Is it usual for a vet to charge £hundreds for an op if your dog dies while with them?

(33 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 16:29:16

Dog had a dental last week and died after the op while still at the vets.

I could maybe see them charging cost for the GA and maybe for the vets time but they've billed £260. Which I've paid. Though I did let it be known I was suprised they'd had her under GA for 90mins when she had a heart murmur.

Is this normal or are they been cheeky feckers?

miggy Mon 29-Apr-13 16:51:44

Firstly am really sorry about yor dog, must have been horrid sad
Re charging, well When I ran a practice I wouldnt have charged as a good will gesture, even though we would have been out of pocket. They may be a more financially motivated practice, or it may be a case of not being seen to admit liability?

pigsDOfly Mon 29-Apr-13 17:01:46

90 minutes seems like a hell of a long time for a dog to be under GA even without a heart murmur.

Was it just a clean, teeth removed or something bigger? Are you suspecting negligence Viva?

Have you spoken to the vet who actually did the procedure? Tbh £260 doesn't sound an awful lot to me, anything with GA is going to cost an arm and a leg, but I'd certainly want to know exactly what happened and why they kept her under so long.

It does seem strange that when they haven't returned your dog safely to you after what sounds like a routine procedure they go on to charge you for it, but I'd definitely want to know what I'm being charged for a why this happened.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:03

Just a routine clean and teeth out.

She'd reacted badly to an anaesthetic before there and that time they'd stopped the operation early. I'd put off having it done again but the head vet/owner convinced me to have it done, saying they'd monitor her closely, etc.

I do suspect negligence but I can't prove it. I don't even have the emotional energy to argue it. I start crying as soon as I think about the whole situation. I'm guessing at £260 they're still making a profit - nice. The owner said they'd done nothing wrong, that her pulse and breathing had been fine throughout the op. So she's no idea why they found her dead in the recovery cage a short while after but she's sorry.

I'll be finding a different vets.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 17:16:09

Thanks Miggy, maybe they don't want to seem to be admitting liabilty.

pigsDOfly Mon 29-Apr-13 17:24:25

Does sound as if they're covering their backs, and they don't sound like someone you'd want to deal with again.

So sorry you've had to go through this.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 29-Apr-13 17:26:59

I'm sorry to hear about your dog.
90 minutes is not uncommon for a dog dental if there are quite a lot of teeth to be removed. It can take a considerable length of time to remove a molar.
Different practices handle this situation differently and some will discount the bill, some will write it off and others charge you the whole amount.
If you are concerned that your dog was not properly cared for then you can contact the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and they will carry out a preliminary investigation asking to see all the records.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 17:27:51

Thanks Pigs. I asked the vetwho did the op what he thought had happened and he said he didn't know. One of those things, etc.

HoneyDragon Mon 29-Apr-13 17:55:11

Viva sad

When I took my dog in after she collapsed, they did everything they could to save her. After she passed away they decided to do a scan to ascertain what had killed her. As it was set up anyway for whilst they were trying to save her.

The scan would've cost nearly £200.

We were charged £29.00 for bringing her in. And her cremation fees. We were not chased for payment once.

It concerns me that they have no interest in establishing the cause of her death sad I think they count on people being to distraught to question them.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 18:15:29

I'm getting angrier now the more I think about it. I'm tempted to ask them for a breakdown of costs. Though I suppose seeing as I've paid its maybe pointless. I probably just need to move on rather than dwell on it.

HoneyDragon Mon 29-Apr-13 18:17:55

What about speaking to your insurance company, might there be something in the policy that can help you?

Lilcamper Mon 29-Apr-13 18:21:23

My old vet is still chasing me for £6.00 for treatment my dog received before euthanasia and cremation, 5 years later...

Sorry for your loss x

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 18:24:20

As it was a dental op the insurance doesn't cover dentals.

It pays £100 for accidental death but I think they'd argue it wasn't accidental. Plus my excess is £70 so not really worth it.

iclaudius Mon 29-Apr-13 18:24:25

Lilcamper why don't you pay it?

