How could they not know? Cases of client cluelessness in veterinary medicine
Some clients are sweet as sugar…but clueless. Here’s a recent example: Owner on her way to a ballet recital with her daughter spies kitty in the driveway unable to rise. Pressed for time she scoops him up and encloses him in his top-clip cardboard kitty carrier. Arrives ten minutes later to drop him off with a complaint of: cannot walk.
Thus informed by the reception staff after the client’s long gone, I hurry him back for a look-see. For sure George can’t walk. His cardboard carrier’s full of blood and scooping him up gently ensures I get a good look at his problem: a dangling leg, crushed at the hock (ankle).
I mean, how do you miss that??
Busy a s our lives are I can understand some degree of unawareness of our pets’ issues. But a broken leg? Ouch!
Help me out here? How to understand this one…
Then Monday’s. Three year-old Bull mastiff comes back from his weekend stint at the kennel with bloody diarrhea—they’d changed his food and he’s notoriously GI sensitive. He’s looking skinny and sluggish but puts on a good show of perkiness at the office. Full labs are normal save the blood in the stool and a slight elevation in his white blood cell count.
Owner calls yesterday afternoon as requested, reports that said Bull mastiff is looking crappy (a medical term) but can’t come in. After I’m gone for the day he calls in a panic saying things are declining. The receptionist sends him to the 24 ER.
This morning first thing I’m busy trying to get down the first part of this post and he screeches in on two tires with the dog flat out with a temp over 106 and pouring bloody diarrhea. Just before sitting down to finish this post the poor boy died in a fit of seizures and a sudden discharge of copious brown fluid from both nostrils.
Could it have been prevented if he’d taken the receptionist’s advice and stayed overnight at the ER? I don’t know.The diagnosis still eludes me and the techs are collecting samles as I write this. But it’s still hard to believe that a dog this sick could’ve lain overnight in a blistering fever without medical attention.
These are the cases that stress me out. In the end, neither animal lacked for medical care. But client awareness and action was inexplicable in both circumstances. I don’t get it. Help me figure it out.