I’m not an idiot so don’t treat me like one. A.K.A Why must some vets be dicks?

17 Jul

As true snobs, we love our vets. Who else is as interested in our dogs’ poop as we are? Most vets are awesome people doing a relatively thankless job for very little reward other than maybe not getting anal-glands squirted on them occasionally.

It is a pretty good reason to not wear that ugly Bridesmaid’s dress.


There are however exceptions to the rule and we’re going to bitch about them.


I, Potnoodle, am going to start off with a story of the event that kicked off this blog entry. First, you must know a little back story. I work for a person who owns dogs. Sometimes I am responsible for the care of those dogs. Recently, my boss has been ill so I’ve been more responsible. I work Monday through Friday. I came in yesterday morning to find a slightly smelly crate. No big deal, loose stool happens. It was bath day anyway. As the day went on, I noticed the dog responsible for the loose stool was a little lethargic. OK. I alerted my boss and my boss’s spouse and gave a dose of flagyl that the regular vet has prescribed for emergency loose-stool issues (because what doesn’t that fix, right?) This morning (Tuesday) I came in to  no accident but a very lethargic dog that didn’t want to eat. Off to the vet we go, after consulting with my boss. I knew shit was going down hill when I arrived and realized which vet was on duty. The normal vet is an older guy, up on the latest info but not unwilling to go olds-school if needed. He’s got a great personality and listens to what the owner has to say. And then there’s the younger guy. He’s arrogant, to say the least.  Also, I’m pretty sure he’s a backyard breeder of Caucasian Ovcharkas… but that’s off topic.

Anyway, I got there and described the dog’s symptoms, what had been going on, and his instant reaction is “Parvo.” Which, okay. It’s that time of year.  Maybe if I had just picked this dog up at the shelter or  from some byb. However, that is not the situation here. The dog hadn’t even been to a show recently and she’s not a fucking puppy. So, my reaction is. “Well, no vomit and it doesn’t really smell like Parvo to me.”

“Well, it does to me.” he says, before running a barrage of tests and telling me how traumatic Parvo is. At this point, he’s convinced me. I mean, he’s a vet right? He surely wouldn’t go on a rant about parvo if the dog wasn’t extremely likely to have parvo…. right? I’m ready to burn my clothes, bleach the house… all of it. After an excruciating wait, he breezes back in the room and doesn’t even mention parvo. Starts going over results with me.

“So wait, it isn’t parvo?”

“No, but it might be A, B, or C”

DUDE. I was having a fucking panic attack. You can’t just come back in and start prattling about fluids and bacteria in the gut.  All these scare tactics because I gave the dog a flagyl … the exact thing you’re going to give the dog in the back room as soon as I leave? What a bag of dicks. A bag of dicks that sent the dog home… with flagyl, two days later. To clarify, I have no issue with the man treating the dog and doing whatever is needed. That’s why I brought her in. I do have issue with the condescension.


No work dog photos allowed...so have a Poodle

No work dog photos allowed…so have a Poodle

When I moved to Florida against my will and kicking and screaming, I kept my inherited dogs with the vet they had been with previously. Why not? They have emergency services, a decent enough pile of clinicians and can always fit you in even if it will take three hours. Now in this practice there were about 5 vets, but by sheer misfortune I always got the same one, let’s call him Assbags McGee. Dr. McGee is what one could call a pompous jackass. Questions about the effectiveness about a new Flea/Tick topical carried by the practice gleaned “Just use Frontline every two weeks, it’s the same thing” (No, it really isn’t), and over the realistic recovery time on my then elderly Jack Russell’s large lipoma removal was “I wouldn’t bother since I doubt the wound would heal but we’ll do it if you want” (Expertly not answering the question) and lastly my choice to Ivomec most months earned a lecture on how the dosing was impossible and I’d surely kill the dog with my lack of ability to do simple math. Yeah. Thanks asshole. Helpful. Anyway, lack of other local emergency options kept me there with reservation. I would very occasionally get my preferred vet there but Dr. McGee still managed to be there all the damn time. Even requesting the specific vet, the desk would screw it up half the time. An incident with Beatrice was my personal breaking point. I’ve been back twice to pick up management prescriptions for the oldest dog but have moved everyone else to my current practice and have no intention of ever returning for anything beyond maintenance on the 17 year old. As it happens the practice was recently and not very publicly sold to a conglomerate and now only Assbags McGee and his partner in shitty medicine, Bitchburga MacGuinty (Yes, the ulcer on the the bitch’s cornea is obviously the 3rd eyelid, good catch Dr. Magoo… The university vet wasn’t scratching his head over that one at all…)  is left. We now take the extra 20 minutes to go to the university run emergency clinic up the road. It’s not worth the idiocy and expense of the headache and misdiagnoses.