Viva so sorry for your loss

Houseinmerseyside Mon 29-Apr-13 18:30:37

If I were you I'd leave terrible but factual reviews of this vet all over the Internet. They deserve it, and it would make me feel a tiny bit better to warn other pet owners about them. I'm really sorry for your loss and am seething at these horrible people.

Lilcamper Mon 29-Apr-13 18:36:41

I would have, but to start with I was grieving then we moved six hours away and I forgot about it til they caught up with us! Will be paying but £6 seems a trivial amount after 5 years.

LEMisdisappointed Mon 29-Apr-13 18:50:09

You should ask if the dog was fully concious before it was left in the kennels. At the vets i used to work in we have recovery kennels in the prep room so animals can be watched until they are fully recovered. If we had a dog with a heart murmer she would have had full aneasthetic monitoring with observations recorded every five minutes so that a) a worrying pattern could be picked up (apart from abrupt changes in O2 levels and heart rate) and b) if there was a problem post anaesthetic it could be referred to to see if there was any indications of a problem. Sadly, a perfectly healthy dog can be lost under anaesthesia but fortunately rare. It can often be a case of "one of those things" - that is not trivialising it, its awful, just awful but you can't always explain things. Was your dog put on a drip during the anaesthesia? Any "dodgy" pets would have a drip whilst under and the bag allowed to be used up afterwards, to maintain blood pressure. We probably wouldn't have left your dog alone to be fair. I have only ever known my bosses to loose one dog under aneasthetic apart from very sick pets but i was always hmm when they were charged.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 19:04:17

They said she'd come round from the GA, whether that means fully or not I don't know. They said she just stopped breathing in the recovery cage, not sure if someone was with her or whether they found her later. They did try CPR on her for sometime so I suppose they must have thought it had just happened.

She did have an IV during the op, don't know if it was still up or not.

Oh Viva sad

My pup who is thirteen had to have his ahem balls removed a few weeks ago and I was TERRIFIED they'd fuck it up - so, so sorry to hear of your loss.

No qualified advice but 90 mins sounds like an extraordinarily long time for having a tooth out. And after the vet specifically addressed your concerns.

RedwingWinter Mon 29-Apr-13 22:08:03

Viva, no advice but I just want to say I'm really sorry for your loss sad

Did your dog have any bloods done before her dental? Usually in dogs over 6 years old a blood test is offered (but is up to the owner) to check the function of the liver, kidneys, etc. if bloods aren't done and the dog does have a problem - which they may not even be showing symptoms of yet- this can cause them to not be able to process the anaesthetic properly through the body and cause more problems after anaesthetic.

I'm sorry for your loss, these sort of deaths are always the hardest as they are unexpected.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 22:47:02

Yes, bloods were ok.

One thing that's pissing me off is the morning of the op the vet rang me after I'd dropped her off to tell me she had a heart murmur. Like he was just diagnosing it. I told him I already knew and he said I couldn't do as he'd just found it.

I told him that a year ago one of the other vets told me she had a heart murmur. He reckoned that at the appt a month previously where the head vet convinced me to let her have the op that head vet hadn't heard a heart murmur and there was nothing on her records. He was saying she would need to start tablets.

So firstly I'm annoyed that their records were crap and would the head vet have recommened it if she'd remembered about the heart murmur. That vet had seen my dog prior to the recommending appt and had spoken to me about the heart murmur then. So she had heard it at some point.

Secondly when I saw my dog after she'd died the vet who had rung me that morning said to me something like "well I rang you and told you about the heart murmur and that the op would me more of a risk". Well actually he didn't say that at all. He just said she would need to start tablets. But I was far too upset to argue with him and he was obviously going to lie about it anyway. angry

TheChaoGoesMu Mon 29-Apr-13 22:54:58

I'm sorry about your dog op. Thats hard. It sounds like they are covering up some crap practice. I dont think they should be charging you.

