Monday, February 28, 2011

Poor baby

Remember the little black puppy that we ended up with when a couple of college students wised up and realized they really were not supposed to have puppies in their apartments? This puppy was sold to the boyfriend as an AKC Pit Bull. Only the thing is, she only faintly resembles a Pit Bull and has topped out at a whopping 32 pounds. She has a little pit in her, but a whole lot of mutt going on. 

So here we are, the home of a pit-mutt puppy pushing 7 months old. The boyfriend wants her back this summer when he moves into a house that allows dogs. So we are her home for now. And as responsible pet owners, we made the arrangements to have her spayed last week. They also recommended that for pets her breed (Pitt-Mutt?) that we should have her dew claws removed. On Wednesday last week I dropped her off early in the morning. 

Warning: The following pictures are graphic and not for the weak of stomache. 
Do not scroll down if you do not want to see.
You have been warned.

The procedure did not go as well as planned. Of course, no one told me this until I went to pick her up at the end of the day, after the vet was already gone. The vet tech came out holding her on her back, all bandaged up and totally out of it. The story I got was that she had had a little bleeding so they bandaged her belly and to bring her back in the morning to have it removed. Oh, and here are pain meds for the next 5 days, she is going to really need them. 

Here is how she looked that evening. She cried constantly, couldn't stand up, wouldn't eat or drink and was absolutely miserable. The pain meds didn't even seem to take the edge off. I slept with her all night to try and keep her calm. Well, not so much sleeping as just holding her. First thing the next morning we were at the vet's office when they opened. They took her back and soon returned with her tummy un-bandaged. They walked us to the door in a hurry. I asked to talk to the vet and was told she was already in with another patient. They told us to come back again the next day to re-check her. 

I got her home and got my first look at her incision site. Oh holy heck is she bruised up! Also very, very swollen. She did stand up long enough to pee, but spent most of the day whining and lying still. She drank but didn't eat much. She would only get up if I coaxed her into it. See the bulge in her belly down below but parallel to the incision? After the swelling went down it is more pronounced and concerns me greatly.
 Here's a look the next day, still bruised and swollen. Back to the vet's we went, only this time I demanded to know why she is so bruised and swollen. The vet still would not come out and talk to me, but the message I got from the vet tech was that the vet said Aspen had a lot of belly fat and that made the surgery difficult and led to the bleeding. OK, so who wants to call Bullshit on that with me? This is a 6 1/2 month old puppy of perfect weight. Seriously, how much belly fat could she have? Plus, in my research career I have done hundreds of abdominal surgeries on animals who were genetically designed to be obese and they never had this type of complication. Sure, the fat made it more difficult, but you just work carefully. This? This was not caused by belly fat.
Now it is Monday and most of the bruising and swelling is gone, but she still has that large bulge. I am worried it is a herniation of the interior suture line. I hauled back up to the vets office to have them look at it again. Once more they whisked her to the back and I waited. The vet tech comes out and says the doc is worried about infection in her dew claw areas so they have re-bandaged them and are prescribing antibiotics. That will be $67 please. I ask about the bulge and she says the vet is on his way out to talk to me. (Of course he is, he isn't the one who did the surgery so has no need to hide) He tells me hei s concerned about her paws, I tell him I am concerned about her bulge. He rolls her over and looks again and says it because she has been licking at it, see the purple marks? (Insert sounds of kettle drums beginning to roll in the background)
Oh heck no, that is the last of the severe bruising she had immediately after the surgery. Her incision line is clean and dry and has not been licked. (I actually said i was not buying that bull. Hee. Go me!)
So then he tells me it must be a reaction to the sutures. 
OK, then why is it beside the suture line and not under it? Why is the skin not red? Why is she not trying to lick at it and why is it not tender?
Umm, well, maybe that is where the internal suture line is. 

I stood there toe to toe and looked him in the eyes and then began to tell him exactly what it was NOT and why. It was not belly fat, it was not an infection, it was not a reaction to the sutures. What it was was a shoddy job. See Doc, how there are only 5 external stitches and they are spaced very far apart? That was someone in a big hurry and who didn't care. And if they were in that big of a hurry with the part that shows, then what the heck did they do on the inside? See how the incision is too low and too small? Again, someone in a hurry. But that made it hard to reach the uterus so they had to push and pull more than necessary and that caused a lot of the bruising and swelling. See Doc, how she was bruised with dark purple (that is caused when a lot of blood is under the skin) and see how she is still developing new bruises? That was deep bleeding, not damage to the surface layers. See how she was bruised from her chest to her thighs? I then proceeded to tell him that I had pictures and was sending them to specialists in the field that I knew. 

