Pet Peeve #3

Today we took Mylo to a new vet. Once again. For his itching. He has been itchy for 2-3 years now, and no vet seems to be able to fix it. We have tried prednisone, new diets, antihistamines, making environmental changes, etc. Nothing works.

This is vet #4 that we have tried, because all of the others just keep telling us to use prednisone, which has unpleasant side-effects and dones’t really help him much. So, we go in to vet #4. I take Mylo, Manbeast stays in the car with Toady because it wouldn’t be fair to leave him all alone either in the house or the car. They haul Mylo up onto a table and start examining. They were kind to him. Gentle. I got questioned like a criminal: Why didn’t you bring his records? (the receptionist said they weren’t needed), You probably don’t pay much for food (Oh, I beg to differ), Why no allergy tests? (Because 3 vets have said they’re unlikely to pinpoint his allergies), and on and on and on. I wanted to cry. They scraped his skin, and had to do it until they made him bleed. He started to yelp and I almost lost it.

By the end of the appointment, they had tested for 3 or 4 different things. All of which came back negative. They suggested a treatment regime, which we agreed to. Prescription food for three months, itchy pills, and antibiotics. When I asked the price of all of these things, I got the look. The one that says: How dare you put a price on your dog’s health? How dare I? I work from home because it’s better for the dogs. I spend every last cent I have on them when I need to. We buy the best food that we shouldn’t really be able to afford. This is vet #4. How dare I? I dare because you are vet #4, with another expensive treatment plan, another two bottles of pills, and you are another vet that asked me the same questions all the others have. Forgive me for having little faith. Forgive me for doing the best that I can even when I can’t.

What do I have to feel ashamed for? I feel ashamed that I still haven’t found someone who can help my poor dog. I feel ashamed that I have to worry about cost. But, really, I can’t be the only one. What happened to the vets who are willing to understand that you are doing you best. That you care enough to try 4 vets to fix your pup. What happened to the vets who understood that money doesn’t grow on trees? I know they aren’t all jerks. I know that they aren’t all money-hungry. I know that some care more about the pets than pushing expensive foods on you. But, where have they gone? I get that the vet cared about Mylo, but what about the people that came with him? What about the people that are going insane trying to make him better?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against vets. They have a hard job and they do it because they care about the pets. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I think they forget that there are people behind those pets. Today, I was one of those people and it just about broke my heart.

To the vets out there who understand, good on you. Wish us luck with the new treatment plan.


53 thoughts on “Pet Peeve #3

  1. I feel for you, truly I do. It’s hard to do what is right and good for your dog when you have to balance that with finances. And yes, some vets do get you to spring for as many tests as they can, because that’s how some make their money. Perhaps while you are trying this treatment, you might make inquiries as to the cost of allergy testing at various locations. I know people who have it done, and it has shown very specific things. One that comes to mind is a dog that’s allergic to all grains, including barley, but he can eat rice. I know that here they divide them into two sections: environmental, and digestive/food. So you if you find a reasonable price somewhere, perhaps you could consider one or the other if you can save up for them.

    • The average cost for the allergy test around here is $400.00, and because we have tried grain free diets, they think that it would be pointless to test. Even this vet decided not to because we have gone as far as a BARF diet. So, we will see. Thanks for the advice. They believe that environmental is unlikely because of his symptoms, but who knows. We’ll give this new regime a shot and hope for the best!

  2. Paws and claws crossed things work for you this time. Our Mummy said she has met some very mean vets. When Bingo developed a bald patch she recognised it as fungal. First vet laughed and said it was mites. Second vet laughed mites needing a different treatment. Third vet admitted having no idea and agreed to try a fungal treatment. By then he had lost all the fur on the side of his face. But Mummy was right and it finally began to heal. She complained about having to pay three consultation fees and got some really nasty responses. Money doesn’t matter if it is going to help but when they waste your time and money and prolong your pets suffering then there is something seriously wrong. I hate that vets treat everyone like they are doing something wrong and causing their pets problems.


    • Thank you for sharing that. I know not all vets are like that, it’s just frustrating when you run into so many. I’m glad that you were able to figure out what was wrong eventually, we have been going in circles for 3 years now and it’s exhausting.

  3. Ah, the dreaded itchies, everything from fleas and fungus to allergies and mites and everything in between. I tell ya, it’s a hard thing to pinpoint and it’s tough not only on the pets but the owners as well. And, to be honest, it’s tough on a caring vet because they want to help and are stymied as to the cause.