Sweet Bea

Sweet Bea



When I first brought Mr. T home at 9 weeks old from the shelter, he had some minor hair loss and a rash.  A few days after having him home, I took him to a local vet down the street from us.  The vet informed me that it looked like a mild case of demodex mange and that he would need to do a scrape to confirm.  Not long after, he came back into the room and informed me that it was indeed demodex and that we could start treatment immediately.  Being a new dog owner, I agreed to his treatment plan and let him dip baby Mr. T in a Mitaban dip.  I asked the vet if there was anything to watch out for, and he assured me it was safe and not to worry.  I admit that I should have done my own research, but I was a first time dog owner and so taken aback by the diagnosis that I didn’t give it much thought.  Turns out that was a mistake.  Just a few hours later, Mr. T’s entire body was bright red and vomiting, he felt hot to the touch, and had terrible diarrhea.   I immediately called the vet who did the treatment who assured me that everything was fine and to give it time and quite frankly, talked down to me like I was some neurotic puppy owner.  At this point, I knew I had to trust my gut, so I ended up having to rush Mr. T to an emergency vet to have him treated for his severe reaction to the dip.  The vet at the ER was amazing and took the time to explain everything to me, helped me ease my guilt for not knowing better, and took excellent care of my pup.  Turns out that Mitaban dips are never recommended for puppies less than 4 months old and are usually only considered in more severe cases.  Poor pup never should have gotten dipped. After Mr. T recovered, I called the original vet office and was bounced around voicemail and vet-tech and “conveniently” was never able to actually get ahold of the vet despite trying for weeks.  When I stopped by, the receptionist was incredibly rude to me and insinuated it was my fault that my puppy had gotten so ill.   While I take some responsibility in not being a more knowledgeable consumer, it infuriates me that this vet did a risky treatment on a young puppy and never bothered to follow up or return my calls.   You sir, are an asshole and a terrible vet…or at least that is what my Yelp review said until you deleted it.

Baby Mr. T says, “I pity the fool who gives shitty care to this adorable face”

Baby Mr. T says, “I pity the fool who gives shitty care to this adorable face”


We have vet readers, we know. We love our vets. We trust them with our dog’s care on a regular basis. We also know that some vets get clients that come in and have already diagnosed their dogs or act like their dog is dying because it had some soft stool. WE AREN’T THOSE PEOPLE. We didn’t come in demanding meds. We came in looking for a diagnosis and we want you to take the time to explain that diagnosis. We don’t want to be a page ahead of you, we just want you to keep us on the same page and give us good care. These are our pets (And Potnoodle does love the dogs at work like her own, you only have to be Facebook friends with her to know that.) When a loved one is ill, there’s a lot of stress. All we ask is that you calmly, and without overstating or understating anything, help us understand what the fuck is going on.

19 Responses to “I’m not an idiot so don’t treat me like one. A.K.A Why must some vets be dicks?”

  1. Former dog owner July 17, 2014 at 1:54 am #

    I was so glad when I found my late dog’s last vet. He was the best. We had one vet that stabbed my dog with scissors to “empty” her impacted anal sacs. Yep, you bet that vet was never allowed to touch my dog again.

  2. Amy s. July 17, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    I had a cat who had drastic hair loss… were talking 50%, skin and hair. New to the area I took him to a local Upscale clinic, after looking at him, they gave me antibiotics and charged me $125 for “we don’t know what’s wrong with him.” at the time I work at the local hospital and we had a vet that would drop samples of for us. Ok why not… so I asked him, described the symptoms and he says, Sounds like a food allergy, why don’t you bring him by” So I did.. diagnosis, food allergy with ringworm mixed in, food change and “the Pill” and he was good as new… cost $80 and they kept him 3 days. I love my vet!!! He came in on a Sunday to Euthanize my beloved cat and didn’t charge me. Truly a man who does it for the animals!!!

