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Taking Your Dog's Health Into Your Own Hands


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Guest newyorkgrey

Any comments on taking your dog's health into your own hands when the vets fail you? I know the stories are out there. I'm thousands of dollars into what had been a fairly simple fracture, with my dog in worse shape now five months later than if I'd done nothing. Moral support anecdotes would be much appreciated.

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I've been the one making suggestions to my vet for meds for my dogs for years based on experiences and guidance from this forum. You just need to trust that your vet is open minded and wants what is best for your furkids.

 

Have you gone to another vet for second or third opinions?

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It's unclear from your post if you want advice or just positive vibes. Here's the latter {{{HUGS}}} because I know first hand how hard it can be dealing with a complicated medical diagnosis.

 

And here's the former:

 

In my opinion, you should always have your pets healthcare firmly in your own hand. You *have* to be their advocate because they can't talk for themselves. You also know your own dog best, and only you can evaluate the efficacy of the care you've received. If you have any question at all about it, you should be out the door and looking for second, third, fourth opinion on treatment. When an injury or illness drags on, it can be frustrating and expensive, and it's hard to know just what to do. That's where an objective, outside opinion can be really useful.

 

If you post your general part of the country, there might be some suggestions from members here about greyhound savvy vets you might contact.

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How frustrating this must be for you. All you want are answers and a healthy, happy dog again.

 

I recently switched vets when my regular couldn't diagnose what turned out to be a dermal hermangiosarcoma. I was fed up with my dog oozing blood for weeks. Second vet figured it out. My Percy was usual oblivious self.

 

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Fuzzy was suffering with some kind of upset stomach, causing him constant diarrhea. I took him to the vet where we tried all kinds of tests, special foods, medication and said "hold on" when we starting talking about stomach scopes and biopsies. I know my dog, and he wouldn't be happy with any more tests at that point. I had spent $1300 over three weeks and my dog was no better than when I brought him in. I was told he might have pancreatitis, not digesting proteins, a protein allergy, etc.

 

Some friends suggested the Veterinarian's Potato Diet, slippery elm bark and a novel single protein. Within 12 hours on the potato diet, the boy was better.

 

Sometimes, and I don't mean always, you have to go with your gut. Does the diagnosis change the treatment, or does the absolute knowing of what is the cause, make a difference.

 

We have a doctor here, not a vet, who says he treats the patient, not the x-ray.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
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from what i remember your original posts showed a positive feeling about your dog's orthopedic care from your current vet. it sounded like treatment progressed in a systemic way and there were some improvements. it's most unfortunate that the outcome has not been favorable, but you did stick with what sounded like a good program as outlined by your vet. of course we all have guilt and feel awful when problems manifest and things go south. it's possible that another vet could have made some other calls, but it's the luck of the draw, not all breaks and mends work out. how is your IG now? it's very very possible that he could be in the same boat even if you had changed vets, there were some good comments posted about your vet. look into the future, healing, rehab and good thoughts. it's not your fault!!!

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I DEFINITELY have taken my dogs lives in my own hands. They've got no one else to speak for them. The first really bad incident was when they ripped apart Minny's hip by being too lazy to move him properly when he was non-ambulatory. God it was so pitiful-he hurt so bad and could not even put weight on it. More recently about a year ago Bobber SUFFERED FOR ~4.5 HOURS AND DIED after another incompetent boob I had rushed her to when her hind legs suddenly became paralyzed sent her home(still paralyzed and in a terrible state) with a bottle of prednisone making light of it and telling me that 'oh she'll be fine'-"the biggest problem you'll have is keeping her from over doing it as she gets better." This same dog had been having 500+ protein in the urine for years and was being treated there for it. Did the dummies consider a blood clot? No! It was Friday evening. They collected their emergency fee and went home- to hell with us. Not being a vet I did not know then WHAT I DO NOW about such cases. I now know it was gross negligence- that she should have been admitted, given fluids, probably needed a catheter, pain addressed, and diagnostic work done immediately. NOW I WOULD DEMAND responsible appropriate treatment in such an emergency. I have learned my intuition and gut feelings are MORE trustworthy indicators of my dogs conditions and what they need then some quack who don't give a twit about MY dog and just wants to take the money and run home and enjoy their weekend. So yes I am now admittedly a bitch when it comes to my dogs being treated APPROPRIATELY. I have no intention of seeing anymore SUFFER and DIE because some vet don't care or is incompetent. With Bobbers history-especially in view of the fact that spinal x-ray was negative- blood clot should have been the FIRST thing that should have been suspected! But the vet was too busy thinking about her weekend and too incompetent to even consider it! or even treat her properly. So as a result I had to watch her suffer and die before I could find a competent vet to take her to. And I did not even mention the e vet that sent Slim HOME with me WHEN HIS LEG WAS BROKEN! That one did not even have enough sense to take x-rays. I had to take him to a second vet to get his broken leg diagnosed and treated. And by the way I have NAMES and will be happy to provide them privately. I will never forget them or what they did to my babies. Especially the one who told me "It's not about compassion."

