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Old 09-07-2012, 07:45 AM
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BostonBanker BostonBanker is offline
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Default Now that Gusto is home safe...

something has really been bothering me, and I'm looking for your experiences.

I got the phone call about him at 3 pm when I was at work. I initially told my mother that I'd leave instantly and come home. Of course, 2 seconds after hanging up, I realized I was the *only* person in the lab, had samples in process, and that shutting down the lab so you can leave it without anyone there safely takes about 5 minutes. So, probably close to 10 minutes before I could leave, 15 minutes drive home...I called her back and said "just take him to the vet."

As soon as I got to the car, I called my vet, said "I am not at home, but my mother just called. My dog is extremely ill, vomiting, and can't walk. She's on her way in with him, and I'm meeting her there."

The response? "Well, the first appointment we have is 3:45."

I was silent for probably 20 seconds. I then asked if we had to take him to the emergency clinic, and she said they didn't really open until 5 pm, but there is staff there 24 hours and she didn't *think* they would turn us away. The e-vet is probably 15 minutes further away than my regular vet.

I couldn't even get my mother on the phone again, as she had already left the house. So, I went right to the regular vet. My mother was there with him in an exam room. Gusto was clearly in distress, couldn't hold himself up on his hind legs, tongue out of his mouth (mouth closed, not panting), drooling, and panicked (probably from the lack of vision, which we didn't realize at that point).

I was and still am appalled that they made us wait as long as they did. I could understand if they had said "there is another emergency here, we will get someone in there as soon as possible" or "the vets are all in surgery, they need to finish up before they can leave". But they just said "the appointments are booked back to back". We were there for over 20 minutes before anyone looked at him.

Is this typical? I know if I was there for a non-emergency appointment, and the vet said "we've had an emergency come in, can we reschedule or can you wait 15 minutes?" I wouldn't hesitate to say yes, and I'd think that was how things are normally done. I'm at the point where I'm ready to find a new vet and to tell my vet now why, but if it is typical for a non-emergency vet to not rush care to an acutely ill regular patient...well, then I suppose it is typical.

I know some people here work in vet's offices - how have you seen such situations handled? If you've brought your own dog in for emergencies, were they seen right away?

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:06 AM
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I hope Gusto is still feeling better this morning.

I know I've been at my vet and when an emergency comes in, they tend to it and let people waiting know it will be a little longer for their appointment. That's terrible what your vet did.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:10 AM
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Same as Barb -- I shadowed a vet's office for a while when I was younger and if someone came in with a real emergency they would be seen immediately and the desk staff would tell those in the waiting room (and call the people with the next appointments if possible) and tell them that there would be a delay and they would completely understand if they needed to reschedule their appointments but that a Life-or-Death situation had to come first.

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Barb04 View Post
I hope Gusto is still feeling better this morning.

I know I've been at my vet and when an emergency comes in, they tend to it and let people waiting know it will be a little longer for their appointment. That's terrible what your vet did.

I would be furious and finding a new vet. That is terrible care.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:31 AM
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Taqroy Taqroy is offline
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I don't actually know what my vet would do (although I'm going to call and find out now) but I would be pretty irate if that happened. I would gladly wait or reschedule a regular exam for my dogs if an emergency came in while I was there.

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:42 AM
Fran27 Fran27 is offline
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Our old vet would take emergencies and make you wait. Which is fine by me.

I would absolutely get a new vet. What if your dog had a stroke and died or something... how awful.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:51 AM
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Emily Emily is offline
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Wow... So glad Gusto ok, but yeah, I might be looking for a new clinic. To be fair, maybe you should call them and lay it out on the table. Tell them what happened and ask how they handle emergencies. If that's really their policy... I'd have to find a new vet.

Once we suspected my cat ate Ibuprofen (idiot). He had vomited and was acting needy and lethargic. I called my vet and they gave me an appointment about 1 hour out from when I called. Then they called right back and just said, "Nevermind just bring him in now!"

ETA: Once I called one of our daytime clinics from work about a boarding dog that was BLOATING. Like, stomach massively inflated, spleen stick out his side, you need surgery or you're gonna die BLOATED. The kid at the desk was like, "I can get you in on Monday?" (It was Saturday). I was just speechless for like a full minute. I was torn between asking for his supervisor (he clearly had no idea what I was talking about) and just calling our other clinic. I settled for calling our other clinic. They got me in immediately. And the dog is alive thanks to them.

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:55 AM
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Dekka Dekka is offline
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My vet, whom I love, would not make me wait. When Dekka got kicked in the head, I ran into the house called them and said "Dekka got kicked in the head I am headed in" The said ok we will see you when you get here.

Dekka wasn't as bad as Gusto sounds like he was when we got there but they took her right in.

I would be looking for a new vet. This doesn't sound like a vet office where they care about animals first. I highly doubt you are one of those people who rush in on a regular basis with a new emergency every week.. but even so once the dog is there and in obvious distress I can't fathom how they made the poor guy wait.

Did the vet know you were waiting that long or was it the office staff that decided to put routine non emerg visits through first? I would call the vet and find that out.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:57 AM
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sassafras sassafras is offline
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That's pretty appalling.

My advice would be to call (or email or write a letter if you prefer) to speak to an actual doctor (the owner if possible) and explain to them what happened at some time when you are feeling calm. If the were just been going straight from appointment to appointment, they may not have even been aware you had called or were there. If that's what happened, this is a case of really poorly trained staff and/or crummy communication within the clinic and the vets/owner need to know that. IME, that's most often the reason behind something like this, just whoever answered the phone and admitted you when you arrived messed up big time. In a perfect world stuff like that would never happen, but people working at vet clinics are human beings like everyone else.

It will be apparent from your conversation whether the doctor/owner is also appalled and thinks it is a problem to be fixed or not. If not, find another clinic, you don't want to be there. But if you just leave without even telling them why you're upset, 1. they may never be aware there was a problem 2. they don't have a chance to fix it to your satisfaction. It doesn't have to be confrontational, just an "FYI this is how this was handled, I didn't like it, how are you going to address this?" kind of thing. Some clinics are just crappy clinics, but any good clinic will want feedback on how to do things better and if you never tell them, they'll never even know you were upset. If it's a clinic you've otherwise had good experiences with, I would really encourage you to give them a chance instead of just slipping away quietly in the night.


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Old 09-07-2012, 08:58 AM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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My vet sees emergencies right away - when Z was stung by something and her face was swelling up, I took her right in, they didn't have a room, so the techs took her to the back within 5 minutes and she was back to me and I was paying in less than 30 minutes.

I'd second the "call and check their policies" suggestion - when I suspected Z had a UTI I called my vet and they said she'd have to wait until Monday. With a UTI that of course is no good (that would have been a wait of 3.5 days), so I called back, got a different person, and they fit her in the same day - apparently the first person didn't know the policy.
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