At this point I began to feel sorry for the guy. He looked like a deer in the headlights. He then told me exactly WHO did the surgery and that I would be seeing that person on Friday. I told him Thank You and we left. I could almost hear the sigh of relief as I walked away. (Oh and the vet tech told me how sorry she was and she would have done the same thing I did)

Can you see the bulge? It is longer than the suture line and is lumpy and firm, not like normal swelling. I just hope her guts don't pop out....


Elle said...

poor poor baby is right.

Is this the vet you use for the other animals? If so I'm thinking you might want to find another vet.

The "breeder" for Busy (our boxer) removed her dew claws and botched the job. She didn't get one completely out and now it is forming a backwards hook. We have the groomer cut it to keep it short and the vet said not to have it removed unless it becomes an issue.

As an aside, the AKC doesn't recognize pit bulls per se. They recognize American Stratfordshire terriers and Stratfordshie Bull Terriers. Only the UKC recognizes the American Pit Bull Terrier and even then it isn't for show, but rather sporting only. Derek and I took a Bully awareness class when we were going to adopt one from a rescue.

Angie said...

Oh my goodness! I can't believe that the vet wouldn't meet with you! I have never seen a vet who didn't take you into the room with the dog to examine.

I can't see the bulge you are referring to, but i have to tell you when I recently took one of our Great Pyrenees puppies in to get spayed, she had a huge protruding lump on her belly near the suture line. It totally freaked me out. But I looked it up and it seems alot of female dogs get that "swelling" after being spayed. So I gave it a few days, and sure enough, it went away. It could be a hernia or something else, but to ease your mind, it could also be a commmon non-issue. Keep us posted!

In the meantime, don't be using that vet anymore. ;o)

Anonymous said...

Yikes!!! The swelling/lump looks like a tissue reaction (not all that uncommon) but the bruises....seriously...that is in no way normal! I hope you get a chance to talk to this elusive vet and let her know that you are not buying her ocean front property in Arizona. I think she's hiding from you for a reason....good luck.

BT said...

I would be all over this too. I hope that vet comes out and provides you with an (accurate) explanation. Your poor dog -- I hate to think of the pain she's endured.

Anonymous said...

Horrible story, but good for you for the way you handled it! I have no idea about any of this kind of stuff. Just wanted to add this: Perhaps the inept vet left one of the sponges used during surgery inside the pup? Happens all the time to people. Probably happens to animals too. They should be doing an x-ray/mri free of charge to make sure the pup looks good internallly.
hope the pup heals soon,

Shelby said...

Unbelievable!!! That is NOT acceptable in any way shape form or manner. Good for you for letting him have it. It doesn't matter that he wasn't the vet that did the surgery. He is a vet in that practice and needs to be aware of what has happened. There had better be the offer of a whole lot of "free" care for that poor puppy.
Looking forward to what the coward vet has to say.
I have always gone in with my pets when they go to the vet. Very strange that you couldn't.

FosteringDreams said...

Yikes, poor baby is right! I hope she's okay.

Lisa said...

Wow, so what happened with your dog? Was she okay? I hope you got a new vet! I took in a stray abandoned cat from in my apt complex. I got him, Cupid, in our apartment early and I brought him to the vet early cuz I was told I could. He had to be treated for fleas and get neutered. His appt was at 8:30 am. I went in the room with him and the vet tech for the weight, the flea pill that kills them in like 20 mins, and was told they would do his surgery after the fleas were dead. I called at 5pm as told to check and he wasn't ready yet. I went up at 7pm and he wasn't done. I said when? They said 8pm-they closed at 9pm. When I went back they brought Cupid out and he was shivering soo badly and seemed terrified. I was told that when I came up the first time there had been an emergency with a dog, and I had heard a dog whining in the room with the vet. I understand that. I had to ask 4 times until I finally got an answer. He was scheduled for surgery at 9 am but they didn't do it until right before I got there. He was shivering from the anastesia (sp?). The vet took money off the bill and gave him pain pills to try to placate me. It didn't work. Cupid had an ear infection but that was the first and last time we ever went to that vet. I got his ear drops and that was it. It's appalling when vets treat us like we both were treated. It's not too much to ask for explanations and the truth. We shouldn't have had to ask multiple times to get any answers. My cat is great. I hope your dog is great, too. Good for you for wanting answers. We deserve respect and our animals are our family. If your vet doesn't understand that, you and your animals deserve a vet who does.