 

Sorry for the rant but after what I've been thorough it don't take much to set me off on this topic. It HURT so bad seeing my babies treated like they were. And BTW I always took them to the best most big shot expensive supposed to be competent places in a large metropolitan area. So it wasn't like I was taking them to some el cheapo jack leg out in the sticks somewhere. "Taking your dogs health into your own hands? You better believe I have. I WILL speak for my babies; I WILL DEMAND PROPER attention. They have no one else to speak for them. I wish like hell I would have known more so I could have spoke up for Bobber before it actually resulted in a painful suffering death BECAUSE I TRUSTED THE QUACK VET. It won't happen again. If my instinct is telling me they need care then I am by god going to see that they get it NO MATTER what some airhead vet says. I will NEVER NEVER trust them again.

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Guest newyorkgrey

Thanks for the responses. I have been to three vets (includes two hospitals) in my area with only one hospital/ortho specialist left in NYC for me to try, and I'm deathly afraid of having this place try to sell me something else that won't work. Her leg is so deformed from careless work but it is still part of her body, and I see her using it. I'm okay with rehab and an orthotic. I'm not okay with amputation, and over my dead body would I let the chop shop hospital I went to last week do a major operation on my dog.

 

I did start saying what I want for my dog, and if I make a bad decision, then I can blame myself. I am inspired by a partial amputation and prosthetic I saw online for a whippet. Take a look: https://3dprint.com/117248/romina-whippet-3d-prosthetic/

 

racindog I'm so sorry to hear you lost a dog to a bad diagnosis. When this hard sell amputation vet accused me of being cheap and tried to scare me with worse case scenarios if I did not do an amputation ASAP - even telling me an orthotic could break her leg - I could not get away from him fast enough.

 

I would do exactly the right thing for my dog if I knew what it was, so I'm observing her carefully and learning as much as possible to get her on the mend. We have been through five months of endless vet visits with nothing going right, but neither one of us dropped dead over it. I feel like as long as we have no danger of infection, then only time and my loving care will get the most for her.

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Thanks for the responses. I have been to three vets (includes two hospitals) in my area with only one hospital/ortho specialist left in NYC for me to try, and I'm deathly afraid of having this place try to sell me something else that won't work. Her leg is so deformed from careless work but it is still part of her body, and I see her using it. I'm okay with rehab and an orthotic. I'm not okay with amputation, and over my dead body would I let the chop shop hospital I went to last week do a major operation on my dog.

 

I did start saying what I want for my dog, and if I make a bad decision, then I can blame myself. I am inspired by a partial amputation and prosthetic I saw online for a whippet. Take a look: https://3dprint.com/117248/romina-whippet-3d-prosthetic/

 

racindog I'm so sorry to hear you lost a dog to a bad diagnosis. When this hard sell amputation vet accused me of being cheap and tried to scare me with worse case scenarios if I did not do an amputation ASAP - even telling me an orthotic could break her leg - I could not get away from him fast enough.

 

I would do exactly the right thing for my dog if I knew what it was, so I'm observing her carefully and learning as much as possible to get her on the mend. We have been through five months of endless vet visits with nothing going right, but neither one of us dropped dead over it. I feel like as long as we have no danger of infection, then only time and my loving care will get the most for her.

Exactly. Nothing will heal her any better than your love! God bless you both, Just follow your heart & intuition and I am sure you will have the best outcome. I can see you already know this thank goodness.

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Guest xengab

Could you contact the people who did the prosthetic for the whippet? Get as much information from them as you can and armed with that, go see the new ortho.

