Veterinarians and Records.

I recently had a rather unfortunate experience and decided that I should share it with everyone in hopes that I could prevent the same thing from happening to you!

Last week I had a friend coming into town whose plans changed and needed to bring her dogs with her.  Since unfortunately Tag has proven herself to not do well with other dogs in the house, I decided it was best to board her and Buddy (because I knew she would be devastated if she were boarded alone) and keep Maggie at home to have a fun-filled weekend with doggie friends.  Upon calling to schedule them at Pet Paradise (whom we usually use for boarding and LOVE) I learned that Tag was due for a vaccine.  I decided to keep things simple and just board them at the vet, that way she could get her vaccine while there.  As I was dropping them off, the girl at the front desk asked me if I wanted a variety of different things done and I responded with, “Just do whatever they aren’t current on” thinking that should just be the one vaccine Tag needed and nothing else.

Halloween Dogs

Happy (late) Halloween from the THPL family!

I go to pick them up on Sunday, and expecting a bill of around maybe $100-$150, am absolutely appalled when the girl tells me it is over $600!  I ask her to please print out a detailed receipt because I wanted to go home and look over everything and compare it with the records I had at home.   I pay, get the dogs, and go home.  When we get in the door I glance at the bill and see that one of the first charges is for rabies.  “No way” I think to myself and look at Tag’s collar.  Sure enough, she isn’t due until 2015!  I immediately call the vet’s office back and ask to speak with someone.  I pass along a message that I am not pleased with things and ask that a veterinarian or someone in charge call me back.  At this point I am going through my records and seeing that my dogs are in fact current on everything just like I thought.  Obviously these vets were not looking at the records and just doing all of the vaccines!  I was seriously upset.

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Today one of the veterinarians called me back and we started discussing everything.  Before we moved to Jacksonville I asked my (then current, now former) veterinarian’s office to copy the dogs’ records so that I could take everything over to my new vet’s office.  It turns out, my previous vet did not copy everything.  I neglected to look through the records they copied for me and compare them with the records I kept myself (because I assumed they would be complete) before giving them to the new vet.  If I had, I would have noticed how seriously lacking they were!  So, my current vet did everything they felt was necessary to get my dogs current, based on the records they had.  I can honestly say that I understand why they did everything they did.  I really wish that they had called me (according to the records Tag hadn’t been vaccinated since 2010!) because I would have been able to quickly get things corrected, but they failed to do that.  That said, I will take the brunt of the blame for this unfortunate experience, because ultimately they are my dogs and I am the one responsible for making sure they are taken care of – which includes their vet records.  If I had been as diligent as I like to think that I am, my bank account would be much happier and my dogs would not have been unnecessarily vaccinated and tested.  At the end of the day though, I am happy knowing my current vet is thorough in their exams and vaccinations and this will never happen again.

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Maggie and her boyfriend, Pepper. I tried but they were just playing to hard to get a decent picture!

 The moral of this story?  Keep ALL of your vet records yourself!  That way, if/when you ever find yourself needing to see a new veterinarian, you can confidently prove the status of your dogs’ vaccinations.  It was not fun thinking I had chosen a veterinarian that I couldn’t trust; nor was realizing that I could have prevented this mess by just taking the time to review the records.  Save yourself (and your bank account!) and create a  filing system for all of your pets’ records.

23 thoughts on “Veterinarians and Records.

  1. Yikes! We keep all of ours, and then occasionally ask the vet for a printout of his records – it’s just a summary of what he’s had with brief notes about diagnosis, and auto-prints a list of when he’s due for everything.

    • That’s what our previous vet did, too, which is why I just assumed whatever they sent the new vet would have the vaccines included. Live and learn I suppose!

    • Oh, I almost did cry. And this was right on the heels of Buddy getting a mouth infection that ended up costing $900, again with zero warning. Talk about shocking!

