Not Sure If I Should Change My Vet
I have a real problem here, which I hope I can get plenty of opinions about, because I just don't know what to do.
You may remember the thread I started about how to use Tramadol. I mentioned there that I was unhappy with the vet and hoped that somebody could give me some advice about the correct use of Tramadol, because I have lost all confidence in the vet Rebel has been seeing.
When Rebel first developed symptoms of SM he was howling and in a terrible state. I got an emergency appointment with the vet and Rebel was lucky to be seen by his usual vet, who he is very attached to. She told me she hadn't any experience or knowledge of SM, so I went through a copy of CR's matrix with her and promised to send in some literature on the defect, i's symptoms and more about the variious treatments. That was fine she said and started him conservatively on a low dose of Frusemide, which really helped for some months. I kept up the supply of information, which te lady said was most helpful. Eventually he progressed to 100 mgs Gabapentin a day, then twice daily and now up to 500 mgs a day if needed. Tramado was also to be given in a low dose, but only if really needed. All that was fine and I felt lucky to have the benefit of such a caring vet, who was also so willing to learn.
Everything was ticking over so well until the recent bad weather conditions, where air pressures rose and fell in rapid procession. Rebel was due for his 3 monthly check at the vet and was in quite good form when we set off, but there was another sudden dip in air pressure with wind and rain worsening with every minute, so by the time we had waited for the vet to finish her surgery list and see Rebel, he was screaming with pain and very bitter about life in general, so much so that he growled at the vet when she got out her stethoscope to check his heart.
She stepped back, very shocked. She told me she had never seen him like that before and asked if I realised that SM is a progressive disease and did I realise there was no going back and that things would only get worse for Rebel and never better. She wanted to euthenase him then and there, telling me she only wanted what was best for him and that if I was a caring owner I would end his suffering now. It goes without saying how shocked I was, both about her obvious ignorance also Rebel's reaction to the drop in air pressure, because if she had read the information I had taken the trouble to give her, she would have known that I was talking sense and that she was over reacting. I found myself saying, no, no, no and lots about this only being a blip which I should have been able to avoid and eventually I got through to her that Rebel deserved further treatment.
She agreed to give Rebel a week to improve, but said her expertise and experience of Rebel told her it would not. Of course he was back to his old wagging, kissy self the following week and I started to breathe huge sighs of relief. This was short lived, because I had brought in a print of Clare's latest treatment matrix. I wondered if there was now an improved cocktail of drugs which would increase Rebel's quality of life, but instead of considering that the lady decided to question me on my reasons for giving up to 500 mgs of Gabapentin, then the odd day or two that I had told her I had had to increase the Tramadol, which is pretty low dose anyway. I was shocked when she said I should space the drugs out over a 24 hour period, never starting him off on 20 mgs in the morning, 'just because the air pressure might drop, which might affect some dogs'. She then told me 200 mgs daily should be quite enough for a dog of his age and weight!!!!!!!!!!!! I made as rapid an exit as I could, agreeing to bring Rebel in for monthly check ups instead of quarterly, which means that he is due there again on 1st April.
As you can imagine I am not happy dealing with this vet any more if it means a constant battle to get Rebel the treatment he needs to give him a relatively pain free life. Apart from arthritis and a low grade heart murmour, he is a very active and lively dog for his age. My first reaction would be to find another vet, either at the same practice or to go elsewhere, but I dont know what it would do to Rebel to make the change. He absolutely adores this lady, smothering him with kisses and expecting and receiving cuddles in return. A couple of times we have been asked to see another vet while the lady has been operating, but Rebel will start howling and barking if he is taken into anyone else, growling and drawing away when they try to touch him. He will also make an awful fuss if he senses that the vet is there but not seeing him, to the extent that it is a standing arrangement that he will have the first appointment in the afternoon, to avoid upsetting Mr Rebel.
So what would you do if you were me?
Have you had similar experience and solved the problem one way or another? If so, how?
Should I start all over again with the information sheets, selecting, downloading and printing them up for her to read again, because after recent experience I doubt that she bothered with any of it in the first place. Could it be that the lady has realised she is wrong and might want to start over again?
Please tell me what you think. Something that somebody else has to say is likely to solve the problem and of course you all know the old saying about two heads being better than one.