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Negligence from Vets - Help required please


Polar Koala
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I took my dog in for a c-section at the weekend. Received a phone call a few hours later stating the op had gone well and all pups fine. Then receive a further phone call a short time later saying that the mum had killed one pup and injured another. 
 

The story is that the dog was wandering around the room after coming around from the anaesthetic and the pups were in a separate box which was open and within the same room. She has then attacked them apparently whilst they were in and out cleaning. Anyway, my issue here is that the dog was left unsupervised with the pups. The dog has had pups before and was an amazing mum but I cannot understand why she was left in her delirium wandering about with free access to her pups. It’s common for dogs to react strangely when they have just come around like this and also it’s a shock to them as the pups are just there and need a proper slow supervised introduction to ensure all well. 
 

When I went to collect, the injured one had been stitched up but was still seeping blood. Unfortunately this was the smallest pup in the litter and this also passed away that same night, despite my best efforts.

 

The mum has been absolutely fine since and has not shown any form of aggression towards remaining. Can’t really comprehend the situation. What I am most shocked about is the failure to provide adequate aftercare by so called professionals which has resulted in the loss of two pups lives. If the pups were in an open box, mum should have been crated separately. If she was out, pups box should have been shut. Please could have some advice on how best to proceed here as I feel this is sheer negligence on their part.

 

I can add pics but some may find them a bit graphic.  
 

Many thanks

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If you can demonstrate that this is clearly something that a prudent and experienced professional veterinarian would not do then I expect that you have an excellent case.

You wouldn't need to think about seeing in negligence. I expect that you would sue on the contract.

 

Can you tell us something about the puppies?

 

 

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So would it be wise to get a copy of the consent form as they didn’t provide a copy of this. Any vet would be well aware that pups should not be left with the mum unsupervised at that early stage so soon after a major operation. 
 

I did also wonder if they had any cctv in said room where the incident was meant to have occurred? 
 

What particularly would you like to know about the pups? 

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I agree with you that this wasn't an adequate standard of care.  Out of interest was it OOH?  Had they scanned and knew (roughly) how many pups they were going to have to deal with?  I know these questions don't seem relevant to what happened but it does all help with the overall picture of care and competence.

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No this was during the day, she was booked and I took her in 10:30am and collected in the afternoon. I had her scanned and she had the exact amount of pups that the scanner said and they had this info upon booking her in. I knew that they had staff off due to isolation but when I raised this when I went to collect and queried if it was staffing level issue, the vet who performed the procedure told me that they had enough people for the surgery. 
 

my response was that it wasn’t the surgery that I have the issue with, it’s the aftercare that has or in this case has not been provided as this situation was completely avoidable and should not have happened. 
 

The full bill was approx £1300, I said to the vet that I was not happy to pay the bill at that stage due to having lost one and having another with severe injuries which I had no idea whether it would survive. I confirmed that I wanted to take further advice before paying. I ended up paying £500 on the day. Vet is calling me back on Friday to discuss the remainder of the bill. To be honest, I was shocked that they expected me to pay the full bill and the vet said that she was going to remove 10% off the bill anyway but this was only after I mentioned that I wasn’t happy with paying it. Many people have said I shouldn’t have paid anything. 

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I know you're in shock and very upset.  I would be too and for the moment I wouldn't rush anything.  I'd say if you can leave it at the £500 without much further argument then you are probably doing as well as you're going to.  If there's one phrase which drives me up the wall at the moment  it's 'due to covid...' but it will be the excuse.  Under normal circumstances a breeder would stay during a c-section, if only in the waiting room, and take mum and pups home asap.  Unfortunately that just isn't how it happens at present.

 

Honestly I'd give yourself time and say as little as possible if the vet phones you.  Just say you're still very upset and not fit to discuss it.  Get your complaint in writing and send it in but don't rush it.

 

53 minutes ago, Polar Koala said:

No this was during the day, she was booked

Is there a reason this was a booked section?  Is it a breed which has difficulty whelping?

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The reason I want to know about the pops is because I'm interested in understanding what the issue might be in terms of damages

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Yes she was booked in due to breed and generally they can’t self whelp naturally. 
 

BankFodder - what info can I give you that may help? 

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You tell me. I don't know anything about the subject. But we need to know something that tells us something about the value of the lost pups

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Ah ok, so if I go by the last litter she had. The female of the same colour was sold for £4,000. Same parents. The two that passed away were both females. So based on that, at least an £8,000 loss resulting from their actions. 

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13 hours ago, Polar Koala said:

So based on that, at least an £8,000 loss resulting from their actions

Minus your costs of raising them to eight weeks of course.  Are you a registered dog breeder, do this as a living?  If so, and you can show that the lost pups would more than likely have lived/thrived then I can see why you'd be looking at a case for loss of income.  If you're an enthusiast/hobby breeder then I'm not sure you'd have the same argument.

 

Whichever, it would be an uphill struggle.  Sue a vet and your defendant is an expert witness. It isn't impossible but you do need a strong case.

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I can’t see whether it is relevant about the breeding status. I don’t consider that a registered breeder is more likely to have gotten all pups to survive over anyone else with reasonable experience with breeding. 
 

I am a customer to them and they have failed to provide a basic level of care for the pups. Really I need to establish what documents I need to get copies of from them to help my case. What did you think about the CCTV thought? 
 

I was thinking on it more yesterday. I still don’t understand how the pup sustained small puncture marks. The mother is fairly large and doesn’t have the sort of teeth that I could see that could inflict these injuries. I just don’t understand it. 

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