Bad Vet Experience

Cocoa at Electric City Animal Clinic

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Cocoa at Electric City Animal Clinic

Bad vet experience. Those are three words that make me cringe. This is going to be a long one, dear readers. Then I want you to share any bad vet experiences you've had with your cats.

Cocoa is pictured here at the clinic who is trying to help him.

I really don't know where to begin this story, so I'll start WAY back in the last century. Here's the link to that story. Sadly, it was the same vet who did this to my cats who I was forced to see on Monday when I took Cocoa in. I didn't know my regular vet was out sick.

Let me describe what's going on with my beautiful boy. He won't eat a bite unless it's fed to him mixed with lots of water and through a syringe. He practically gags at the sight of a plate of food. This has been going on for a week now. In case you hadn't read an earlier article about him, he has no claws and only one tooth in his head.

Did I mention I had a wreck on the way to the vet Monday? This just keeps getting worse and worse. I not only wrecked my car, but I arrived at the vet only to find my vet out with an attack of appendicitis. The practice owner saw my Cocoa.

I explained the symptoms and double checked as this vet looked inside Cocoa's mouth. Everything looked fine on that end. This vet then suggested I "wait several days and make Cocoa get really hungry." Then he repeated "there's nothing wrong with him," followed by "no charge for today".

I really need to stop writing for a moment and break something. Do any of you know how frustrating it is to know something is very wrong with your cat and no one wants to believe you?

On Tuesday I drove my battered body in my battered car to my hometown. There's a clinic called Electric City Animal Clinic. I think I'm going to transfer my cats over to them as they open at 7a.m.

I had to drop my daughter off at her grandmother's nearby and just stopped in to see if the vet had time to see my big boy. They worked him in. The first thing the assistant noticed was severe upper respiratory congestion. Then she took his temperature (no fever) and listened to his chest. The vet examined my monster boy (he weighs almost 14 lbs.) and told me he believes Cocoa won't eat because he's too congested to smell his food.

Now for another shocker: Cocoa is a senior cat. Didn't see that one coming. He's had a lot of years to practice that loving.

His new vet prescribed antibiotic liquid, a steroid nose drop and an IV to replace some of the fluids he'd lost. Cocoa has to go for a recheck on Monday and it was suggested that if he doesn't improve quickly blood work needs to be done.

Sure, I had a bill for this service. But at least I got service. NOT some vet who didn't think my kitty was worth more than a few minutes of his time.

I watched the faces of some of the other clients at the first vet. They looked grief-stricken for lack of a better word. Like I said, the other vet in the practice is GREAT. Too bad the owner hasn't learned a thing or two from him.

I also spoke with some of the clients where Cocoa's condition was finally taken more seriously. They offered only praise for this clinic. Word of mouth goes a long way in my neck of the woods.

It's also the best method in my area to fight bad vets. Reporting them to veterinary associations does little good. Most of these are older vets who refuse to change with the times. Merchant Circle and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are more effective.

I do have a chip-in here for Cocoa. I don't know what kind of treatment or tests he'll be needing in the future. I plan to do the best I can for him.

I just hope no one finds out it's "bring your cat to work day." Yes, he's sitting in his duffel bag carrier by my work station.

As I write this, Cocoa watches me from his carrier. He's refusing the water and the can of food I placed in there for him. It's entirely possible my boss will walk in on me cradling and syringe feeding a cat. Now THAT would be a story to tell his children.

I hope I NEVER have to go through anything like this again. It's agonizing! And the sad thing is this first vet has a very steady clientele because he's been practicing for about 50 years now. People brag on how great he is! I wonder if he prefers some pets and shoo's off the rest as insignificant?

Have any of you had a bad vet experience? What happened and what did you do about it? There are days like Monday when I don't see how I've lived 50 years without being arrested.


