What do you do when the Vet has bad news?

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Our focus here at SlimDoggy is the health and well being of your pets. As pet owners, we know that regular visits to the vet are the norm and depending on your pets, your vet may even be one of your best friends. We have probably all experienced what I call a ‘health scare’, an event where one of your pets is suspected of having something or has been diagnosed with something really serious. It’s happened at least once or twice with each of our pets and it’s always scary.

Sally @10 weeks

Sally @10 weeks

I remember our first ‘scare’ with Sally. We got her as an 8 week old pup, this little bundle of chocolate lab love. She was our baby. We went to a vet close to our home in Los Feliz, CA. We had frequent (we were new parents after all), but typical puppy vet visits – shots, a bee sting, diarrhea, nothing serious.  Then one day she when she was maybe 6-7  months old, she developed a little bit of a cough and seemed a little off her game. We got her right in for an exam.  The vet looks her over and suggests an xray.  We agree.

The vet comes back and asks us if Sally has been given her heart worm medicine. We admit no one at the vets had ever told us we needed it. We were both from the east coast where heart worm is prevalent since it’s carried by mosquitoes, but no one had mentioned anything about it to us in any of our vet visits in CA, and I admit I hadn’t given it much thought.

“I think she might have heart worm” the vet says. My heart sank, tears welled up in my eyes – I knew that heart worm was a very serious illness, especially in a dog so young. Diagnosis was made by a blood test that had to be sent to the ‘lab’ and we had to wait 24+ hours to find out whether she had it or not. That was the most agonizing 24 hour period, we were both so in love with Sally, we couldn’t imagine what we’d do without her.

Luckily, the test came back negative, she didn’t have heart worm…and she never missed another heart worm dose, but that day waiting for what could potentially be a illness she won’t recover from was one of the more difficult things I’d had to do as a new dog owner.

I wish I could say I learned a valuable lesson, but other than making sure our dogs have heart worm medicine, the only thing I learned is how scary it can be to think that something might be wrong with one of your pets. Since that time, we’ve lost 3 pets (including Sally), nursed them through many and varied illnesses ranging from numerous orthopedic surgeries to glaucoma & blindness and even bone cancer. It never gets easier.

I’m sure each of us has a ‘health scare’ story to share. Tell us how you handled it. What did you learn from it? What can others learn from it?


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  1. A few years ago our little Himalayan was diagnosed with a rare genetic eye disorder (which I can’t spell). In the beginning we thought she’d lose her eye, and I was devastated. The treatment for it would require a trip to a specialist 4 hours away, cost $3000, and was not a guarantee.
    It was an awful decision to have to make, but in the end we opted for ‘conservative treatment’ with drops, and she has done just fine.
    I learned a very hard, be very important, lesson about buying animals form backyard breeders. I also learned to keep the faith in the vet, and give her time to figure things out – after all, they can’t know everything about everything!
    Coralee and Finn recently posted…Black and White Sunday: I Haz TreatsMy Profile

    • That is scary. One of our dogs, Tino went blind from glaucoma – it was another ‘health scare’ we had, but dogs are just so resilient & easy going, it never phased him. Glad your pup is doing fine.

  2. Oh wow, thankfully the tests came back negative but to get a scare like that? Yes, unfortunately if your a furparent, you’re going to get a scare at least once. I don’t like scares because in my experience, scares lead to bad things and I don’t like bad thing when they happen to my babes. 🙁
    Bren (Pibbles & Me) recently posted…Black & White Sunday #2My Profile

  3. Glad she didn’t have heartworm.
    A few weeks after we adopted Brooks, he started coughing. Then one day her brought up a chunk of corn cob. Later that same day, when he refused his food, we rushed him to the vet. We sat with him for more than 4 hours while they conducted a series of xrays to determine if there was an intestinal blockage. Unfortunately there was, and he had to have emergency surgery. It was scary and expensive. Thankfully he recovered. And we learned to keep our trash bags well out of reach.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…How to Make Yummy Pet CookiesMy Profile

    • You are lucky that you caught it in time. Those blockages can be dire.

  4. We only received one scare and that was with Riley. I cried and called my boyfriend. We cried together for weeks after we lost Riley. Blue, our youngest, helped us heal and move on.
    Kimberly, The Fur Mom recently posted…Dog Nutrition Week | 5 Models of the Raw Food Diet for Dogs from Dr. AlinoviMy Profile

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