is this vet behavior normal ?

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is this vet behavior normal ?

This is a discussion on is this vet behavior normal ? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; hello we had Maggie for 5 years. her age was unknown since we adopted her from the shelter at witch she was abandoned. she was ...

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Old 01-10-2018, 11:10 AM
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Exclamation is this vet behavior normal ?


we had Maggie for 5 years. her age was unknown since we adopted her from the shelter at witch she was abandoned. she was perfectly healthy since we had her. on December 23 she was still playing and showed no sign of health problems.
then around 10pm she screamed when we picked her up. her stomach seemed to hurt. but she had eaten normally that day and showed no sign of any problems. the next day she did not eat, but did drink water, did not vomit. she slept pretty much all day but would still walk around to change bed's and follow us, drink, go pee... so we didn't worry too much.
on December 25th she did not eat when we got up and seemed still tired. she did drink water and did not show any major signs of major health problems. but seemed very tired and walked slowly. so we went to the vet expecting to leave there with a pill or something minor.
waited for a while in the emergency room. then they transferred us to the vet's room. we where waiting in the room and she lying down was on the "work table". we noticed that all of a sudden she started breathing heavily and pooped while lying down. I put the poop in a latex glove in case they wanted a sample.
one of the workers passed by and noticed this. she immediately alerted the doctor. the dr came in and took her to the operating room without even saying a word. 2 minutes later she called us. Maggie was already plugged on tubes and stuff. she had a scanner on her stomach and a syringe full of blood.

she said the black spot in her stomach was blood, probably from a tumor that had broken, and the syringe was blood pulled from her stomach. she said it would cost 5000$ to stabilise her. then she would send a sample to see if the tumor was cancer or not. we had about 2 minutes to decide. she said if we don't do anything now she would have a heart attack. we do not have 5000$ to stabilise her (plus the cost of curing the tumor... it would come to around 8000$ if it was not cancer).

so we said to put her to sleep so she would not suffer. we did not expect that and were in shock. so I did not really question much (check her heart rate..).

does this make sense ? shouldn't she have proposed a less expensive option ? it cost us 500$ for her to stay 10 minutes with Maggie and put her to sleep. and only proposed a 5000$ option within 2 minutes ?

I fell like she treated our dog like an old t.v. we lost our loved dog on xmas day. could it be that she just wanted to get rid of us to go to her family ? is there a way to see if we were treated fairly and not like a customer bringing in a t.v for repair ?

Maggie is the white bichon maltese in the picture
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:48 PM
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First off I am so sorry for your loss. I could not even imagine the pain you are going through.

It's really hard to say if your vet did the right thing but if what happened was that she had a mass that burst, from my knowledge, you were lucky you got the time you had. I had a family friend that lost 2 of her dogs in 1 month to tumors bursting and by the time they get them to the emergency vet they were told there was nothing they could do and to say goodbye.

I would recommend, once you are up to it, ask to speak with the vet. Find out what happened and what caused it to happen and if there were any other options. They are the only ones that would truly know what happened.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:33 PM
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So sorry for your loss. As jclark stated a ruptured tumor is a very valid cause for the scenario that you went through. Unfortunately with most of these kinds of tumors once they've ruptured the only option is immediate emergency. Since I don't work in emergency, I can't speak for things are handled at your emergency vet. In general practice we would have likely handled everything the same way your emergency vet did. In the height of an emergency there often isn't enough time to explain the details of exactly what's going on and why. After you made your decision the vet would have spent as much time as you needed to explain exactly what happened. If you listed who your regular vet was on the emergency paperwork then the emergency office usually will fax a report of what happened to your regular vet. You should be able to call your regular vet and discuss the health issue with them so they can explain exactly what happened.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:22 PM
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I'm sorry for your loss. From your description a tumour on the spleen, a haemangiosarcoma, is the most likely cause. these can be undetected until they burst causing massive blood loss. Sometimes this can almost be instantly fatal.
Unfortunately the only options when this happens is a huge life-saving effort or putting a patient to sleep. Time is critical which is why things can appear rushed, if treatment is decided upon then it has to happen straight away and if not then they should not be left to suffer. This sense of emergency is most likely why things appeared rushed, and obviously it it a devastating shock to have to see your poor dog so unwell.
It sounds like the vet managed things as well as they can be in such difficult situations. Unfortunately a decision sometimes is required quickly which can impact on "bedside manner", it's not that the staff don't care it's just that they want whats best for their patient. The vet may also have been juggling several emergencies making it difficult to explain further once the decision was made.
It may help you to get some answers from your regular vet who will be able to explain more. I'm sorry again for your loss
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:17 AM
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thanks for your answers. at least i know that this is not uncommon. its very unfortunate, but life is not fair sometimes.
we will wait a while and get another small dog. and hope we are luckier this time.
thanks for your answers.
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