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Bad Vet Experience

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Apr 28, 2011
Another one
by: Michael

Here is a link to an earlier post:

Unpleasant Vet Experience

Apr 28, 2011
So many years ago but so sad
by: Letha

It was 35 years ago, I was 19. I had married at age 16 and had taken our family dog with me. We had her since I was 8 years old and she was my dog. When we first got her my Mom would not allow her in the house. Once she was allowed in the house she was not allowed on my bed. I made her a cardboard box with her name drawn on in crayon. flowers and butterflies on it. My Mom let her sleep in the box on the foot of my bed.
We lived in Dallas. Dixie got very sick throwing up and not eatting anything. Just drinking alot of water and vomiting. My husband and I took her to a vet in the expencive side of town. My husband was 15 years older than myself and not a teenager like myself. He was also chinese and I am white. He was a chef and owned a nice restaurant on in that very area. We got snubbed when we walked in with Dixie. They refused to see her (without an appt.) they said. I begged and pleaded for them to see her and the vet came out from an exam room and looked at her and told me they could not see her because of no appt, he did say to me " I suggest you find her a vet that will see her soon because she is a very sick dog." I don't know if they why for sure they wouldn't see her. Predujice or because that was a foo foo kind of a place or what.
We did manage to find another vet that did see her. He ran blood tests and had me take her home and wanted me to collect a sample of her vomit and pee or poop if I could. She started convulsing in the middle of the night and she slipped into a coma and died. The vet called me early in the morning and told me she had diabetes. It was too late. It was around that time period that people were talking about parvo. I think it was a new virus at the time. I know it is mostly a puppy ailment but it also attacks old dogs and no dogs were immune to it then as it was nothing anyone vaccinated against. I had a 4 month old puppy that died a couple of weeks eariler. This puppy never lived long enough to make it to the vet. Was throwing up and layed down and literaly screamed until she died. We lived in the country and the next door neighbor didn't like dogs, so we thought he poisioned her. So I will never know if it was diabetes, parvo, or poisioning. But I do know if that horrible vet would of taken care of her early that morning she might not of died. Here it is 35 years later and I still can't let go of it.

Apr 28, 2011
He'd tell me to go elsewhere
by: Elisa

I've dealt with him before. Michael's right and he's arrogant. If I hadn't thought long and hard how he misdiagnosed those 4 cats and flat out argued with me when I told him they were poisoned I might have listened to him.Think of the people he sends home with their pets and the animals trust him because he's a vet and the pets die.

Apr 28, 2011
by: Elisa

You should have seen it at the first vet. First he was over an hour late. There was a man carrying a German Shepherd who couldn't walk. I saw him carrying his dog around back while waiting on the vet. Everyone had already agreed to wait with their animals and let this dog go first since something was WRONG. This dog didn't even get 5 minutes. Then I spoke to a man with a very small dog as I was going back with Cocoa. I asked him if his baby was going to be all right. He just looked down and never answered me. He looked so defeated. Then there was this woman who was just a a bragging about this vet.

Electric City got Cocoa in fast, checked everything. I couldn't afford the bloodwork on him yet. They're trying hard to save him. And each person leaving with their pet was telling me how great the staff was here. And everyone was smiling. I was behind a gentleman as I paid Cocoas bill and the mans DOG was even smiling.

Plus it's hard to find a vet who opens before 8am in my area.

Apr 28, 2011
One in every town
by: Elisa

From what I've heard in feedback there's one like this in every town. My hometown has one who's been around forever. He's set in his ways and dumber than dirt.

I remember an old vet, Dr. Jamison, who had to have been 90 when he retired and he saved my cat from poisoning with a 106 degree fever. I also know another vet in my hometown whose dad was a vet. I went to him for over 20 years. He couldn't see me as quickly on Tuesday and time was important.

Word needs to get around about these bad vets. You can bet I'll get on Merchant Circle and brag about my new good vet. People need a reference to go by when choosing a new vet.

Still surprised I didn't go to jail on Monday after the vet experience.

Apr 28, 2011
by: Janet V.

You certainly should vote with your feet and paws and go to the other vet. But maybe you could talk to the good vet at the first practice, if for no other reason than to just get out your well-deserved frustrations.

Do wait until Cocoa gets better and maybe you could also write a letter to the Jerk Vet and kindly, politely inform him how off base he was and exactly what happened and how it got resolved. And how glad you are that someone figured out what was actually wrong with the cat.

I hate to think Jerk Vet thought a fat cat couldn't starve to death. Their livers fail long before they get skinny. Jeez.

