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Rollo referred to vet school - what to expect???

(12 Posts)
Solo2 Tue 09-Aug-11 17:16:09

If you've been following the saga of our 6 month old golden retriever, you'll know what we've bene through with him and his recurrent diarrhoea and my despair at times, after all night stints in the garden with him, kitchen roll and a hose pipe!

Our vet has done poo samples, different foods and recently a blood test. they're now referring him to the local vet school for either a colonoscopy or a full blown op. involving cutting him open - to take gut biopsies and have a look.

I am very worried about this but accept that we've gone as far as we can with the vet and now they need specialist help.

Has anyone else had anything like this done on their pup? Will it be horribly traumatic for Rollo? What will the after care necessitate?

I am torn equally between worry about our puppy and concern about how I'm going to do 24 hr nursing care - if needed - as well as single parent my twins, run my f/t business and run our house singlehandedly (and look after our cats too). I am also worried that they'll want to take Rollo off his antibiotics, prior to seeing us, which I now know from 6 experiences of this, will mean he gets severe diarrhoea within 24 hrs that goes on and on several times an hour - night and day.

They're not sure they'll have to do that but anyway, after the consultation and everything else, I'm also worried about Rollo getting diarrhoea again if they experiment with various treatments.

Anyway, please can any vets but also any owners of pups who've bene through this tell me more about what to expect? The initial consultations will last about 40 minutes apparently (will have to take DCs with me too and hope anyway that it's in the school hols. when I'm taking time off work).

So it does look like despite researching breeders for ages, travelling twice an 8 hr journey and renting accomodation to visit one and then travelling 3 times a 4 hr round trip to see the one we eventually went with and accepting the last of her 19 puppies born (of 3 litters), assuming it was from a really good, strong and healthy line and having waited a lifetime to get the right dog at the right time - we've unfortunately ended up with a chronically ill puppy, beyond the local vet's care...poor little Rollo....

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 09-Aug-11 17:24:50

Hi, Solo, not sure what Vet school you will be attending, but from what I hear back from any of my clients who have been referred to the vet school near us, you will get really good comprehensive care smile You will be able to ask all the questions you would like answered. I'm sure if Rollo needs intensive nursing care they will keep him in- the nurses are generally lovely and will do round the clock nursing for him. I'm willing to bet Rollo will love all the attention he will get- no member of a vet team can ever resist a cute puppy!!

And I really wouldn't blame yourself or necessarily the breeder for Rollo's condition- have you spoken to the breeder? I'm guessing he or she will want to know, and be keen to follow Rollo's progress, if they are a good breeder. Sometimes pups are born with digestive insensitivities or problems, and it's not necessarily down to "bad breeding". Happily, my experiences of this type of problem are that it usually does get fixed, often via diet, sometimes with other medical treatment, but rarely continues into adulthood uncontrolled. Does that help a little?

Solo2 Wed 10-Aug-11 07:05:13

Thanks for the reassurance Jooly... I've been in email contact with the breeder who also asked around her contacts in the golden retriever world about rollo's symptoms but it seems everyone has their own opinion and lots of mixed opionions. Our own vet seems sure it's not just a simple thing about something rollo ate - but something else that is the cause os Small Intestine Bacterial Overload - if indeed that's what he has.

I hope it can all be sorted out as the uncertainty - and therefore the effect on my caily life (and nightly lack of sleep!) is difficult.

Anyone else had experience with a dog going to vet school and having exploratory operations?

Solo2 Wed 10-Aug-11 10:57:55

Just talked to the vet school and arranged Rollo's appointment. It's horrendously expensive!!! Just the initial interview is £238 and the potential costs of investigations will take us soaring towards the thousands! Oh why didn't I get insurance! Be warned, anyone reading this - even if you thoroughly research your breed and breeder, you never know if you'll get a puppy with chronic health issues.

I've had to delay the appointment till the last week of the DCs holidays as we're busy with other things and have Rollo at the trainers again before then.

Any further shared experiences of visits to vet schools - v much appreciated smile

minimu11 Wed 10-Aug-11 11:41:18

Solo what a nightmare.

I would really discuss this with my own vets in details several times before going down the route of an expensive referral. (This is just my opinion and feel free to disagree and ignore!)

I guess the vets will have no choice but to explore the gut which will mean evasive surgery and may still not discover a reason for the symptoms. You may get a name for what is wrong but not what causes it or how to cure it conclusively.

