Whole Dog Journal's Blog March 24, 2014

Don’t take my dog “in the back” without me

Posted at 02:12PM - Comments: (74)

I’ve written previously about my aversion to letting veterinary technicians take my dogs “in the back” for blood draws and other quick procedures. My main reason for not wanting to send Otto in the back is that he has an irrational fear of slippery floors. As soon as he thinks a floor is slippery – it doesn’t even seem to matter whether I find the floor to be slippery or not – he starts to walk like Bambi on a frozen pond, scrambling in such as way as to ensure that he will fall.

He’s actually made a LOT of progress, largely because I’ve never dragged or forced him across a floor that freaked him out (contrary to LOTS of advice from the kind of trainers I don’t listen to). He may quail for a moment at the entrance to a pet supply store, when he steps off the entry carpet and finds himself on a sea of tile, but then he will gather himself and walk cautiously along with me. His turns will be wide and wobbly, and he will pant a bit with the effort of staying upright, but he’s game, he’ll go. That’s hard-won progress – and admittedly, I don’t put him through it a lot, or for no good reason. Any time we have to navigate a super slippery place, I make it as rewarding – and brief – as possible for him.

Veterinary clinics almost always have tile or other hard, smooth floors – they are the easiest to keep clean. But they present a challenge to Otto, and knowing this, I protect him as best I can by telling the techs, as they lead us to exam rooms, “I need to let him go slow and pick his own path; he’s really cautious on slippery floors.” And – usually -- I don’t allow them to “take him in the back,” because they don’t know this behavior as well as I do, and I don’t want him to backslide. If he gets scared and puts the brakes on for a second, I can encourage him with a word and he will start walking again. At clinics, they will almost always respond to a dog locking up by just dragging the dog – gently, but dragging nonetheless! – through the door into the back. Most dogs are afraid to leave their owners and are fine (if not better behaved) once the door between the “back” and their owner is closed. Otto is happy to go with the techs, he likes them! Inconvenient though it may be, it’s really all about the FLOOR.

My son was visiting over the weekend. He was delivering his young dog, Cole, to me to dog-sit while he and his girlfriend take a short vacation (spring break). We took both of our dogs to the vet on Sunday. Eight-or-so-month-old Cole needed to be weighed again (he’s growing like a weed) to make sure we are giving him the right amount of heartworm preventive, and to receive said preventive; and he received his first rabies vaccination. (It was given later than usual, as we have been sorting out his immune response to his other vaccines.) Otto needed his annual examination to renew his prescription for heartworm preventive. I also wanted the clinic to take a blood sample to send off for his annual vaccine titer test. (He hasn’t been vaccinated for anything but rabies since I adopted him in 2008; his titers come back strong and positive every year.)

As usual, Otto hesitated at the door of the clinic, and then walked into the waiting room carefully. He happily got onto the scale, which was covered with a paper advertisement for some veterinary product, and which made the scale less slippery than the floor. And within a minute, we walked into an exam room. He was doing GREAT, for him. He started panting a bit, but otherwise looked happy enough to be there. The tech came in and greeted both dogs, and took the temperature of each, and administered Cole’s rabies vaccine. Then she asked if she could take Otto in the back for the blood sample.

I hesitated for a moment, but he was doing great, and she seemed to have a good handling technique with him. I actually considered for a moment that I didn’t want to come across as nutty and overprotective. So I broke my own rule, and said, “Sure, you can take him in the back.” To my credit, I also said, “Please just let him take his time, don’t pull him if he stops for a second, he’s just REALLY cautious on the slippery floors.” She said, “No problem!” and she chirped at him, and he went with her through the door into the back quite cheerfully, no hesitation or balking – though with the usual “walking on ice” gait he uses on slippery floors.

They were gone a bit longer than it takes to take a blood sample, and my son and I were discussing what might have gone awry when the tech and Otto walked back in – accompanied by the unmistakable odor of released anal glands. My son quickly pulled his shirt over his nose and mouth, as I asked, “What happened?! He’s usually good with blood draws!” The tech said, “Oh, he was really good! He did that right afterward, for some reason. We tried to clean it off . . . do you want us to bathe him for you?”

I answered no; I didn’t want him back out of my sight again! And I was instantly so mad at myself. Why is it so hard to trust one’s own instincts, and just gently request (then insist, if need be) that the procedure be done right there, not “in the back”?