Apr 28, 2011
by: Michael

Some vets become arrogant and get out of touch with client care. Maybe in part it is due to being in the job for too long. They become complacent and think they know it all.

He seems to have done a very cursory, casual job in diagnosing Cocoa's condition. I would have thought it was a serious situation if a cat refuses to eat. Cats die if they do that.

Although he is not underweight!

Sorry that you had to go through all that and a car accident as well. Bad day. I can feel what it must have been like.

I find taking my cat to the vet stressful at the best of times but to have to go to two places plus an accident sounds very stressful.

My old lady cat is about 19 and she has lost weight due to eating less. I think her sense of smell has diminished and that that is the cause. She has also become deaf.

Losing weight in old cats is serious. I feed her her favorite food - fish and stop Charlie eating it until she is done.

Good luck with Cocoa.

6 thoughts on “Bad Vet Experience”

  1. Yes my first vet ordered tests for my cat without informing me . Did not diagnose my cat based on the test results The test results indicated Chronic Kidney Disease.I did my own research concerning the test results. The vet also wanted to do other tests to make more money as she thought I was ignorant and could exploit me.

  2. I’ve waited more than a week to clear my head and seriously weigh whether to post this. Complaining or reviewing on Yelp or Google always seems ineffective but this needed to be said (even if it’s for my own peace of mind) and I don’t know if I’ve turned to the correct forum; I hope I have.
    For a little more than three years, Heartland Animal Hospital in Lake Placid, Florida, was the health care provider for our rescued cat. The assistants were always wonderful. The main doctor seems to be quite qualified but she is totally lacking in personality. The new doctor partner has some personality but we felt that she was less qualified. (Two other patients we referred feel the same way.) That new doctor partner gave our cat a few weeks or maybe a couple months to live—that was more than nine months ago. Regardless of monitoring, our cat remained chipper and content and quite normally active even though she had a myriad of health problems including total deafness and failing kidneys all of which originated long before she adopted us.
    We knew she was nearing the end because of the kidney problems which usually plague cats. One day she started hiding and she was very lethargic. When that went on for three or four days, we took her to the vet but again nothing was diagnosed other than she had so many problems that nothing concrete could be decided upon. Oddly, we were told our cat was blind because she wouldn’t blink when they poked a finger at each eye. An hour before, she had clearly seen me enter a room, stood and came across the room to me. When we got home, she moved—sometimes even running—around the house and the furniture with clear sightedness just as always. In several places, furniture and objects had been rearranged for redecorating so we knew she could see and she wasn’t navigating by rote.
    The lethargy subsided a bit but she wasn’t back up to snuff. Then, within a few days, she started ducking every time we went to pet her. This was odd because she was always abnormally affectionate. We phoned the vet and asked if cats get headaches. We were told that they had never heard of such a thing.
    Another day or so later, while we administered her daily subcutaneous fluid (for her kidneys), she reacted quite normally, looking at us, meowing. Absolutely normal. I put her down on the floor and she suddenly got hesitant, at first slipping in her gait, and then she started bumping into everything. She had literally gone blind in a split second with her eyes wildly dilated. It was heartbreaking to watch her move her head around trying desperately to see and meowing wildly. As a result, she understandably plunged into complete panic. I left her at home in the care of my wife and rushed to the vet but was told to monitor her until the next day. Again, they cited that she had health problems. After returning home, the cat became much, much worse. Her pupils were now going from fully dilated to normal and back and forth. We were fearing some sort of stroke and thought that this was the end. I phoned the vet but the telephone gatekeeper wouldn’t allow an immediate appointment for what would obviously be euthanasia. Every staff member there knew our cat and would have known that whatever was happening was dire to illicit such reaction in me or my wife. We had never been demanding. Instead, rather huffily the telephone gatekeeper would only agree to move the next afternoon’s scheduled appointment up half an hour no matter how I explained that the poor cat was going out of her mind with fear. Still, I was told they had no time to see her. How inhumane is that? At this point, I was in as much panic as our cat. I asked if I should take her to the emergency vet hospital quite a distance away. “If that’s what you think you have to do,” was the dismissive reply.
