(17.08.04 - 07.10.05)
Lost to Parvo
Can you trust your vet?
Selecting a vet for me is a very important part of raising a dog. I am Thai and have lived in Thailand for the past 28 years and had numerous pets. So I have been to many vets and again I have made a mistake with a tragic result.
I normally have two vets: One is near my house used for injections and other small check-ups. The second one in the city is where I go when my dog is really sick. Your criterion is very important for choosing a vet. I chose a vet based on wrong criteria thinking that the more expensive the vet, the better they would be. I chose (a local) hospital and now I lost my best friend (Hugo) four days ago.
And here is the story about my Hugo (a 1 year - 50 day old beagle):
Hugo died of Canine Parvovirus at 1230 am 7th October, 2005 after suffering from the disease as well as stress and endless test procedures including blood test, ultrasound and ultrasound with barium.
If you are a dog owner you probably know, how I felt. Seeing your dog suffer in pain, while the doctor is unable to tell what is wrong is very traumatic. When they finally figured it out, it was too late for Hugo. This is a summary of what Hugo and I have been through over just one week.
Hugo started to get sick Thursday 29th Oct with symptoms of loss appetite, lethargy, high fever, and Diarrhea. I took him to the hospital on the same day and they carried out a blood test and ultrasound on him. Still they could not confirm the finding of what caused him to get sick. They concluded with two theories: 1) Parasite in the blood cell (from ticks and fleas) or 2) Object blockage in his stomach.
I was not at all convinced since my dog did not have ticks and in addition they could not find any parasite to prove that he got the disease. Again, I am not a vet so I agreed to treat him as the doctor suggested. The doctor prescribed many medicines and allowed me to take him home.
A day later, he got a very high fever so I took him back to the hospital and left him with a doctor to carefully monitor his fever. They put him in the ICU room. In front of all the crates where other dogs were being treated and he had another bout of diarrhea. Still the doctor did not bother to test his feces or assume that this could be a sign of Parvovirus! In retrospect, Hugo should have been isolated at that point from other dogs in the ICU room at the clinic.
Almost a week had now passed, my dog was not improving. He could not eat, he was immobile and he kept throwing up and had diarrhea. And still the doctors could not find an explanation and continued to investigate.
A week has now passed since the first examination. The doctor showed the first hint that he doubted his initial evaluation -- parasite in a blood cell. He ordered another ultrasound by inserting barium to Hugo's stomach. The procedure was done repeatedly for the whole day and finally at 1730 on the same day the doctor called to apologize saying he had not found any obstruction in Hugo's stomach.
Just a few minutes later another doctor called and said that they had finally tested for Parvovirus and it was positive. He informed me that they had immediately isolated Hugo. Seven hours later my Hugo passed away lying in a pool of blood and diarrhea in a small outhouse enclosure, very much alone and in dreadful pain, unable to recognise or respond even to my presence. It was a painful sight one which I will never forget.
I researched Parvovirus and Hugo's symptoms were classic symptoms of Canine Parvovirus. Why did the doctors not bother to check! According to one resource, my dog chance of survival should have been 70-80% since he is an older dog and has already been vaccinated. However my dog did not even stand a 10% chance on the last day when they finally figured out the disease. So here are the questions:
Can you trust your vet to be professional and figure out what is wrong with your dog?
Why did it take such a long time to diagnose a disease that is one of the seven most prevalent diseases for dogs? You can find information so quickly on the web site?
Why did the vet fail to explain or warn about a potential deadly disease? For example, Do you know that even if your dog has been properly vaccinated against Parvovirus, a small percentage of dogs remain susceptible to infection.
My dog suffered bouts of diarrhea on the hospital premises. It can live up to 9 months so what about the other dogs at the hospital?
During the time the vet failed to make a correct diagnosis my dog was sharing the same premises as other sick dogs. He was only isolated on the last day, when the vet finally came to the correct conclusion. I wonder if the hospital bleached out its treatment and ICU facilities as a precaution?
I hope my story will remind dog owners of how important it is to choose the right vet. Take care of your best friend as mine will never return. For Hugo my beloved friend, I hope his story can save some lives.