 

We have the pushy vets in my area too, this is why we go to a vet 45 minutes away who owns greyhounds.. We always get told our options, and we decide what we need to do after finding out from other owners and our adoption group what they'd do in taht situation. My boy had a toe injury. Was swollen, he limped after running around and cried out a few times. So we did the steps to find out what it was. Basically scar tissue that had inflamed surrounding tissue. Most likely a racing injury that had healed then he'd re-hurt. We'd been told to amp the toe. Hrmm no. Just didnt feel right. So we were given other options. And chose one of those which worked great!
Never in that time were we made to feel shame, or guilt or whatever for choosing that option. We'd had consults with a surgeon we trusted, never felt like we wasted his time either. Any vet that does that should be ashamed! We are our dogs advocates..

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Guest newyorkgrey

That's great advice grey pup. I started this journey thinking the vets knew more than I did and turned a corner realizing I need to learn as much as possible so I can be an advocate. I'm actually in contact with a local 3D printer manufacturer and feeling my way toward finding the vets who can help bridge to a solution. We are now three weeks past the push to amputate, and I can't believe my dog is starting to use the malformed leg they were so inclined to remove. We are taking her care one day at a time, and as long as she is not experiencing trauma, we will plot our health care moves instead of reacting to vets.

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I don't know where in NY you are, but I am in NYC. We have an amazing vet out on LI. Dr. Friedman at A&A veterinary hospital in Franklin Sq. He knows greyhounds and their specific health issues better then any vet in NY. He is a diplomat of veterinary medicine, has been a long time greyhound owner and the local groups use him for pretty much everything greyhound related. Dr. Friedman has been my vet for 20 years-which is how long I have been a greyhound owner. And his advise has always been spot on. I trusted him with all of my greyhounds and never got anything but the best advise and care. Try him before you go anywhere else.

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Guest newyorkgrey

I will check it out. I'm in communication with vets who offer rehab and partial amputations, which I did not realize was rarely offered at most vets/hospitals. And the more I advocate for my dog, what do you know, the better she is getting. The current people at least have the tact to say they would be happy to work with me on the option I choose and are the first to say a malunion on a fracture is not the end of the world - or end of a limb. I will update my findings as things progress. Meanwhile, had I caved in to the suggestion to amputate (which was the only suggestion that last surgeon was really interested in) I would not own dog getting around on 4 legs right now. Even running a little, toward the peanut butter kong of course. Thanks to everyone on this site for sharing resources!

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Not all vets are Greyhound savvy. As a health care worker and 20 years of having hounds and learning their needs, we, as "parents" to our hounds, are their advocates. It is, therefore, imperative that we learn as much as possible about their health care needs. I am blessed here in Miami, with a vet who has worked with me on becoming a Greyhound vet. I gave him all the articles from Dr Couto and other Greyhound vets and I know right where he keeps them in his office. As a member of Greyhound Health Initiative, I am grateful to have that option for consults if required. My vet has also joined GHI and as new information comes out, he incorporates it into his practice. There is also now Amicar in his office... As Greyhound parents, check with your adoption group to see if they can give you a list of Greyhound savvy vets in your area. Read up on hound health issues and their special needs. You would do as much for your human child! Why not your hound child? There are good resources and articles on the internet and valuable resources right here on this board. As hound parents who have taken responsibility for a hound and its health and wellbeing, our job is to educate, advocate and communicate for them. Hope for Hounds has started a free e-mail list that will send out new updates as they come in as well as info about new programs. It costs nothing to sign up for it. There is a thread on it in the health and medical forum. It is also helpful to network with other hound owners in your area. We can learn from each other. I am grateful to see this thread and hope that all goes well for the hounds discussed. I am also happy that more and more people are making the effort to educate themselves. This just makes me love the global greyhound community that much more. Nuff said....

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Guest newyorkgrey

We had greyhounds growing up, and while the last retired racers my mother rescued did not live long lives, we were otherwise spared what I've been going through. I did hire a great trainer when I got my first dog, so of course she trained me well on how smart my four legged kids are! For any following my threads or who may come across this searching for their own answers, I threatened to sue the vet and surgeon who mangled my dog's leg. Not a path I wanted to take, but I felt I had a strong case. They settled very quickly and returned the thousands of dollars I spent in their hospital to me. I am now learning all about re-epitheliazation as she regenerates multiple layers of skin that were worn off from excessive splinting, and I'm trying out the hydrogel the vet told me was no good. I've done my fair research on sugar/honey and wet wound healing, and she is healing! We are taking the healing process one day at a time, and I am using my best judgement to advocate what I understand about her health and well-being, instead of running my credit card in response to scare tactics. I have an appointment next week with a rehabilitative vet, which will be a third opinion.

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Update: we are very close to making it to a rehab clinic, but when I pressed for answers based on what I would get for my consultation I was told they would not take her out of the splint she is in to look at the leg, that I would have to go through their AMC emergency room to have someone else at the hospital take it off. I went into a mad scramble to find a vet who would remove it, as it was past due to get her out of it, and stumbled upon a vet who gave me a price 1/3rd of the hospital and listened to everything I said. This time I said no to x-rays. My dog either uses the leg when and how she wants or doesn't.

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Guest newyorkgrey

No, AMC did not perform the surgery that damaged my dog's leg. Originally I went to a Brooklyn vet who has a relationship with Blue Pearl and where a visiting surgeon - who apparently performs surgeries at half the vets in Brooklyn - performed the negligent surgery.

 

I tried to email the vet you named earlier at AMC, and he never got back to me. Only by extensive googling did I discover the rehab center at AMC, and I was afraid the same thing would happen, that I would get no response. However, the rehab center got back to me right away. It takes weeks to get an appointment with their specialists, so in the meantime I went to VERG, which I did not like. No emails returned from VERG, no treatment plan issued, etc. When AMC told me they would only change out a bandage through emergency - because they are primarily a hospital - I had to hit google again and by luck found another primary vet within blocks of me who does her own surgeries. She gave me another quote for amputation and another opinion. I hope that makes sense. We have been around!

 

Anyhow, we have now had our first visit at AMC and are scheduled to get a mold of her leg made for an orthotic next week. AMC has actually been fantastic and very helpful in keeping costs down by letting me know what the primary vet can take care of so that I don't spend money at the emergency hospital for care a primary vet can handle. In a few weeks she will be fitted out with an orthotic and our lengthy ordeal will wind down. The orthotic will be made by a company in Denver who I am already in communication with. I will post on the progress because I know other people are anxiously googling for answers as well. Right now I am feeling better than ever about my dog's future. AMC is pretty much my fourth opinion and the only one set up to prescribe orthotics. The place making the orthotic is http://www.orthopets.com

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest newyorkgrey

UPDATE: I did not move forward with AMC. They informed me they would need to sedate my dog to make a mold of her leg, to which I agreed. I paid for a blood test from my new vet, and from there AMC said they wanted to do dietary testing prior to sedation. We went back and forth over emails, with me trying to understand if this had anything to do with the sedation or whether they were trying to sell me a diet package. AMC had tried to sell me a diet package from the get go, which was nothing more than them using a free online website to generate a diet for my dog. So, we started going further and further away from the pressing need to find a solution for the leg and the potential of racking up ten thousand dollars in rehab and dietary programs came into view. I was not going to go that route. Also, I could not get them to clarify if they thought my dog was at risk for sedation, and I certainly was not going to put her under for a leg mold.

 

So, I jumped into 3D printing and made my own orthotic, did a few days of training to get my dog accustomed to me touching her leg and went forward. She's doing pretty good. It will take me a few more prototypes to get the right combination of materials, weight, etc. My first print cost $20 and I did it through 3dhub.com.

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I have always felt that you were on the right track and her continued improvement supports this. She is so lucky to have you. You have saved her from a great deal of crap from greedy service providers who care more about $$ than dogs imo.

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Guest newyorkgrey

Latest update: my second prototype is a "SAM" splint inside a deerskin sleeve and fastened with velcro. She ate the third prototype! That one was a "SAM" splint inside a flexible ace bandage style sleeve with lighter velcro fasteners. She shredded the ace bandage. The dogs also ripped a hole in their latest bed and were frolicking around tearing out the fluff, so I added some of the fluff inside the deerskin sleeve. It's soft, cushy light and strong. We are a little over a week into this, and I can't believe how she has taken to me putting it on her. Her paw swelled a couple of times, but that is gone. The leg is very crooked but even after a week of use it is about twice as robust as it was from being spoon splinted for six months. Watching her try to swat a bone off a coffee table with the leg made my day.

 

By the way, SAM means Structural Aluminum Malleable. They are super lightweight, and I found them on Amazon. My plastic prototype was just too heavy. I've got this latest splint weighing in at about 2 ounces, and the deerskin takes the shape of the leg, so making a mold of her leg was not critical after all. I will continues posting updates for the sake of any who might come to this site looking for guidance or alternate approaches.

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