On the way home (with the car windows open), my son and I discussed what we thought probably happened; we were both certain that he must have stalled on the floor at some corner and someone tried to pull him along, forcefully enough to panic him, if just for a moment. The tech said that he was good for the actual blood sample, and I would expect him to be; I’ve been present many times for the procedure with him, and he’s never seemed to notice or mind either the restraint or the needle.

I know that veterinarians and technicians have many good reasons to prefer the dog to be “in the back” for routine procedures, and in some cases, it might be truly necessary. However, this was a reminder to me that I need to insist, every time, that for simple things like blood samples, Otto stays in the exam room with me.

Otto is mature enough now that I don’t think the scary event will scar his sensitive psyche; he was perfectly cheerful and comfortable with the veterinarian’s exam immediately after this. And he was due for a bath anyway. But I feel like I failed him – and it could have been worse.

What’s your policy on this practice at the vet’s office?

Comments (74)

My Dalmation/German Shorthair Pointer mix, Rani, a rescue, was horrified of the vets office. She would shed huge amounts of fur and shake uncontrollable the moment she even realized where we were going. When she was 10 years old she needed a teeth cleaning and I insisted to be with her in the surgery room until the anesthesia worked ...and again when she came out of the procedure. My vet insited that she needed to stay with them for 8 hours after the procedure and that they didn’t have room for me to be with her during that time. I asked where they would keep her and they showed me the recovery kennels. So I stayed inside a kennel/cage with my dog for the 8 hours. My husband brought me a pillow to sit on and my girl and I settled in. Technicians that walked by were laughing at the sight.
Some years later we had to take her to a specialist “in the big city” for an ultrasound and when I asked I was allowed to be with her and hold her during the tests.
Later I found a new vet that has a mobile surgery unit and would treat my dogs at my home. None of my dogs were ever scared of her.

Posted by: BR | September 30, 2017 10:00 AM    Report this comment

A veterinary operation in my town performs ALL exams without the owner present. I suspect it is to be able to see as many animals as possible in the day. This makes it impossible to ask questions of the vet for preventive medicine or to give complete information. The technicians relate information to the vet from their limited conversation with the pet owner. It is an inferior service that has resulted in the bad diagnosis of Addisons Disease on a dog with a large mast cell cancer in its throat, causing the poor animal to suffer with the wrong treatment until a second veterinarian in another clinic was consulted.

Posted by: Barbara L Brehm | September 27, 2017 11:46 AM    Report this comment

Apart from this "back room" thing not being that new (my stories are from a decade ago), boy can I relate. I never did figure out how the fear developed, but my grrl was terrified - life or death terrified - of vets. And because we traveled a lot, we were often in the position of seeking vet care from a new vet (which for some reason meant that they thought this was the first time you and your dog had EVER been to a vet). Story #1 - my dog found a "toy" in the yard - a package of rat poisoning. I didn't know if she had ingested any, so off to the emergency clinic on a Saturday night. The vets wanted her to ingest some activated charcoal, and insisted that this had to be done in the back room. As usual, my description of her fear was blown off as "normal" and "we know what we're doing". Felt like I had no choice. 20 minutes later, 3 vet interns/residents emerged being dragged by my dog back to me. THEY were covered in charcoal. They sheepishly admitted they had been unable to force it down her throat with a tube. Did I think I could get her to eat it at home? No problem, just poured it on her food. Was all that violence necessary? (And yes, to my dog, that was violence). After that, I was more determined than ever not to allow the "back room" stuff to happen. A few years later, however, we were stuck out of town and she was having anal gland issues, so into a local clinic to get them expressed. The tech flatly refused to allow me to come back with the dog citing "insurance reasons" and "I'm a professional, I know what I'm doing."
Again, stuck and feeling I had no choice, I agreed, immediately regretting it as I watched the tech DRAG my dog down the hall by her leash. 10 minutes later, the tech is being dragged back - she literally THREW the leash at me, saying, "she didn't cooperate, I couldn't do it, get her out of here." At that moment, I felt I had failed to protect my dog from abuse. NEVER. AGAIN. All so unnecessary, if I had been permitted to accompany her, if vets and techs would only have listened... I could go on, there are so many stories, more horror stories but also some wonderfully enlightened encounters. Suffice to say that the Fear Free Veterinary movement (google it, can't post links) is so timely and necessary. We owners/guardians/clients must start demanding it.