Merrylegs Mon 29-Apr-13 23:00:12

Sorry about your dog. How upsetting. My vet just quoted me £145 today for the same procedure. He says they charge by how much anaesthetic they have to use to put the dog under. (My dog weighs 17kg). Was your dog much heavier?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 23:06:08

Merrylegs, 27kg. They wouldn't quote me a price before as it depends how many teeth are extracted.

Shed had two denials before and each one was about £300.

Merrylegs Mon 29-Apr-13 23:11:40

Ah so actually not wildly off the mark re cost then? God, I was dithering about booking dog in for this anyway as I didn't want to put him through a GA (wimpy whippet) but your v sad story has made me even more unsure. V sorry for your loss Viva.

poachedeggs Mon 29-Apr-13 23:15:09

Viva, I'm so sorry this has added to your distress. May I suggest that you write down all of your concerns in a letter or email for the practice manager or principal vet?

It's totally normal in a situation like this for questions to arise, especially once the initial shock has worn off a little. As a vet I encourage owners to get in touch with any further questions after an unexpected bad outcome.

From the available information it's not clear that there's been any negligence or wrongdoing, but I will say that it sounds like their communication has left a lot to be desired. I think if they can at least answer some of your questions you will be able to have some peace of mind. And of course if the answers are unsatisfactory then the RCVS will be able to deal with your complaint as Lonecat has mentioned.

Look after yourself. This is an incredibly hard thing to deal with sad

furbaby Mon 29-Apr-13 23:20:34

Oh viva my heart goes out to you.
This does all seem a little odd like they are covering up , shame that you paid as I think if you kicked up they would have written off bill (won, t bring darling dog back though ) I would make appointment to speak to manager . You can, nt allow them to get away with this it all these like someone was, nt doing their job .
Feel for you .

Empress77 Mon 29-Apr-13 23:46:24

So sorry to hear about your loss, I really am, it must have been devastating. The majority of anaesthetic deaths do happen in recovery as monitoring is less close. I am a vet nurse and have had patients die post dentals during recovery - it is devastating to the staff too and Im sure they did work hard to try to resusitate. Sometimes patients will even die a few days later - my rabbit died the day after a dental but I didnt even think to question the charges - they kind of have to charge for what theyve done/spent money on themselves - I certainly did question the treatment side of things and should I not have agreed to have the dental done etc - but in the end feel that once they are gone no amount of blame placing will bring them back.

Dentals are often very prolonged - 90 minutes isnt unreasonable especially if many teeth were being removed and because the dog is a big one - vets often struggle to get them out. I would ask for a breakdown of costs to put your mind at rest, vets normally give you a breakdown routinely. Pre op bloods will increase the price, as will the IV and I would expect your dog may have been on IV fluids as well for the dental. They will probably have charged for the drugs used during the resusitation attempt too.

I would say that reception probably wouldnt have had the power to cancel the charges on your account so if you are unhappy about paying it is worth speaking to one of the partners/head vet to discuss it further-that may also put your mind at rest that they did everything they could?

So, so sorry againxxx

sad How awful for you. I'd be angry too if it were my dog.

I'd definitely contact them even if it's just to make them aware you're unhappy with the lack of communication amongst them.

Vets really do have us all by the short and curlies don't they? If humans died like this there'd be an investigation. It's almost like they're saying 'well you were warned' hmm

VivaLeBeaver Tue 30-Apr-13 06:03:19

Yes exactly. A human may sign a consent form but a hospital could still be done for negligence. It seems with a vet you have no come back as you signed the form giving permission and saying you know there's risks.

It was the owner of the practice who was sat in reception discussing it all with me. I did try and quibble it a bit but she didn't seem to be budging.

Stupid thing when she said to me "I've done you a discount" I thought she meant on the collar and that she was been nice due to what happened. Then when she said it comes to £260 I was hmm

1MitchellMum Tue 30-Apr-13 06:33:54

So very sorry for your loss sad

How are you VivaLB?

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