    But, what owner wouldn’t want to help their pet feel better? There is no reason that your love and loyalty should come into question for doing what you think and feel is best for your furry four-legged companion. I really, really hope that this vet has the right combination of things to help Mylo feel better. Give him get well smooches from us.

    • Today fleas, fungus, mange, mites, and a few others were eliminated in relation to cause, and they believe it is a food allergy as opposed to an environmental allergy. I hope that he starts to feel better too. We have had a rough bout with vets here, maybe it’s because we have always been in cities so they are always busy and haven’t got time to develop a relationship with anyone. Who knows. I will send him your love, thanks for your support.

  4. Oh, we so hope that Mylo gets better and you will not have to keep trying to find a vet to help him. We wish you would not feel guilty you are going the extra miles trying to make it all better for him, it is not your fault nothing is working yet. Praying the itching goes away and you can find out what is causing it. Hugs and nose kisses

    • Thanks guys, we hope it works too. It’s a rough thing to keep doing over and over so if this doesn’t work we aren’t sure where to go next. I will keep you posted! Thanks for your kind words!

      • Thanks, for keeping us posted. We think about sweet Mylo daily. Hugs and nose kisses

  5. I am so with you on all of it. You followed Zac and knew what we went through. We took him to a special dermatological clinic for goodness sake!! There are children in the world who do not get the care and the drugs that he got.
    Fortunately we had a great vet who didn’t give us the look when we asked about cost. Sometimes these things spiral out of control and we are not a bottomless pit. With allergies cost can be relevant. If you have a dog that needs surgery it can be expensive but then you have a well dog. With allergies you can go on and on and the poor dogs suffer through this trial and that trial.Eventually we put Zac on the very expensive drug but you know the outcome, even that didn’t work.
    We went through the same things that you probably did, looked at the environment, even talked about digging up the grass and laying a different variety! Thought about picking up the carpet and laying a wooden floor!! We went through the exclusion diet and I fed him an expensive no grain food and gave him tons of additives which were supposed to help but whatever I did the skin did not improve and the itch drove him crazy.
    Through it all we had the support of our vet and when he couldn’t offer us any more help he guided us to the decision we didn’t want to make. He was against allergy testing for the reason you mentioned.
    I’m with Hutchagoodlife, if the money is being spent on something which is going to help we will all stretch ourselves financially but when it is just spent spinning wheels and not making any progress we are only lining the vets pockets.
    One thing I would say about a pet with allergies is to find a vet you can relate to and one who will not judge. I tried to find a holistic vet but couldn’t in my area. I wanted to try Zac with acupuncture but there was no-one within an hours drive of us to try. I don’t know whether that would be something you could try with Mylo?
    I really hope you can help him.

    • Thank you so much for your words. It’s just nice to know that someone understands sometimes. We have talked to a holistic vet here, but just for a general exam it’s $350! And they suggested that although they would try natural remedies, with allergies it is never a for sure, so there is a possibility that they would just want to give him the same meds as a regular vet. Mylo’s only 5, so we are hoping that this works. We are on the prescription diet now (z/d Allergen-Free) and two different pills (antibiotics and Vanectyl-P) so we have to try this for 3 months and see what happens. It’s so expensive and he needs to eat double the amount of it, so now we are looking for a place to get the food that doesn’t charge as much. It’s so frustrating, and I’m so sorry that nothing ended up working for Zac. I hope we can help Mylo too.

  6. Hi-Kyla here. My best buddy, Kenzie,a real tough terrier, was put to the permanent sleep just 2 weeks ago. The vet wanted to do a lot of expensive tests that may have not been conclusive. My peeps told the vet that it was time for a bit of “value veternarianing’. The vet mentioned liver cancer, radiation and chemo for my little buddy. They talked to peeps who had chemo and radiation-and decided not to do it. One man They knew talked to a woman in the waiting room while both were waiting for radiation and said that she told him that radiation was many times worse than childbirth They also heard about the bad experiences with chemo. They let Kenzie live as long as he was fine. When it wasn’t-They let him go. Now They got me another friend-one who spent time in a “kill shelter”.. Kenzie would have approved of the decisions that They made. It is truly tough..

  7. I am so lucky that my vets don’t normally tout expensive tests or surgeries. Dudley was almost 14 when he blew out his knee and my vets all said, let’s see if he builds up scar tissue instead of surgery. Anyway, I hope Mylo responds in a positive manner quickly. He’s young, we’re keeping our paws crossed.

