Saturday, 5 April 2014

Dogs and Vets

I have had several times recently that I have taken dogs to the vets, and I accept I am probably the dog owner that they don't particularly welcome as I ask too many questions and disagree too many times.
From my point of view, it costs me £30 to seek a vets opinion on my dog before any treatment and I am happy if I leave empty handed.
However maybe I am just more aware of doggy language or more aware of how people handle dogs, but some vets don't seem to have a clue.
One example recently was Martha with her boosters, I was asked if she was an aggressive dog by the vet, he then went on to ask me to put her in a headlock and hold her very tight as he was worried she would react to the injection. Now, had the vet actually stroked Martha he could have checked that she has loose skin so less likely to react to an injection, she was also not showing any signs of fear or anxiety. Anyway I said she will be fine and refused to put her in a headlock as that would cause her to be fearful. Martha didn't flinch getting her booster, but it did make me realise how easy it would be to change a good experience at the vets to being a bad experience.
Vets do have difficult jobs, they have a serious risk of being bitten and the consequence is time off work, but they should also have an understanding of dogs and be able to weigh the risks involved.
I had to go back to the vets recently with Martha as she seemed to have something in her foot that we couldn't see or she had perhaps broken a bone, I went to a different vet! and all the time we were talking she was handling/stroking Martha preparing the dog for examination and I suspect sussing her temperament.The outcome was that as you would expect Martha was nearly asleep and it was a very easy examination.So even though the vet hurt Martha it was still all very calm.
Jazz at nearly 14 years has also been to the vets for blood tests, he is virtually blind and deaf so I requested that the blood should be taken with us present, he was asked to sit !, that fell on deaf ears, so he was pushed into a sit! he has old bones so any position for him is calculated and slow, before I could speak the vet nurse  put him in a headlock...hmm, and the vet was cutting hair on his leg for  blood and telling poor Jazz to keep still as he was showing signs of stress. Jazz has endured grooming/handling all his life, he is a fantastic dog that has no fear of injections/needles/vets. At this point I spoke up and said that they needed to make him more comfortable and then he would be still, the combination of pushing him to sit, then a headlock had twisted his body and his legs were at a terrible angle. I got a Black look......but at least Jazz was able to lie on his side, and didn't fidget whilst blood was taken.
So all you dog owners, you know your dog better than any vet. If you think your dog will bite a vet or you, then be fair and warn the vet, there will be less stress on the dog if you muzzle it in the carpark. My attitude is that if for any reason any of my dogs were to try and bite, then it would be me that got bitten.
If you are not happy about handling, then speak out but be prepared that your dog is your responsibility and if you can't touch your dogs leg, then why expect a vet to be able to, why should they risk being bitten? Handle your dogs well, then you will never have problems :)