Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I hate my vet (that means you Falls Road Animal Hospital)

This is my rant against Falls Road Animal Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Until last Friday, this had been my vet for my beloved dog. NO MORE!

I could give you the whole back history, but here are some helpful nuggets.

We'll focus on this last vist, as it was the worst. I brought Quentin in to the vet b/c he has had mucas and blood in his stool and I was worried that he may have swallowed something he shouldn't have. I also figured that while I was there, I would use the opportunity to address a staph infection he has had on his skin.

I made an appointment and was assigned to Dr. S. I had seen him once before and did not enjoy the experience as I find him arrogant and indifferent, but I foolishly accepted the appointment b/c it fit in with my work schedule.

So we went and were put in the examining room. When the doctor walked him, I explained to him the issues.

Response to the staph infection: brushed it off, said it could be fleas and if it is staph, it will just keep coming back so I should have him on a good food and omega oils and just deal with him having flaky skin. I explained that he already is on such a food and such oils and he said that that was great and I could try bathing him more. I said that I've always understood that bathing dries one's skin out more. He just smirked and said I could use a moisturizing shampoo or put some oils on his skin. He claimed he would give me info on these oils, but never did.

Now, as you know, I am a scientist and have an excellent understanding of biology. I also grew up with animals and horses and have a pretty good understanding of vet care. I know for a fact that flea bites do not look the same as the staph lesions my dog has and I also know for a fact he does not have fleas. He had no interest in my assertions that he doesn't have fleas and I wanted to treat the infection.

Response to blood and mucas in stool: I had brought in a stool sample and he ordered tests done on that. He did not do a rectal exam or any other obvious exam except touching his stomach. He said I could wait in the waiting room for the results of the stool test for giardia. I asked what he thought it could be if not a parasite b/c I was worried about him having a foreign body in his stomach. He said we would address that after the exam results. I then waited for well over a half hour. I was then called to the desk where there was a bottle of antibiotics, bags of powder and my receipt. The receptionist was ready to ask me to pay. I asked her what the diagnosis was and what was going on. She didn't know and went to find someone else. That took another 5 minutes or so. Another woman came and said that the giardia test was negative and they were going to send out the stool to get a complete battery of parasite tests done. In the meantime I could give him the medicine (antibiotics for diarrhea and powder for parasites). I asked what the doctor thought was wrong if it wasn't parasites. She didn't know and left for a bit. Someone else came back and said that the doctor wasn't worried about an obstruction. I said that I wanted to get some info on what was wrong if it wasn't for parasites. At this point the receptionist butted in and told me, in a very rude tone, that switching a dog's food is very dangerous and should never be done without vet supervision (I'm guessing she read my chart that I has switched food recently). I then informed her, very testily, that I had slowly switched his food over a month, that he had been switched to an adult for sensitive skin food to help his skin issues (this had been suggested to me in a previous vet visit) and that his old food's formula had just been changed by the company that makes it and had started making him ill. She just stared at me.

The other woman said nothing in response to my questions about what it would be if not parasites. I then said I didn't want either medication if they didn't even know if he needed them and I would just take my bill. The receptionist informed me it was about $130. When I asked why it was so expensive, she said that the in-house test giardia was about $40 and the out of house test for all parasites was about $40. It clearly said on the bill that the out of house test also tested for giardia, so I asked why double tests were ordered. They gave me a ridiculous, non-answer. When I said I didn't want to pay for a test that wasn't necessary, the other woman asked me if Dr. S told me that he was going to do the tests. I said that he told me he was sending the stool out for testing and would do an in-house test for giardia but did not inform me of the costs nor did he inform me that the in-house test wasn't necessary and I could have just waited 24-hours for the results of the other test. She informed me in a remarkably rude manner that I had authorized the tests and there was nothing she could do.

I let her know that I would never be coming back to falls road animal hospital and did not want the other test sent out, so in the end I only paid for one. I find it disgusting that after a 5 minute exam, I spent 45 minutes in the hospital and at no point did Dr. S (or any other vet) have the time to come out and give me his diagnosis, discuss treatments or talk about possibilities for what could be wrong. I just called Aardmore animal hospital and, though I've never been there, was put through to a vet immediately. She listened to what has been going on with my dog, explained the various things she thought could be going on based on the phone conversation and what treatments she would suggest if I decided to come in. Not one thing she discussed was mentioned by Dr. S or anyone else. She was friendly and thorough.

Though I'm sure many people are lucky enough to have an average experience, I guarantee you that Falls Road Animal Hospital gives sub-par, over-priced, careless and arrogant animal care. Every dog owner I have ever met in Baltimore (and that is over 50 people) has a negative story to tell about this facility and none of them use it. If you go look at any website that rates vets, you will hear similar and more awful stories over and over. I wish I had done that. I went for the same reason most people do: it is well-located, has emergency service and advertises, advertises, advertises.

Obviously, I am now changing vets. I'm posting this here to vent and also hoping that maybe some google search, some day, will stop an unsuspecting person from going to this horrible place.


1 comment:

Mr. Mephistopheles said...

Just curious, but is your former vet's name synonymous with something that you would find in Ocean City? If so, I can attest as to what a buffoon he is- based on his postings on our neighborhood listserv. He's so stupid that I don't know how he ever graduated from veterinary school.