  3. Kim July 17, 2014 at 2:08 am #

    Well said, as always. Yes, just like in human docs, the plethora of asshats abounds in veterinary medicine the same as in medicine for bipeds. It takes years for us experienced pet owners to properly train a vet not to treat us like we’re a bunch of first graders on a school field trip. 😉

  4. Lisa C July 17, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    I have a really good vet, the issue is getting to see him as he is often doing farm/home visits. He speaks to me like a human, he ask me things about the breed that he might not know, and he agrees with my plans for my boy.

    Every other vet at the clinic talks down to me, questions every little thing, then seems surprised that I am doing the right thing. Oh and they have been lecturing me into desexing my boy since 3 months of age! (Yes I have already explained that I show him and either way will be waiting for him to mature).

    Obviously these vets have to deal with shits of owners, but it would be nice if they approached people as doing the right thing, rather than everyone must be doing the wrong thing.

  5. H. Houlahan July 17, 2014 at 3:16 am #

    Rosie got her teeth kicked in by a deer that she had attempted to roust from the orchard. Saturday night, emergency vet.

    So there we are with our bleeding and in-pain bitch standing stoically on the exam table.

    I inform Doctor Autoresponse that she is four years old, is in standing estrus, will be taking a road trip to meet the stud of her dreams on Monday, and will be a prima para. Because I know she’s going to need anesthesia and honestly don’t know whether some or all this information is relevant.

    The switch flips in Dr. Auto’s clockwork, and he commences the lecture on Responsible Pet Ownership and Spaying For Health and Puppies Need A Lot of Care. The lecture that uses Very Small Words So Teh Stoopid Can Understand.

    Really? Really, Doc? We are going to have this conversation while my working partner bleeds in front of you? Because you can’t be bothered to absorb a single context cue that would tell you who the hell you are talking to?

    Because Betty Backyard Breeder always waits until her bitch is four to plan a litter, drive out of state to make it happen, and correctly uses the term prima para. Or estrus, for that matter.

    I later learned at my regular vet’s that this guy had lost quite a few jobs due to his remarkable rapport with both clients and coworkers. Somehow it made sense to put him on the graveyard shift at the emergency vet, where he’d be dealing with clients who were under more than the normal amount of stress.

    He did a nice job fixing up her mouth, though.

  6. Jeannine DeWald July 17, 2014 at 6:12 am #

    “All we ask is that you calmly, and without overstating or understating anything, help us understand what the fuck is going on.” And it would also be nice if the vet would make sure s/he KNOWS what’s going on. I nearly lost my heart dog not long ago because the morons at the clinic sent him home with THREE TIMES the dose of doxycycline recommended for his weight. When I called to report his constant vomiting, dry heaving, and refusal to drink, I was told that this was normal and to keep giving the doxy for two weeks. I told them that based on my research I believed he was being overdosed, and they refused to even consider the possibility. So with a hearty (though silent) “Fuck you very much”, I cut back to the appropriate dose, and he recovered nicely.

    Then there’s the local clinic who insisted that my 11-year-old bitch have a parvo shot the morning she went in for surgery. I told them that they plainly didn’t think she HAD parvo, or they wouldn’t have taken her at all; and that even if she were exposed to parvo in their clinic, a shot the same day wouldn’t protect her because the antibodies had no time to build up. I finally managed to bludgeon them into taking her sans shot, provided that I sign a form that I was doing so against medical advice. Grrrr. The vets at this clinic are nice people, but the techs and receptionists are money-grubbing leeches.

  7. paigeandspaniels July 17, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    I am so glad that I have never had a bad experience at my vet. In the 90’s our family dog fell through our trap door in a pool deck and our vet’s office was closed because they were gone to a seminar or something. We took our other dog to the vet in town, but called and left a message on their machine. They heard the message and called to have their secretary open the office and send our dog’s file to the other vet in case they needed it to treat our dog. We’re forever thankful for that.

    They’ve gone above and beyond for so many of our pets and the pets of family members/friends. I couldn’t imagine going through what you all have.

    I will say that when I moved to a new city I did take my dogs to a new vet just for convenience and I didn’t like it. I got a different vet every single time I went, none of them actually knew who my dogs were. I decided I’d rather drive back to my hometown for their vaccinations and physicals then deal with that practice.

  8. Chris July 17, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    If I had a dime for every good vet I know I’d have 10 cents in my pocket.