    • Thank you kindly. We are hoping so too. Tonight, after starting the meds, he is less itchy, but also exhausted. Whether it’s from the eventful day, or the medication we have yet to discover.

  8. Man…I’m so sorry you had to go through that! My husband once told me that, sometimes, vets are like car salesmen. So sad…
    You know, I got “the look” from a groomer once. That was pretty sad, too!

    • It seems that the ones in cities are the worst here. Today, they didn’t even ask what I wanted done. They went ahead and did it, then handed me a bill. That look is such an awful thing, eh?!

  9. I love my dogs and will do what ever it takes for their health… but one thing that always astounds me is it costs 3 times the price for the vet to look at my dog than what it costs for a Doctor to look at me… their pills and powders etc the same… I realise that with a Dr he can ask me questions and get answers that aid him to make an educated guess at what I’m suffering from and the Vet cannot do this… but does that warrant the extra cost…. I have received powders for my dogs at huge expense only to discover I can get that same powder from a chemist at a tenth of the cost…. are these cost warranted.???
    I tend to ask what the vet is giving me and then inquiring if I can get it elsewhere…they aren’t always happy with this, but it is after all my money… and I do that with my Doctor in any case…
    We had a dog that had a skin allergy, after many visits to vets with no good results, I was taking an allergy pill for a reaction I get at a certain time of the year from grass pollen’s… I jokingly said that maybe we should give the dog an antihistamine… I phoned a friend knowledgeable about medicines, (a pharmacist ) and he said it would do the dog no harm… I gave the dog the pill and his skin problems are now a thing of the past… we gave him a course of 1 per day for ten days and then stopped… he’s fine and when he shows signs of returning to his problem we give him another course… this cost of R25 a time is no where near the last vets bill of R 2 878 that turned up no improvement… Just letting you know what we went through…

    • I know, eh?! The cost for them is ridiculous. We tried giving him a human antihistamine, but it doesn’t work without a steroid. I think we are going to find out if they carry the same medication at the pharmacy and renew his prescription there if they do. I didn’t realize how many medicines can transfer between dogs and people, so here’s hoping that this is one of them!

  10. We certainly hope the new regimen/treatment works for poor Mylo (and poor you!)……it has to be terribly frustrating to see Mylo so uncomfortable but you’ve certainly been trying to help him and I’m sure he knows that – animals just do “know” these things. Perhaps this treatment will work – finally – and you can all get some peace and comfort at long last – ALL of you, including Mylo.

    Pam (and Sam)

  11. I hope the treatment works this time! I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

    I agree with the rest you said. Behind every pet there is an owner. And I think it’s pretty normal to ask what something is going to cost, especially if you have already tried so many things. And I personally think it’s pretty damn rude if they give you ‘that look’. They didn’t said anything, but it’s that look that tells you a thousands words and that they think of it. You should not feel ashamed!

    When my cat needed an operation, I asked for the price as well. I don’t care what they think, and even though we had the money, and the surgery wasn’t succesful in the end. I want to know what I’m paying for, and how much.

    have you thought about insurance for Mylo? I’m not sure if it’s too late to get Mylo one. But it might help you a little bit with the expensive vet-bills. Make sure you that if you decide to get one, that you read about it, so you don’t end up with surprised if something isn’t insured. 😦

    Good luck with Mylo! I really hope the treatment works.

    • Thank you for your thoughts! We cannot insure Mylo as he had a few issues when he was small that sort of exclude him from ever being covered. Here, it’s generally no if they have any pre-existing conditions anyway, but we’ll manage somehow. We’re hoping that it works too. Today he seems a bit better, but it’s still early and that may just be because it’s too cold for itching.

  12. AGH! I hate that. hate it hate it hate it.
    I get that the vets have to deal with scumbag jerks who don’t take care of their furry family members – but they need to realize that we all aren’t neglectful, abusive, morons. There are certain vets at the practice that I go to that are like that… and I usually leave feeling like a gnat.

    The Howler has been on prednisone and antibiotics since June for his rash and itchy skin… a week after he is off the meds, he is scratching himself bloody again. It has been frustrating. I hope you find a good treatment for Mylo!!!

    • Oh, I felt like a pile of crap walking out of there yesterday. It was definitely unpleasant. I hope that we do too, it would be nice to have him stop itching and be able to play like a dog should.

  13. The itchies are something that plagues Melvin also and it is so frustrating, on so many levels. Watching an animal itch themselves until they cause harm is not an option so we go to the vet. If only it was the first test or the third test or the tenth test that would pinpoint what it was! Then, as you mentioned comes the bill, and the dog is still itchy! I knew when I rescued Melvin that he was going to be a tough case. Luckily, I LOVE our vet. Our vet counts setbacks as her own disappointment and when we get something right there is literally a cheering (Melvin is a bit of a celebrity at out vet). I don’t know where you live but if it’s remotely close to Northern VA, let me know! I mean out vet will put Melvin’s issues up on vet chat boards in a tireless effort to figure out how to best help. We did the allergy tests (he gets allergy shots) and that did help us pin point what to avoid (food wise and environmentally) but avoiding the outdoors is not an option so we also do prednisone and a drug called Atopica (which is NOT cheap) but it does help and by helping it means we don’t go to vet nearly as often.

    I feel your pain. I really hope you find a vet that understands you want to heal your baby without having to break every bone in your bank! And quite frankly, the judging you have had thrown your way is unacceptable, give me their phone numbers!

    • Oh, how I wish we were closer. We live in AB, Canada. We talked to them yesterday about Atopica, but apparently that option comes later on. We have to try this first because it is the easiest, most likely way to fix it. So, we’re giving it a shot. The allergy tests have generally been a no go for us because we eliminated so many things that were potentially causing him harm over the years. We’re hoping that this does the trick, and if so, we will find somewhere else to fill the prescription and get the food (that alone is $100 for 17lbs) so that it is less of a hit on our wallets every time. If this works, it will be a lifetime treatment plan. Thanks for your thoughts! I’m glad that you found something that works for Melvin!

  14. If it is narrowed down to food allergies, have you discussed trying different foods until the specific allergies are determined? Sometimes the food allergy isn’t wheat but another common ingredient so you may be able to find an expensive but not $100 bag of food when all is said and done.

    Are you near enough to any small towns with good vets to look into switching primary vets? We are fortunate to have vets here that care about the animals, and are understanding of owner’s costs. They just want to make sure the animals are vetted and healthy, and I’m sure it comes at a cost to them. Ours doesn’t charge for wellness checkups, didn’t charge for followup visits when our dog’s mange diagnosis was tricky, and doesn’t make us bring in the dog for worms if we can identify it easily. We used to joke that my dad should drive hundreds of miles to bring his dog here for veterinary care, since we paid $7 for tapeworm treatment while he had to pay $300+. The vet we foster through tries to recommend mainstream dog food brands that her clients can afford and donates her time for the local shelter dogs’ vet care in addition to vet care for her clinic’s adoption proram.

    Ultimately we did have to go to a dermatologist, but he didn’t push that on us since it is expensive. After seeing my parents go to neurologists with one dog and through allergy shots with another, and my aunt’s dog having to have an emergency stomach pumping twice, we sprung for pet insurance for Gambit. Our premium is low since we live in an inexpensive area for vets, but it covered enough of the dermatologist visits and medications that we were able to afford it – $200-400 per visit before insurance! The amount it covered ended up being 80% of our cost and 2.5 yrs worth of premiums.

    • We have been trying the different foods since it all started. Grain-free, different meats, holistic, limited ingredients, etc. We have been switching vets for years also, since we’ve moved around and also because we weren’t satisfied with their answers. Pet insurance isn’t an option with Mylo because he had some issues when younger that count as “pre-existing” problems, which means that he will not be insured. We are hoping that this new plan works because it’s very sad to see him unable to enjoy himself because he is so itchy. Just for a general exam at this vet it’s $65, which is about average around here.

  15. I was glad we had gotten insurance first thing with Gambit since his issues started a few months after we got him. I know it won’t help Mylo, but it would be something to look into for future dogs depending on premiums in your area. I hope this gets figured out soon! It’s frustrating to not have a good vet who also cares that the dog’s family can actually afford the treatment.

    • Yeah, after all these experiences with Mylo we have discussed it for future pets. He seems to be less itchy today, after taking the new pills a few times, but we’ll see. We have had this reaction before and it hasn’t lasted. We are going to try and find out if we can get the pills from the pharmacy as a bunch of people have commented on here saying that it’s a lot cheaper as the mark-ups are less. If this works, we will definitely be trying to find a cheaper way to do it as it will be a lifelong thing.

  16. I feel your pain! You can go to 4 different vets and get 5 different answers, but when you go to the 5th vet, you are chastised for ‘waiting so long to get treatment’ because, guess what, that one has a different treatment plan as well. Then, despite the fact that you have done everything you have been told to do with the 4 other vets, and the fact that you are now at #5, hoping to find comfort for your fur kid, you are a ‘bad parent’ because the kid’s toenails aren’t trimmed… Sometimes you have to just laugh it off… or Blog your frustrations…

    • Oh, thank you dearly for saying that! Although it makes me sad that there are so many of us out there that have to deal with that, it’s still nice to know that we are not alone. It has been a terrible ordeal so far, and we are hoping against hope that this works because we’re going to run out of vets soon. But, you’re right: blogging out the frustrations was very therapeutic, especially since we received a lot of support from the beloved dog blog community!

  17. I wish you all the very best with Mylo and empathize deeply. Our Millie suffers with the same problems and understand the frustration your experiencing. I have a friend who is a Vet in Missouri and will contact her to see if she can offer any other options. She is wonderful and caring person who treats the animal and family together.

      • We have had good results with keeping her on a potato and duck dog food made by Natural Balance. Millie’s itching is also seasonal with spring and fall being the worst. I use a prescribed spray on her paws when she starts to chew on them. Her ear infections are very well controlled by BKT ointment which our vet sends me home with and I administer. My friend told me that Golden Retrievers have a genetic pre-disposition to having allergies. I do apologize I wish I had more to offer in the way of a solution. I hope I have been of help in some small way.

      • No worries, we knew that they were likely genetic. That’s part of why they are so hard to treat. Mylo seems to be doing better, but we will see what happens when the pills run out and he is just on the food. He is on antibiotics and steroids/antihistamines that we are supposed to stop after a week to see if the food is working. We’re crossing our fingers. Your support is much more help than you can imagine, so thank you!

  18. So sorry for what you all have gone through 😦 As if it isn’t difficult enough to see your pup suffering, and feel helpless to end it. Working in the veterinary industry, I must agree that what you are seeing is all too common.

  19. Mama says nevermind that vet and that you are an awesome doggie mama! You have gone above and beyond what a lot of pet parents do; there is NO reason for guilt and my mama wishes she were there with you to talk back to that vet; she wishes YOU could have our old vet, a lady in Huntersville, North Carolina…the only one in her 21 years of doggie ownership that was totally awesome and actually LISTENED to her! Mama says most of them we have seen are SO focused on the money and don’t ask questions….only treat the symptom…don’t investigate the CAUSE, because the money flow might stop! I really hope my buddy Mylo feels better. Mama just ran out of my pred drug yesterday and I’m scratching like a monkey! I even make bald spots and sores too!!! Nothin’ works for me but that steroid thingy (luckily only in the Autumm i have the itchies). Love and happy puppy kisses to Mylo and you from me, Willow and Mama!

    • Thank you very much! I wish I had your old vet too. You are lucky that you only get the itchies in the Fall, poor Mylo has them all year, so that’s why the steroids stop working after awhile. We are trying a new kind now, so we will see how it goes. We appreciate your support!

  20. I hope it works this time. It’s difficult when our pets are sick and we can’t seem to help. They should take a moment and think about whether the owners are trying and show some sympathy.

  21. That stinks! We really like our vets (yes, plural because of Sadie’s issues). But we had to stop going to one we’d been to for years and switch to another in the same practice. She was way, way too old-school and make snap judgements (that were wrong). For what it’s worth – when we rescued Sadie, she had repeated ear infections, awful itchies and would dig into her paws until she made herself yelp. We ended up shelling out for the allergy tests. I know a lot of people say they give false positives but I’d rather stay away from more than was needed. I’m glad we did – she is allergic to all kinds of things that aren’t always talked about: poultry, corn, soy, potatoes, dust mites, and grasses. Summer is the worst. But, with the new diet and the allergy shots (to combat the things like dust and grass she can’t avoid), she’s been doing great. We still need benadryl in the summer but it’s much much better.
    Best of luck to you.

    • Thank you! This week, we stop the allergy pills and wait and see if the prescription food starts to kick in. If so, then we just get him special food each month and avoid all meds, which would be awesome. So, after tomorrow we have to watch him closely for a week without pills to see how he does. Let’s hope it works!

  22. Oh I hope Mylo feels better! My last puppy itched all the time too. No fleas or anything. He was agitated because he had a birth defect that we (and three vets) didn’t know about. Has Mylo had full body x-rays? I know its expensive but its better than having there be something there and not catching it.
    I can’t stand it when vet people are accusing with you. We’ve been lucky though, had really nice vets. Hope you can find one that’s nice and works for your animals!

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