Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie’s Post-Sedation Complications

Being able to work with your veterinarian to work out an individual treatment plan tailored to your dog’s needs is essential.

It is no possible to achieve if your veterinarian is not listening to you. They might be able to use an identical process for a thousand dogs with great results. But that doesn’t mean that the same will work for your dog. It is crucial to be able to communicate concerns to your vet and get them to consider how your dog might react to the treatment or protocol.

Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications. Working Out an Individual Care Approach Tailored to Your Dog's Needs.

Indications for sedation

Your dog might need to be sedated for the following reasons:

  • relief stress and anxiety
  • reduce risk of catecholamine-induced arrhythmias
  • reduce the risk of handling difficult dogs
  • to enable a thorough clinical examination
  • to perform diagnostic or minor surgical procedures
  • as premedication prior to general anesthesia

Source: vetstream

Cookie needed sedation to get useful x-rays

In order to try and figure out what was going on with Cookie’s lameness, we decided to take the next step by getting x-rays. To get the images we needed, proper positioning is important and Cookie had to be sedated to achieve that.

Everything went well and quickly.

After sedation is reversed, it is expected that it takes a while before the dog comes fully out of it. However, Cookie seemed bummed out from it more than would be normal.

How Cookie’s body reacted to her sedation protocol

Even three hours later she was still barely walking, both her head and hind end drooping. We encouraged her to lay down and rest.

About another hour later she went rushing to the door to go potty. In the short time, it took for us to put on a coat and go looking for boots she already pooped; she was in a big hurry.

The stool was fine and firm; it was curious why it was in so much hurry to get out.

She went to lay down again only to come rushing to the door once again half an hour later. This time the stool was watery. Hubby took her out while I was cleaning up and she continued to squat and more liquid kept coming out. He hind end was so weak that she ended up just sitting on the ground, leaking out of her bum. The liquid seemed completely clear by then with no color to it at all.

It was also cold outside so when it looked like it was over hubby brought her back in.

She about just walked in when she turned around, sat down and more liquid came gushing out. This continued for about an hour. She was clearly uncomfortable and I started worrying about her getting dehydrated after losing that much fluids.

Not your run-of-the-mill diarrhea

This did not look like diarrhea at all. I’ve never seen anything like this.

Should we try to go back to the vet? It’s an hour drive and she was miserable and this stuff just kept coming out. How would she do in the truck?

It wasn’t urine because after a bunch of that came out she peed and the urine had a normal yellow color.

I did get on the phone with the vet hospital explaining what was happening.

They suggested it was a result of stress and voiced the same concern I had whether it’s a good idea to take her back in. We agreed that if it continues, she gets worse, or starts vomiting that we’d bring her in.

The whole thing lasted about an hour and then it stopped.

All that from stress?

Could all this have been just from stress? Cookie loves going to the vet. Yes, she woke up in the place without mommy or daddy but would that be enough to cause all that trouble? And if so, I would understand her getting some diarrhea but this didn’t look like any diarrhea I’ve ever seen or heard of.

And how would stress explain the weak, droopy hind end and all the effects lasting as long as they did?

I boiled up some chicken breast and eventually convinced Cookie to drink some of the broth and eat a bit of the chicken. She had no further diarrhea and was fine by the next morning.

Burning questions remained on my mind.

I talked to Jasmine’s vet about all this and he too felt that stress could do this. Including the weakness? The amount of time it took before the effects wore off?

My gut wasn’t buying it.

Who would want to do that twice?

Cookie was to be sedated shortly after again for her platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment (more on that later).

I acquired information about what exactly was used for Cookie’s sedation. There was nothing wrong with the protocol – good, gentle sedation.

BUT Jasmine too had severe reactions to some perfectly good drugs. I voiced all those concerns to Jasmine’s vet who was going to do the PRP treatment for Cookie.

Is there a different plan?

What can we do to mitigate the effects? Is there a different protocol we could try?

Particularly since the drive to Jasmine’s vet is five hours and this could happen on the way home. The thought of that was ripping my heart out.

Some things we did to try to prevent such tummy trouble included upping her probiotic, adding some extra fiber and keeping her meals the same for the few days before the sedation.

This time, hubby was going to be there with her when she was coming to. I was on pins and needles to see how things were going to play out.

Hubby called me when Cookie was done and woke up. She was looking good. Little drowsy but steady on her feet and looking for food. About an hour after she woke up they set on the way back home.

Prepared for the worst

Adverse reactions don’t improve by repetition. We loaded the truck with pee pads, a stash of blankets and paper towels in case tummy trouble did hit her during the trip back.

No tummy trouble at all. No hind end weakness either. When they came back home she was happy, hungry, and full of beans.

She suffered no ill effects this time around.

As I was looking through Jasmine’s vet’s web-based records, I saw that he indeed did use a different protocol for her sedation. God bless him.

Different protocol, different result

He knew that the sedation protocol she got the first time was perfectly fine. He knew that stress can cause stomach upsets and diarrhea. But he also took my concerns to heart.

I could just picture him sitting there, going over all my emails and thinking up the best plan.

He never failed to listen to my concerns or to take them seriously.

I got the information about what and how much he used from him and provided that to our local vet here. I had them add a big, bold, red note to Cookie’s file that this was the protocol that worked well.

There is nothing more important than your vet listening to you.

When the vet is not listening

Too often a veterinarian might jump to the obvious conclusion. They make up their mind and shut down to anything that doesn’t match their thinking. Anything you might have to say is not getting through.

Even worse, sometimes it can be about time as they need to move on to another patient. And, sometimes, I suppose they believe that we’re all morons.

Ignored information can lead to wrong conclusions. Either a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis is going to do your dog any good.

Jasmine’s example

The most glaring and frustrating example was when Jasmine was hospitalized after her drug-induced hyperthermia.

Her initial diagnosis at veterinary ER was completely wrong and if we listened to their recommendation, we’d euthanized her right and there.

We sought a second opinion at a teaching hospital. They diagnosed her properly and were able to save her life. However, as a fallout of all that happen, Jasmine was unable to walk.

The veterinarians decided to fixate on Jasmine’s previous knee surgeries and concluded that was the reason for her not walking. We told them repeatedly she was walking, running and jumping prior to the hyperthermia incident. Then we had her primary vet tell them that Jasmine’s mobility was fine prior and that her knees and legs were functioning normally.

Yet, they continued to ignore all that and refusing to look for another reason for Jasmine’s not walking. How are you gonna fix the problem when you’re looking the other way?

While at the end, things worked out well for Jasmine, much frustration and suffering could have been saved if they listened to what we were trying to tell them.

Related articles:
What Makes a Good Veterinarian?
A Reflection on a Year of Working with Our New Vet

Further reading:
Sedation – sedative protocols for dogs

Categories: Adverse reactionsConditionsDog health advocacyReal-life StoriesWorking with Veterinarians

Tags: :

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

Share your thoughts