  9. Anne July 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    Vaccination controvery- Go! My ‘current’ (about to be replaced) vet all but salivated at the prospect of starting conventional vaccination protocols on my new pup. When I told her we were going to follow an alternative protocol I got the ‘doom, gloom and misery- your pup is in DANGER’ warnings followed by “you know Dr. D’s protocol is very controversial in the vet community”. Sure- lowers their profit margin. Then she had the nerve to ask if I had a copy of the protocol so she could read it! Warn me off of it? Sure! Demean it? Go ahead! But at least know what the flip you’re talking about!!!!!

  10. Juli Goodrich July 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    I have had one really bad experience. I learned from it and screen my vet offices really carefully now. My oldest dog, many years ago now, needed a nail trim. I had not been a good owner, and hadn’t realized a lifestyle change was causing her nails to need more regular trims, and they got LONG. The discount vet nearby, when we went for vaccines, suggested that when she came in for dental, that they also do what they called a show trim on her nails.

    Long story short, while she was under, they trimmed her nails and quicks back to 1/4″, stopped up the ends of her nails with quickstop, and sent her home. No meds, no after care, no education on what to watch for. A little while later, she started limping. When I checked her feet, the nails had grown out a bit, and the ones that were not splintered, were full of a milky liquid. Back to the vet. Hubby had to take her due to my work schedule, and he was even less assertive with vets than I was.

    According to him, they slapped a muzzle on my unresisting dog, flipped her onto her back, and proceeded, while she screamed in pain, to cut & clean all of her nails. They sent him home with her, with only an antibiotic. This dog had previously busted into every vet like she owned the joint, stood calmly and quietly for exams and vaccines, and stood rock steady when I did nail trims.

    When I got home, she didn’t want to get off the couch. I called and was told that the vet didn’t want her to have anything for the pain, because she needed to clot. I informed them that my dog was in pain, so they could either give me something for her, or I could pitch a right royal fit. Eventually, after much phone abuse, they told me how much baby aspirin I could give her.

    I also started a search for a new vet. Found a great one, and started the long, slow, slog of working through all of her new fears and issues in partnership with my wonderful new vet. She is now comfortable at her vet’s and I can do her nails. She is 13 now, and is still a little broken, but we manage. In the long run, this did expose me to the importance of digging deeply into attitudes and policies of your vet. My current vet is wonderful, reassuring when I do have a cancer scare with my beasts, and when I have good info or questions about medications, she listens and checks.

  11. Stacey July 17, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    I had a vet tell me my puppy would get “testosterone poison” if I didn’t neuter him soon. This was after the desk staff asked me if I was trying to make my puppy aggressive by playing tug with him. (The sits and downs between rounds of tugging were obviously missed.) Never went back.

  12. Stephanie July 18, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    As a relatively new vet grad I am never ceased to be amazed by the range of competence and attitudes in my fellow collegues. My emotions regularly run the gambit from “I am so proud to be in the same profession as these wonderful people” to “I wish an asshole test was required for licensing”. What I have learned though, even about the vets that I like to distance myself from, is that there is still the perfect client out there for them or doesn’t want to work with their vet, but just wants to be told what to do. Not how I do things but sometimes the variety helps everyone find the person they want to work with for their pets

    • Cj Landry July 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      I will agree. I had recommended my personal vet to an acquaintance. Later they called me to tell me the vet asked to many questions. They just wanted their dogs shots and from now on they would go to the mobil shot clinic…SMH

  13. originalwacky July 18, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Oh, the days of dealing with vets that think they are the best thing ever and that no pet owner could possibly have done any research at all, or maybe learned something in the years growing up on a farm, working in animal rescue, and owning dozens of animals. I’ve had vets tell me that I’m going to poison or kill my dogs by feeding them raw, that not neutering when they are young WILL cause severe issues, that my dogs are aggressive because of (insert whatever ridiculously untrue idea they come up with here), and all sorts of things.

    When I find a vet who will listen to me and treat me like a partner in caring for my pets, I’m SO going to try my best to be able to stay with them. One of my better vets was leery about raw feeding, but not negative, just uneducated, and over the course of a few years became a convert based on how healthy my animals were.

    I think the majority of vets are pretty good, it’s just that the ‘bad’ ones stand out SO MUCH because we love our pets and don’t like to have them mistreated.

