On Christmas Day my two and a half year old Corgi dog “Titan” got into the trash and we were not sure what exactly he had eaten. He’s gotten into the trash before, however, it has been over a year and a half and he has done very well for a long time about being unsupervised. He’s good to the point that we can set down a plate of food on the floor and leave the room and he knows not to touch it, so we’re unsure what was so alluring in the trash can that he had to get into it, but he did.
We didn’t think too much of it at the time, as we’ve had dogs get in the trash before and usually they may get a little bit of an upset stomach but that’s about it. When we woke up this morning we found out that he had gotten sick, which wasn’t unexpected. We let him outside to go to the bathroom and he walked around like he had to poop but he didn’t; he urinated and then came back inside. He’s the type of Corgi that he will eat all of his dog food, however much you put in the bowl, so we have to only give him how much he should have at any given time, usually a cup in the morning and a cup in the evening. This morning he didn’t touch his food at all, when normally he would gobble it down as quickly as he could and he also wasn’t drinking any water.
We let him go back outside again and he got sick and then he finally went poop and when we looked, it was red which had us extremely concerned so we tried contacting our normal veterinary office, which is closed due to the 14+ inches of snow we’ve received since 3 AM last night. The only veterinary office that was open and within a driving distance was the Indianapolis Veterinary Emergency Center or IVEC. We called and discussed it with them and they said we should bring him in to have him checked out, so we made the drive out to them.
When we got there, we filled out some paperwork and got checked in and placed into an exam room. Being that there was 14+ inches of snow, we were the only ones there at the time besides the employees, however, we waited in the exam room for 20 to 25 minutes before anybody was in to see our Titan. The veterinarian seemed nice enough and performed a normal exam including taking his temperature and feeling his abdomen. She said that he didn’t react abnormally to pressures on his abdomen, however, she suggested that we have a blood panel and pancreas test performed just to make sure he hadn’t eaten anything that was causing him problems. Our primary concern, when we arrived, was that he had swallowed something hard or sharp that was cutting or damaging his intestines and the veterinarian explained the only way to rule that out was an x-ray but that she didn’t think that was the case.
She asked if we wanted to do the blood tests and a fecal swab, and my wife said yes so the veterinarian took our dog around the corner and through a code-locked door. Within about 2 minutes I could hear my dog screaming as loud and as hard as he could as though he was in immense pain or feeling extremely threatened. I got up and walked around the corner and I could see through the window on the door and off of a mirror the veterinarian, but not my dog or the tech. He quieted down for a few seconds and then started screaming again – it was the type of scream where you can tell the dog feels that he may need to defend himself and/or bite – it wasn’t a good sound. At this time is when I heard the veterinary tech, Casey F., scream “STOP” at my dog in a very irritated and angry voice as though my extremely upset dog was going to understand this and calm down.
I knocked on the door and the veterinarian saw me through the window and then went back to what she was doing. I knocked on the door again, and then I knocked on the door again, and again until the veterinarian came to the door. When she came to the door she asked me what I needed and I told her, “Either I need to come back with my dog, or you need to bring my dog to me right now.” She tried to explain to me that I was not permitted to pass through the door by company policy. I told the veterinarian that he is scared and that screaming at him isn’t going to help and her response was, “All she did was tell him to stop.” I made a quick analogy and said, “If you don’t understand Chinese and you’re very upset or scared and I yell ‘STOP’ at you in Chinese, are you going to listen to me? He is a dog and he certainly isn’t going to respond to the word ‘STOP’ especially if he’s terrified and it’s being screamed at him.” The way she screamed it, was the way a person tends to sound before they lash out or do something worse than scream. I then re-iterated my statement that I was going back, or she was bringing my dog to me. She tried again, and I repeated the same statements. I did my best not to get upset, but I’m sure it was visibly obvious that I was upset although I did make sure to keep as calm as I could and not to yell.
She let me through the door and back and when I got into the room with him I could see that they had him standing on a metal grate, like a baking rack. Titan has very sensitive feet/toes and he actually will whine/cry/scream if you’re not very gentle with his feet when trimming his nails – which we have done at PetSmart in Greenwood regularly. I am sure that he was in pain, if not only from standing on this grate. Once I was in the room they, surprisingly, decided to move him from the grate over to a solid table which I suspect isn’t a decision that would have happened had I not walked back with them. I also suspect the issue would have escalated and gotten worse as my dog could have potentially felt that he needed to defend his life, and I don’t blame him.
After the quick blood draw on the solid table I carried my dog back to the examination room where we were supposed to wait on the results, however, when I got back to the room I found that the whole ordeal had upset my wife so much that she was in tears and we decided that we were going to leave. I took my dog out to the front counter and explained to the receptionist that I wanted my bill, and that we were going to leave. I also told the receptionist that I wanted the full first and last name of the veterinary technician as well as the veterinarian.
The receptionist went back to get the veterinarian so that the bill could get generated and the veterinarian then came out to the front to talk to me. She tried to discuss the issue with me, and I told her that, at that point, there was no way that she was going to make me happy or calm me down and that I did not want to discuss the issue further. I told the veterinarian that discussing the issue further is only going to result in me becoming more upset and possibly irate and that she simply needed to get my bill ready so that I could pay, and that they could call my wife and let us know the results of the tests when they were done. She continued to try and discuss the issue with me, and I continued to tell her to simply generate my bill so that my family could be on our way. After about four or five times of me telling her to stop trying to calm me down, and to simply get me my bill she got the point and went back to get the bill set up.
She then came around on the other side of the counter and asked if we wanted any medication for diarrhea for Titan and we informed her that we were simply going to observe him closely and, if need be, we will make a longer drive to another veterinary office and that we were absolutely not going to come back to that location under any circumstances. We did end up back on the subject of the technician yelling at my dog again, and I re-iterated my points. I made it very clear that it was 100% un-acceptable and that it should not happen. I informed her that I was not in the room directly so I couldn’t hear if the veterinarian said anything to the tech at all, and she told us that she had said, “That was a bit too loud.” If I were in the room I would have told the tech that she needed to get control of herself or that she needed to leave, as that is not how one should conduct themselves in a professional environment, or how one should treat an animal be it their own or somebody else’s.
I got the phone number of the manager/supervisor of the office as he wasn’t available and the receptionist told me that he would likely be unavailable this week, and I understand. I am going to call and leave a voice-mail for Joseph H., the executive director and I will make sure to discuss this in detail with him when he is off of his holiday vacation. I know that I will never return to this veterinary clinic under any circumstances. As I care very much for my animals and all animals in general, I cannot with a clear conscience ever recommend or suggest this clinic to anybody I ever interact with in the future either. If anything, I’ll explain to anybody and everybody my experience so that they have an idea of what they can expect should they ever decide to go to this location. At the end of the day I’m not out to hurt this clinic, but I am out to keep animals from being needlessly abused be it physically or verbally.
My honest advice – is to avoid IVEC / Indianapolis Veterinary Emergency Center unless you have absolutely no other option and if you do go there, supervise your animal and make sure that he or she is well handled and taken care of. I would not, personally, allow my animal to leave my sight in this establishment if it was the only option available.
Here is a picture of my dog, Titan: