Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Attempted Veterinary Extortion

On Tuesday the face was looking pretty good from this side!

On Sunday, after a day in the field, Mountain ended up with a badly slit nose pad, right at the tip. This was just a regular groundhog in the pipe that did the work -- nothing spectacular -- but he got the dog pretty good, as will occassionally happen.

There is a place to slip in a shovel, and I probably should have done it sooner, despite the fact that the groundhog had another three feet of room behind it.

This was a very aggressive groundhog, and sometimes you have to allow for diversity of temperament in the field. Slip in the shovel, sink another hole if need be, tail and dispatch was the order of the day. I should have done it sooner. A couple of weeks out of the field is not what I had in mind with Mountain.

Live and learn.

On the way home I stopped by an emergency vet with the idea of getting a stitch or two in Mountain's nose pad as it was flapping. What could it cost?

Well, more than an hour later the vet comes out with a bill for me to "approve" before the work is done -- they wanted over $1,000.

To hell with that!

I was reminded, once again, why I do almost all my own veterinary work.

I took the dog home, used VetBond to close the gash, loaded her up on Cephalexen, and cut away the protrududing flap of skin on the tip of her nose. A little proviodine, more ceph, and more time, and she is (two days later) on the fast road to fine.

For the record, the vet refused to simply put in a stitch or two, which I would have gladly paid for. She wanted a huge workup for anesthesia, shots (despite the fact my dog was current on everything), blood tests, pain medication, etc. When I said "no deal, just give me my dog back," she accused me of -- wait for it -- trying to blackmail her! I said (quite calmly considering) "Lady, all I want is my dog back. I asked you to put in a stitch in the nose pad, and you want to charge me for tags, antibiotics, blood work, anesthesia, pain medication, and the rest. What this dog needs is a simple stitch or two. Will you do what I ask -- and that alone?"

She then explained how great her veterinary clinic was -- "state of the art" -- and that I was paying for Sunday services and all of their fabulous equipment and experience. She said she would not do what I asked, as "the dog needed much more." I just looked at her and said, very evenly (a bad sign if you know me): "Lady all I wanted when I came in here was two stitches. Now all I want is my dog back."

That's the end of the story.

No humans were harmed, and to tell you the truth the dog seems pretty ecstatic to spend time in my study on the "big bed" by the desk with me -- and all by herself!

I am assured by others with more experience with nose pad rips that the color will come back to the tip of her nose.

I think if I had someone with me in the field, we could have glued up the nose right there next to the hole, but holding the squirming dog, her nose, the glue, and the sliced nose flap -- all at once -- was impossible.

Sometimes you really do need another set of hands.

Same dog, same day, Side B. The very tip of the nose is damaged, but it will come back ... and at no expense.

A shot straight from the top -- a small side rip was closed with VetBond. Only the very tip is really damaged.

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