reaction of the schoolchildren, he and his teammates crossed the road determined to bring smiles to the lives of others as well.
The Airmen are visiting Malawi as part of a joint humanitarian medical exercise called MEDREACH 11. Taking time out of their already hectic exercise schedules, the team carved out a few hours to help patients at the clinic.
Walking into the clinic lobby, the Airmen were greeted with the songs sung by a mostly Malawian medical staff. Drawn to the gathering, they listened in on a brief meeting led by Partners in Hope Director Dr. Perry Jansen, who says that while funding for his clinic is important, the connection between volunteers and patients is key.
“I think for many Malawians there is not a face or an experience to strengthen the existing connection through the funds received,” said Jansen. “Money is great, but I think that sending people and having people actually meet with Malawians is a great idea. It personalizes the impact that America has in Malawi to individual experiences and I am sure that people will tell of those experiences. I think it’s a very welcomed thing.”
Partners in Hope Medical Centre is a multi-faceted clinic that provides X-ray, ultrasound, laboratory, physical therapy, and dentistry. There is also a HIV clinic that provides medical and dental support patients suffering from HIV at no charge and a private clinic that offers anything except surgery and trauma care at a small fee.
For many Malawians, the ability to see a dentist could mean the difference between living a functional life and being debilitated by constant pain. For the staff at Partners in Hope, Omi and his dental technicians arrived just at the right time.
“If someone has a bad tooth or an infected tooth it could affect their jaw and affect their whole well-being,” said Omi. “They wouldn’t be able to chew, some people can’t sleep at night, and some people can’t go to work because they have a bad tooth. It can really affect their lives.”
While a large part of the treatments focused on cleanings, fillings, and extractions, each patient received an individual assessment from the dental staff to determine the best course of action. Led by Dr. Themba Nyrienda, Omi and his team aimed to care for and help as many people as possible.
“I had a problem with my teeth and one of them had become damaged,” said Dorcus Mnthambala, a local Malawian citizen. “The doctor saved my one tooth and then was able to clean the rest of them. I am happy, so happy.”
The marked appreciation expressed by the patients continually motivated the Air Force providers to do their very best. Thanks to the efforts of the Airmen, Nyrienda said Partners in Hope had never treated that many people in one day.
Staff Sgt. Amy L. Montgomery of Columbus, Ga. wondered if one of her patients was mad because of the dental procedure, but instead was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a smile.
“One of the patients I had said she was not mad. She was happy,” said Montgomery. “We did something. We actually helped somebody.”
The Airmen walked away at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment. They represented their fellow Americans well, but more importantly they touched the lives of Malawians and brought smiles to their faces.
“I think this will have a lasting impact on the people’s hearts toward what America is and who we are as Americans.” said Jansen.

Posted in Pet Care Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

One Daft U.K. Writer’s Take on Miley Cyrus’ Mourning: “I Don’t Care When People’s Pets Die”

Miley Cyrus has been dealing with the death of her dog, an Alaskan Klee Kai named Floyd, in a very public way. She has taken to Twitter to pour out her rage and sadness. She brought a 60-foot replica of the dog on stage during a show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and sang to it. And her mother bought her a new dog, named Moonie, and Miley is being very honest about whether she is ready for a new pup (she doesn’t seem to be).

Share this image



The Telegraph's Radhika Sanghani, however, isn't having any of it. This mourning business bugs her. She mocks Miley Cyrus. In her article yesterday, she compares Miley's grief-filled tweets to "the ramblings of an over-emotional pre-teen" and makes fun of her grammar. But the main thing she thinks is that people shouldn't be sad when pets die.

Really, this is what Radhika Sanghani thinks. 

"I just can’t bring myself to be sad when people's pets die," she writes.

After all, she reasons, pets die, they can't speak to you, and you can't trust them. Really, this is what she reasons. Look:

"I am not an inherently evil person –- I just do not understand how adults can care so much about a small little animal that will inevitably die, was never able to speak to you anyway and let's face it, you can never fully trust. These beings are bought for people's own enjoyment and like all living things, their lives come to an end."

But that's not all. (No surprise, given the rocket science above). Sanghani also "squirms uncomfortably" whenever her friends mourn the death of their pets on Facebook. She does! And then she blocks them if they write about it more than she would like. Look:

"Every time one of my Facebook friends posts about how devastated they are that their beloved [insert animal here] has died, I squirm uncomfortably. When they keep on going, and give endless updates about the funeral, I press that little cross by their name and hide them from my newsfeed."

Share this image



So so it goes, on and on, a column's worth of bizarre statements about people who dare mourn the passing of their pets in a way that does not suit Radhika Sanghani of the Telegraph -- that is, in a way that brings the death to the attention of Radhika Sanghani of the Telegraph. The title of her article seems to be a joke: "How can fully grown adults care so much about their pets dying?"

It was not published on April 1. I just checked. 

Among her insights and proclamations: 

On people telling her their pets have died: 

"I know I should be more sympathetic, and I do try and come out with an ‘oh I’m sorry’ when I hear the news, but I just can’t bring myself to fully mean it."

On her own pet who died:

"When Bunsy died a couple of years later, I did cry, but I was also 10 years old; that’s what kids do. What would have been strange for me would have been if my mum started crying too -- she didn't and was secretly glad we could stop spending money on its upkeep."

On the death of her uncle's pet: 

"Years later, when my uncle’s grey African parrot Cookie died at the age of 50, I only felt a twinge of sadness that a piece of history was gone. ... I felt no emotional attachment, and I don’t think I’m alone in this."

On her fellow compatriots (she knows they're out there!) who don't think pets should be grieved: 

"I do think there are people out there who feel the same way as I do, and don’t understand this grief that some people have about losing animals."

