Few things irk me as much as people making repeatedly stupid choices when it comes to the medical care of their pets.
I was transferred a case recently that was terribly sad because it was SO avoidable. A mastiff bitch was seen at her veterinarian and underwent a c-section. 8 puppies all told were present, 5 alive, 3 dead.
The dog (Lizzy) had started passing thick, dark, foul-smelling and bloody fluid from her vulva on Thursday morning. Thursday night, she had a puppy. It was very dead. Nothing else happened for 12 more hours. Friday morning, she had another puppy, also dead. The owners still did nothing. Saturday morning, she was very lethargic and had passed no further puppies. The owners gave her a shot of "something" provided to them by a friend. It was supposed to induce labor, but the owners had no idea what the medication was called.
Late Saturday, still no puppies and a progressively more lethargic dog. Finally, the owners decided a trip to the veterinarian was in order.
A c-section was conducted on Lizzy. After surgery, she was not recovering very well. The veterinarian did some testing and discovered that Lizzy was likely suffering septicemia (systemic infection). This is not an uncommon sequelae to prolonged dystocia. He transferred the patient to me for continued care.
Unfortunately, it became apparent at presentation that the owners had spent all of their finances on the surgery. They applied for CareCredit and were granted an increase of $1200. Unfortunately, care for Lizzy for only 1 night would run in the $700-800 range.
It was time to have a frank discussion with the owners. Lizzy was likely going to need 2-5 days of hospitalization, her prognosis was very guarded, and the bill would likely become expensive rapidly. We discussed the finances involved. The owners really had the extra $1200 AT MOST and that was stretching it for them.
After much soul-searching, they decided euthanasia was the best option. When I knelt beside Lizzy, she lifted her head and looked at me, then sighed and rested her head on my knee. This was the first sign of responsiveness we'd really seen since she presented. My heart hurt a little. Her predicament was utterly preventable.
First, the owners shouldn't have bred her if they weren't prepared financially to deal with the possible ramifications, and secondly, had they taken Lizzy to see her veterinarian when the first problems were noted, the sepsis would very likely have been avoided. Now, the only one really suffering from the owner's terrible decision making was Lizzy herself.
I felt terrible euthanizing her. Hopefully, she is somewhere running through a field of green grass with puppies that have gone on before her.
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