Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Veteran and the Vet

It's Sunday and the old girl Abbey is clearly not a well dog. Because she is profoundly deaf and almost blind its sometimes hard to tell. She is very lethargic which in itself is not unusual and she is not interested in food or drink. This is not unusual either as she is very picky over what and when she will eat or drink. I had to check her temperature using the hand on the belly technique, she seemed to be a bit warmer than usual. Then she started with the squirts. This leaves us with a dilemma, we can't let her out on the towpath because that risks every other passing dogs might be infected. As look would have it, we still had a bag of puppy training pads available from when the younger dog was a pup. It was all hands to the pumps so to speak.

We are moored out in the sticks and so finding a vet would be difficult. Compounded by the fact that it is Sunday and most practices would be closed. We were advised by a vet a long time ago to get a bottle of Pepto Bismol as a fast fix for us and the dogs when we were out on the boat. Medicines intended for humans are usually not good for a dog. However, Pepto is fine to use as long as a sensible dosage is used. 1ml per 5kg of dog. In Abbeys case, that would be 3.5 ml. So first I used the syringe to get some fluids directly into her mouth. I managed to get 20ml in followed by a dose of Pepto. Then I continued at a rate of 10ml of warm water every 30 mins.

Now it was time to move to somewhere where we might be able to summon a vet if needed. Both of our dogs are registered with a 'national vet group' and a look up on line showed that one vet in the group further along the waterway was open on a Sunday. Three hours later and we were moored up in close proximity to a main road and the  large nearby town. Information published on the internet might not be up-to-date. I gave the practice a call to establish that they were open, should we need them.

I explained that I was checking that they were open for business. That we had an old girl who was not well. The first question was 'Are you registered with us?' No I says, 'we are about seventy miles away from our own vet. But they are registered with the 'national vet group'. Through which I had found their address and information on the website. 'There is an £80 pound registration charge' I'm informed. 'Plus as you are not already registered with us there are additional weekend charges as well. There will be a consultation fee and then the costs of any treatment.' I said 'We would have difficulty in transporting the dog and we might actually want a vet to call on us.' Would you like to make an appointment?' enquires the voice on the phone. What will it cost I enquire - '£230 plus the treatment charges, inclusive of the call out charge, but excluding the consultation fee' I'm informed. So doing a bit of mental gymnastics I make that circa £320. I politely declined the offer.

I felt guilty, but felt I should make a point of principal. Later in the evening I gave her a second but reduced dose and more fluids. The squirts abated her tummy had stopped gurgling and she had a good night of unbroken sleep (though that did not extend to me) and  this morning she was clearly much better. She has been up and walking around but turned her nose up at her usual morning cup of tea - which in itself is not unusual.  But the indicator of general health, her tail was almost erect.  In fact she was very much herself.

The old girl is insured though we would stand the first £100 cost of treatment. To be honest the charges are the last thing I would be worried about. It was the daylight robbery being practised that got to me. Then we are a nation of dog lovers and easy targets for the rip off merchants.  So for the next few days I shall be out chatting to the local dog owners walking the towpath and telling them of our experience. I'm sure that will soon spread around the locality.

As for the 'national vet group' where we have had experienced excellent service in several of their outlets while boating the system. A rather long letter of the contrasts in our experiences, amongst their members, will be landing on the doormat any day now. 

Update 2 Click Here
Update 3 Click Here

1 comment:

  1. It seems more about money and profit than animal welfare nowadays. Many people are now no longer able to afford to keep a pet due to the ridiculous vets fees and crazy insurance costs. Our dogs premium is now over £400 per year, but you can't risk not having cover. I'm afraid we will need to think twice before giving another rescue dog a home : ( Glad Abbey seems to be on the mend.


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