      • Holy hell! I wonder if pet insurance would cover any of that. I was just looking into that yesterday. Well I hope you don’t have to spend that kind of money again any time soon…or ever! {{{hugs!}}}

  2. Yes, keep all your dogs’ records and take a look at them prior to going to the vet’s office. I am sorry that happened to you and your dogs and thanks for the cautionary tale:)

  3. When we did the basic obedience class my vet emailed me the girls’ records. It was a new thing for them, and pretty shaky, but after a few phone calls (the tech ended up having to use her own personal email, which I think is above and beyond) we got it done. It is SO NICE to have those PDFs in my own email.

    Also, we have a FREE cloud storage on dropbox.com, so the records are there now. If there was a hurricane or some other reason we had to throw the dogs in the car in a hurry, I could access that cloud storage anywhere and prove my dogs are up to date on shots, etc.

    If you can’t get your vet to get your records emailed to you, consider scanning them yourself. Or take a good picture with your phone, so you always have a copy with you.

  4. 😦 Something similar happened to me once. Our vet failed to check our dog’s records (same vet he’d always been at so it wasn’t a transfer problem) and administered a rabies vaccine before our dog was due (two years before actually). Unfortunately, our outcome was much worse than a higher bill. Our dog suffered a terrible vaccine reaction. Two months of fighting IMHA/ITP (which several other vets believed was triggered by the vaccine) and several thousand dollars later, our boy died on the table at the emergency vet. I’m glad your furkids are safe and okay! But you are sooo right, we really need to be informed and like hawks with our animals at vets, just like we would be with ourselves at the doctors.

    • Oh my gosh! I am speechless. I have heard of these things happening (and honestly when I called back, I asked them if she was at risk since she was about 2 years early also) but I have never heard about it directly from someone that experienced it. I am so, SO sorry to learn this. I can’t even begin to imagine what a terrible experience that had to have been.

      I’m curious, and you don’t have to answer if it’s just too much to talk about, but how did your vet react to this whole thing? I just can’t fathom them being able to say or do anything that would really make up for this horrible of an experience. Accidents happen…but still. Anyways, again, I am SO sorry.

      • Well, our usual vet was out the day the vaccine was administered, but when he found out, he was really great about the whole thing. He rushed the bloodwork, and they covered all of our in-house expenses and prescriptions (Smokey was on seven or eight different medications by the end) unfortunately, they didn’t cover our emergency expenses though. They worked with us really well and got us in at odd hours. Smokey was in and out of there almost every day for the last two weeks of his life. They coordinated well with the emergency hospital and the ER hospital actually covered his cremation expenses and didn’t charge us a dime when he died on the table, even though they worked on him for almost an hour and brought him back to life twice before we finally said enough is enough. They’ve been very accommodating since and have been careful with us, we no longer will work with the vet who administered the shot or the vet tech who “accidentally” pulled it. While we understand mistakes can happen, we still do hold a grudge, especially against that one tech, so they’ve been really great about it, especially delicate with us while we interview different surgeons on staff to do the spay surgery on our female, Shelby. We’ve had hour long interviews with all the vets and vet techs who could potentially do the surgery on Shelby and they actually sent us to a sister hospital to deal with a different surgeon because they know how leery we are now about anything major, since this was just routine. So despite what happened, we’ve stuck with them.

      • Wow, that is pretty amazing that you stuck with them. They definitely seem to have handled it as well as they could, and I love that they are so accommodating now, but I’m still very impressed with the way you guys handled it! Again, I am so sorry you went through this horrible experience!

  5. Great lesson – and thanks for sharing. We have multiple copies of the pooches records – in their binders and in our emergency kit – but I LOVE the idea of putting them on “the cloud.” We might just have to look into this!!

    • Dropbox.com is a free service (limited size, though). I learned about it at the public library. It’s enough for us to put up quite a few pictures and lots of practical stuff. You can share folders between users, too, so my husband and I can add files to our shared folders from our offices and then see them at home, too.

      I’ve got friends who have massive amounts of data who pay for cloud storage, but it’s still not bad — $70 a year or so. Not sure which services they use.

      Of course if you have a Flickr account you could probably create a private folder and store pictures of the records.

  6. You’d think that working for more than one vet clinic I would have learned this but I haven’t. Now that I’m at a new clinic I had to call the old clinic and get the records and while they sent me the computer history they didn’t send me the notes and lab work so I have some calls to make tomorrow!

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