  14. RowanVT July 23, 2014 at 5:33 am #

    There was an emergency vet near me that would fit in with those experiences perfectly. My very first experience with him was after my first dog had a seizure at age thirteen. Dear Dr. Asshat walked into the exam room, didn’t even look at me and simply said “Thirteen and a seizure? Brain tumor. You should euthanise him.” Sure, he was correct about the brain tumor, but you don’t just walk in on someone and say that sort of thing! Even if that someone is a vet tech.

    To my great ‘joy’, I got to experience Dr. Asshat a second time, some 4 years later with my 2nd dog. Kumo had some sort of autoimmune disorder that liked to mimic parvo and lymes disease at the same time. We’d finally figured out how to stop the cascade early through the magic of a dose of metacam when he spiked the starting fever. We’d done tons of testing, and I’d already spent thousands on him. He decided to have an episode during a time I was out of metacam so I dragged my inappetant, febrile dog to the E.C. I got in the room and explained to Dr. Asshat everything that had been done with the dog already, and said that a dose of metacam and some SQ fluids would fix him up. He looked me square in the face and said “Well, all I have is your word that you’ve done all that.”

    Nooo… You have his huge medical record in your system, and you have his record from the specialist group you share facilities with. Plus I’m an RVT so I really do know my dog’s medical history. I had to badger him into doing what my dog needed and NOT run a bunch of bloodwork and radiographs.

    This guy was so bad that when my work would send people there that the vets would call ahead of time to see if he was on call, and if he was would talk with the owners to let them know to NOT allow Dr. Asshat to pressure them to euthanise. Pretty much anything that walked through the door, he told the owners to kill it.


  15. Tammy July 24, 2014 at 2:08 am #

    The newly minted vet in the practice I used to frequent told me my performance dog was “acting sick to get attention” and that “I shouldn’t hover over her quite so much and she’d quit those behaviors”. I never went back. I guess he slept thru his semester of animal behavior?

  16. Rachel December 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Had some issues with vets this year — last spring, my older dog (then 10.5yrs) was having trouble urinating. Took him to the vet, who took x-rays, couldn’t see anything on them, didn’t to full urinalysis, but diagnosed him as having a bladder infection from crystals in his urine and said he needed to be on Science Diet prescription food the rest of his life. Also, I needed to give him booster shots for parvo/distemper/lepto etc. I refused the vaccines, he was treated with antibiotics, and we left.
    Two months later, when symptoms returned, I went looking for a new vet. She actually took time to explain things to me, and found his prostate was enlarged, which further testing showed was cancer. Not exactly the diagnosis we were hoping for, but at least she spent the time/effort to figure out what was really wrong with him, explain it all, and discuss my options for treatment.

  17. elizabeth pinkerton November 13, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    I have a wonderful vet, our local town vet are idiots last time I went to the local with a loved sick pet rat, he told me to get another one, so I don’t trust him with my dogs. I travel an hour and a half to get to my vet because she is good and she explains everything to me. Two weeks ago my Fauve girl Anna stopped eating weed everywhere and started drinking heaps. Took her out to the vet they couldn’t find anything wrong, did bloods ect came home with ABs. three days later she is heaps worse, flat and not eating at all. Off we went again they xray her and tell me she has a mass in her stomach. They operate and find nothing, all she has was a small ulcer and a small fatty lump they removed. So $1900 down and no idea what is wrong. She starts eating again and comes home after 3 days with big doses of ABs. She is back to her old self again and we are still not sure what happened. I believe she had a water born bacteria but who knows. All through this the vet explained everything to me and the amazing thing is she doesn’t ask how I will pay first she does it first and then worries about the money. Our local vet wont let you in with the vet without paying no matter how long you have been a client for.
    I love my vet.

  18. Lisa April 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    I’ve found most of the vets I’ve dealt with to be pleasant, competent, and non-judgmental. It’s almost always the vet techs who seem unrealistically judgmental and/or emotionally unstable. Not all, but sadly many, in my experience.

    Listen, techy: I know you deal with some craziness sometimes, but you’d better watch your tone with me, honey. So I let my mostly indoor cat out on the porch once in a while (while I closely monitor her, by the way). Put your “the end is near!” sign down, lower your eyebrows and chill the F out. (It’s good you’re already wearing those scrubs – they’ll make nice pajamas in the loony bin!)

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