Share this image



Miley's other dogs, Mary Jane, Happy, and Bean.

She ends with a call to arm to fellow not-carers, to rise up and let their unkind voices be heard, to smash down the tyranny of people telling others their pets have died and posting such things on Facebook. It's a doozy: 

"I implore all you like-minded people to come out of the woodwork and join me in saying you don't really care when someone's pet dies. After all, we're not the ones singing to giant inflatable dogs -- we're the rational ones."

The rational ones! She would do better calling for psychopaths. They're the ones who are unable to feel empathy. 

So, what do you think?  

All photos via Miley's Facebook page and Twitter

Read the most talked about news on Dogster:


The Scoop | The Scoop

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“No Obamacare for dogs”: 5 things you should know about the vet ER

Another week, another veterinary ER under fire. This time, it’s the Southwest Michigan Animal Emergency Hospital, now receiving angry calls and even death threats after declining to perform emergency exploratory surgery on a young German Shepherd who developed complications after a spay at a different clinic earlier in the day. The issue was the owner’s inability to provide upfront payment. It almost always is.

There is no doubt that this is a terrible and sad outcome for the owners of the dog, and I am utterly sincere in saying my heart goes out to them. As a result of going to social media, both the heartbroken owners and what is, by all accounts, a good emergency clinic are receiving heated scrutiny they probably don’t deserve. Here’s 5 things I wish everyone knew about this sort of situation:

vet ER.jpg

1. This may be once in a lifetime for you, but it’s once in a shift for the ER.

Veterinary care, and emergency care in particular, is expensive. It’s not price gouging; it accurately reflects the increased cost of running an overnight facility with high overhead. Due to the nature of emergency work, there are a high number of large estimates, and a good number of people who say, “I can’t afford that.” Good people, and good pets. None of that changes the fact that the costs are fixed. Because they weren’t inflated with a “just because I feel like it” tax to begin with, there isn’t wiggle room to negotiate it down. If you do, you go out of business.

 

2. “I can’t” doesn’t mean “I don’t care.”

When the doctor in this story said “I’ll be fired if I don’t charge appropriately,” I’m sure she (or he) meant it. When I worked an ER shift as an employee, lowering cost equaled theft of services. If an audit found treatment in the medical record not on the bill, it was either added to the bill or came out of my paycheck. There are only three variables in this: the practice owner, the vet providing the estimate (who often is not the same as the owner), and the client. Someone pays that bill. There is no “make up for it through inflating insurance charges to the insured” option we see in human hospitals.

Saying no is really, really hard. People ask me to do things all the time that I cannot do. Just because I have to say no, doesn’t mean I don’t go home and cry about it sometimes. Don’t confuse lack of ability to give you something you want with lack of wishing I could. Vets talk about this struggle every day, and every day work on ways to ensure pets get the care they need without going under. That being said, there’s only so many times one can apologize for wanting to get a paycheck for doing work. Like most vets I know, I give away plenty of services and time, but no one gets to determine the how and why of that except me.

3. We don’t know why the dog died.

It could be a surgical error, yes. Spays are major abdominal surgeries. It could also be many other things having nothing to do with the surgeon. A genetic clotting disorder, for example, is something no one can predict and can absolutely cause death in a textbook perfect surgical procedure. Let’s say hypothetically that this were the case, that testing was done and it was something no one could have predicted or prevented. Then who would be responsible for the bill? Still the original vet? Do we need to know who is at fault before attempting treatment?

4. If you want to blame someone for vets not offering payment plans, blame the other people in the waiting area.

Most vets have toyed with offering payment plans at one time or another. Of course that would be preferable to turning someone away, if they worked. The pet gets treatment and the vet gets paid. If people followed through, payment plans would exist, plain and simple. Truth is, 80% of the fees are never recovered. It’s an unsecured loan to a stranger who, history has shown time and time again, is very unlikely to repay you. The more someone swears up and down that they are good for it, the less likely that is to be true.

CareCredit, the financing option many vets offer now, is admittedly a shaky proposition, though it’s often the best we got. It’s hard to qualify for and the interest rates are often over the top (26% after the introductory period in many cases.) I’m glad to see other options being tossed around- MedVetPay being one I’ve just recently heard about- but it’s not the vet’s obligation to provide financing. Still, we try. We want this to work for you, too.

5. Every pet owner needs an emergency plan.

“I didn’t know I needed $ 2,000 ready to go,” said the owner. Many people don’t. Know your clinic’s emergency policies. If you are living in a relatively urban area with an emergency facility, it is fair to assume your day vet may refer there after hours, and if you run into an emergency such as coyotes, cars, or sudden collapse, initial treatment and stabilization can easily cost four figures. Assume this. Assume the ER vet has to charge you upfront because people before you didn’t pay up later. So what is your plan if this happens?

  • Have a credit card with this much available balance on it
  • Have an untouched savings account with this socked away
  • Have ‘that one vet your sister mentioned who will totally do midnight emergency services for $ 0 down’ on speed dial.
  • Have friends and family willing to front you the money on sudden notice
  • Have pet insurance (though you still have to provide the money initially, you get reimbursed a percentage later, reducing the long term cost)
  • Know your financial limits and be willing to understand that economic euthanasia is an option
  • Go on a social media crusade after the pet dies, knowing you’re going to get hit just as hard as the target of your anger, harder than either of you deserve; solving nothing.

Your choice.

Edit: Obviously this is a touchy topic for many people, and I appreciate all the people who have chimed in. Comments are back on for now as long as it stays civil. From this point forward I will delete anything with profanity or name calling. Thanks!

 

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

Posted in Pet Health Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment