Veterinary Mistakes: Brandy’s Story—What Would You Do if it Was Your Dog?

How important is having somebody looking over the shoulder of a veterinarian when they care for your dog?

Veterinary mistakes and mishaps happen. The difference is that sometimes things can go wrong and it’s nobody’s fault. And sometimes somebody screwed up. Is there a way to prevent that?

Veterinary Mistakes: Brandy's Story

Brandy was a sweet, happy Cocker Spaniel who loved to play. One day, she played chase in her home. In pursuit of the ball, she jumped off a bed funny and started to hobble and cry in pain.

Emergency veterinary visit

Brandy’s mom rushed to the veterinary ER. Poor Brandy seemed to be in horrible pain.

The ER veterinarian examined Brandy and took some x-rays. The likely diagnosis was a ruptured cruciate ligament, a common knee injury in dogs.

Brandy received an injection of pain medication and pills to take later.

All hell breaks loose

As soon as they arrived home, things took a scary turn.

Brandy began pacing, panting and couldn’t stop drinking. She was breathing rapidly and couldn’t stop fidgeting. Her mom stayed up with Brandy all night, trying to soothe and calm her.

Would that be a normal reaction to the injury or the pain meds?

Calling the ER

First thing in the morning, Brandy’s mom called the emergency clinic, explaining what’s happening with Brandy. They told her that Brandy got a shot of steroids and such side effects would be normal.

Really? To such a degree? Brandy was beside herself and things weren’t improving.

Brandy’s mom went to their local veterinarian. He thought the degree of Brandy’s reaction to the shot was unusual but agreed that it must be from the steroids. While Brandy’s knee was still a problem, it was hard to worry about that given everything else that was going on.

The university hospital

Brandy ended up at a university hospital. She required intensive care and IV treatment.

What do you think happened to Brandy? Do you figure such violent reaction fits normal side effects of steroid treatment? What would happen if Brandy’s mom trusted the ER veterinarian that those were normal side effects of a steroid injection?

Typical side-effects of steroid treatment include:

  • increased thirst and urination
  • increased hunger
  • panting
  • decreased energy

These signs are common but should one shot had such a violent effect that lasted a week? How does one tell the difference between normal side effects and things gone wrong?

What would you do if it was your dog?

Read Brandy’s story here.

Related articles:
The Function of Cortisol: What Happens In A Dog’s Body When It Goes Awry?

Further reading:
Steroid Treatment – Effects in Dogs
Vet Confessions: I Lied When a Pet Died

Categories: Dog health advocacyMisdiagnosesVeterinary mistakes

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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.

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