    I had to drive two hours to that nearest emergency veterinary hospital with the poor cat in total distress. That emergency hospital told me our cat’s blood pressure was so extremely and abnormally high, it was why she had been ducking her head—because her head was throbbing. They said that hypertension was common in severe kidney failure but it should have been checked all along. Wasn’t our vet checking our cat’s blood pressure? Until that moment no one had ever taken the cat’s blood pressure (rarely was anything done in the same room we were in)—or, if they had taken blood pressure, it was never mentioned to us. Our cat had gone suddenly blind because the extraordinarily high blood pressure burst the blood vessels in her eyes. With no medical records on file, they spent the next few hours running tests to determine how to possibly help her. Ultimately, with her other ailments, such a large dosage of blood pressure medication would be fatal to other failing organs. Oh, and our vet’s assessment that our cat was possibly twelve years old was off by at least three and as many as five years. She was most probably fifteen and quite possibly older.
    The end for any much-loved pet has to be accepted but it was absolutely inexcusable for our original vet to allow or expect any animal to suffer for the convenience of appointment schedules. That was just plain heartless and it is unforgivable. As one assistant explained more than a year ago, “Cats get treated as disposable [in the veterinary world].”
    The next day, when I called our original vet to cancel the scheduled appointment, I informed them of our cat’s death. When I gave them the explanation that the sudden blindness and panic was due to fatally high blood pressure, the phone line suddenly went silent. It was that sort of silence when you know the other party realizes they screwed up. I was too exhausted to raise my voice let alone argue. My anger wasn’t part of my grief; it was due to the callousness my pet had been shown. Rehashing it here has been heartbreaking but I will qualify my stance with this: My wife was a medical assistant for her entire career. If a patient called or showed up with dire symptoms, that patient was admitted immediately regardless of the routine appointment schedule. On my way to becoming a successful writer, I spent ten years as a lifeguard. I knew full-well about emergency treatment and when I had to administer it. In order words, we were both hands-on in healthcare. Neither of us would have allowed any human to have been treated thusly let alone an elderly animal.
    Our last memories of our beloved pet was of her thrashing around in utter terror for hours not understanding what was going on. If our vet had had her way, such suffering would have even been extended for an entire day. We lived ten minutes from our vet and had our cat been seen immediately, her misery could have been cut short by all those hours. She deserved that courtesy and that caring and that dignity. It is what should have been paramount to everyone involved regardless of whose pet it was and anyone who might make an excuse to the contrary shouldn’t be in any branch of medicine.
    As a professional writer, I know how to gather evidence and how to state it clearly. All of this is absolutely true exactly as it happened. There has been nothing left out or spun for my benefit. We knew there couldn’t be miracles but we had put faith in our pet being shown compassion and humaneness. She didn’t receive that until we drove her two hours away. At least there they allowed us to cradle her and calm her so she knew we were with her when she went to sleep.
    There are no excuses or apologies which our vet can ever extend. That would just be insulting. Nothing exonerates such a lack of caring. Prospective patients might bear this experience in mind before considering Heartland Animal Hospital.

    1. Thanks John. I have read your comment in its entirety. It is a hard read. I’d like to turn your comment into an article for this website if you’d agree. Many thanks again for sharing your experience and thoughts. I am sorry that all three of you had to go through it.

  3. Elizabeth Hagedorn

    It is time to vent about the Dowagiac Animal Hospital,P.C.

    I have taken Garfield there 3 times since i moved to the area, they have terrified my cat . I was told that they netted him just to give him shots,my cat is four years old going on five,he has been to the vet every year to get his shots and has never acted like he acts at this vet , i think they have mistreated him so much that he remembers what they did to him. then after they terrified my cat ,they tell me they cannot see him anymore he is just to bad. Garfied has never had a reaction to the vet like he does there. I think the Dowagiac vet miss treats the animals and would highly recomend that if you are taking your animals there, to find another vet. I have never had a vet not want you to go with animal to the exan room, I am so sorry that i took my cat to these people.

    Elizabeth Hagedorn

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Interesting. I had to delete the other Facebook replies and likes etc as the comment looked chaotic. I would ask if your cat needs regular vaccination boosters. I think you’ll find he does not.

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