Not sure if the vets on here agree but tummy troubles (from my experience) are a nightmare to treat but can at times just settle down over time. Is there any reason Rollo can not carry on with the antibiotics for a while and give some time just to see how things progress? Then if things are still bad in a few months consider the referral?

alice15 Wed 10-Aug-11 14:04:04

Given how much this seems to be affecting you, I would think a referral would be a good idea. I also think that gut biopsies would probably be a good idea, depending what they find, of course. This is not too bad at all if done by endoscopy, and even if he does have to have exploratory surgery, he's a young (otherwise) healthy dog, and I wouldn't worry too much about it - they generally bounce back fine, and if he's having a GA at the vet school, he will be in the care of specialist anaesthetists with the most modern equipment, so it will be even safer than in general practice. Make sure the vet school knows he's not insured, so they keep their investigation as focussed as possible. I hope you get a solution soon - good luck.

Madondogs Wed 10-Aug-11 15:19:27

Have been reading your threads over last few months,just wanted to extend my sympathy to you and wish Rollo good luck. As others have said, he will be in the care of experts so try not to worry too much. Good luck xx

Solo2 Thu 11-Aug-11 13:48:46

Thanks. Minimu, the initial appointment is already fixed now but may or may not lead to the further investigations, although my vet thought it likely. The person we're seeing initially seems to be a student as I can't find her on the website for the vet school/ non consultant, so I really hope she's had experience with this sort of thing. I plan to have a list of questions with me about why they might do whatever they might do and what answers if any we'd get and how conclusive or not these would be.

My own vet warned me that it's v difficult to check for food intolerances but I'm still really unsure this is anything food related but will want to talk more about that too.

It all seems v drastic really and I'm not sure why our own vet can't deal with it. Rollo has now seen 4 different vets from the practice but it's the one who owns and runs it who decided it was time to refer on.

I've also now just emailed the breeder we'd originally hoped to have a puppy from - but couldn't in the end. She's something to do with health council and golden retrievers I think and she might have some further suggestions. She was the one who passed me on to the breeder we went with eventually, as her own matings hadn't worked.

alice15 Thu 11-Aug-11 17:47:42

You will be seeing a qualified vet, not a student, as students aren't allowed to make diagnoses etc except under the direct supervision of a qualified vet. You might see a student or a junior clinician first off, so they can get the experience of talking to you and examining Rollo, but there will be a senior specialist in the background supervising. If you are going fairly soon, most of the students probably won't be there anyway, as it's outside university term time (depending which vet school it is). I hope they can allay your concerns when you attend the appointment.

Solo2 Sat 13-Aug-11 07:43:24

Thanks alice15. The vet school phoned again and rearranged the appointment to the next day so that Rollo will see their gastro expert. I've got her name now and googled her and she's done research etc on stomach problems amongst other things. So that's good.

The cost of that first appointment is massive though! Do you think it'd be OK to write a short summary letter to the person we'll probably see, to outline more of the background about Rollo, even if the vet has done a few lines to them for the referral?

I want to make good use of the appointment and if I lay out all the facts from the owner's point of view and my questions then that should speed up conclusions/ decisions in the appointment. Or would this be too presumptive and pushy?

When DCs have ever had consultant hospital appointments, I've always written to the consultant first with a parent's perspective but not sure if it'll be OK with a vet school consultant???

Meanwhile, Rollo is fine and spending 2 days with the trainer again to give me a break. This is working really well except for the expense (£40.00 a day) as Rollo loves her and her dogs and she's v flexible with her life and days rather than having to fit everything in to children/work schedule.

ceres Sat 13-Aug-11 08:08:58

ok, i know i sound like a broken record......!

i know you are reluctant to try the slippery elm bark powder before you get a definite diagnosis. maybe you could google and take the information along to discuss with the consultant?

i know how upsetting tummy problems are. when our staffie was diagnosed with colitis it was very traumatic - think explosive diarrhoea, which was bad enough, followed by lots of blood. it was horiffic and he had to stay in doggy hospital for a few days.

however i don't like using any drugs if they can be avoided and now his colitis is largely controlled through diet (natuer's harvest) and slippery elm bark powder made into gloop. he does still get the odd flare up but they are few and far between. the minute we see the warning signs we are off to the vet and get traditional colitis drugs. our vet obviously knows we use slippery elm bark powder.

best of luck with the appointment, hope it goes well.

ceres Sat 13-Aug-11 08:10:03

erm, consultant? i meant vet!

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