Posted by: jes | September 25, 2017 4:54 PM    Report this comment

None of my past dogs and my present dog are allowed to be taken away from me for any procedure. If the veterinarian or his workers do not want me to be present, there is something wrong.

Posted by: Pat C | September 24, 2017 8:42 PM    Report this comment

I let a tech take my two dogs in the back, one to have suture removal and one for anal gland expressing. Both got their anals done and sutures were not removed!

Posted by: Jebidiah | September 24, 2017 4:37 PM    Report this comment

To ADT,
It was completely wrong of them to do anything without your consent, but especially it was wrong to catheterize your dog for a urine sample.

The most frequent negative outcome of urethral catheterization for a urine sample is introduction of bacteria which can lead to a urinary tract infection. The veterinarian should know this and I would be leery of any medical professional who did this for a routine urine collection. I would be ten times more worried about a professional who did this without your consent and without explaining the risks and benefits of the procedure.

From Medline:
Urology. 1985 Jul;26(1 Suppl):15-7.
Infectious complications after instrumentation of urinary tract.
Madsen PO, Larsen EH, Dørflinger T.
Abstract

"Urethral catheterization is the single most important predisposing factor in the development of nosocomial urinary tract infection."

Posted by: SadieSue | September 24, 2017 3:16 PM    Report this comment

I agree with Las Vegas--the new trend of doing procedures without the owner present is not good. We all need to stand up to this trim. I do not leave my dog alone at the groomer's either.

Posted by: SadieSue | September 24, 2017 3:07 PM    Report this comment

Your Otto has been lucky to be in the care of someone as solicitous of his psychological well-being as you are. On the other hand, you've been fortunate to face nothing more traumatic for Otto than slippery floors and occasional blood draws. After a decade of nearly perfect health my sweet Skylar endured two difficult years, during which she underwent half a dozen major surgeries and a number of minor "office procedures", plus innumerable x-ray studies, CTs and MRIs, and multiple chemotherapy sessions, during all of which she was a model patient. (This probably explains the thick folder of cards and letters that I eventually received from local vets, plus the staff of one of the country's premier veterinary hospitals - doctors, nurses, technicians and others - expressing their affection and admiration for Skylar and their regret at her passing.) fortunate to face nothing more traumatic for Otto than slippery floors and occasional blood draws. After a decade of near perfect health my sweet Skylar endured two difficult years, during which she underwent half a dozen major surgeries, a number of minor "office procedures", plus innumerable x-ray studies, CTs and MRIs, and multiple chemotherapy sessions, during all of which she was a model patient. (This probably explains the thick folder of cards and letters that I eventually received from local vets, plus the staff of one of the country's premier veterinary hospitals - doctors, nurses, technicians and others - expressing their affection and admiration for Skylar and their regret at her passing.)
This had nothing to do with me. I was present, whenever it was feasible, but I knew better than to ask (or demand!) to participate in major procedures. I know what's involved in getting such cases started safely. Fortunately Skylar never created a problem. This is not to say that cooperation came without cost for her. Before her last laminectomy, as she followed the surgical nurse out of the waiting room in her usual quiet fashion, Skylar stopped at the door to the surgical suite and cast a long, pensive look back at me. She'd never done this before. For the first time I got some idea of how much fear and uncertainty she had overcome during all those prior procedures. Her good behavior had been an act of will, done for my sake, rather than the result of a placid disposition. The realization astonished me.
My point in writing is this: while I admire your determination to avoid causing Otto distress during veterinary visits, your ability to do this has depended on numerous factors, including Otto himself. I can imagine circumstances in which it might not have been possible without jeopardizing Otto's safety or at least the success of a particular procedure. Judgment is always necessary.

Posted by: Alvin Hill | September 24, 2017 8:43 AM    Report this comment

Letting my babies go to the back isn't my issue (at least not with my current three). They actually a little better for some things when I am not in the room. What I will never do is leave my babies at a vet clinic or traditional boarding facility unless they are so sick that they need 24/7 monitoring in the ICU (this is in part why I am a professional pet sitter). Outside of having bad kenneling experiences with my childhood dog (who we then found a pet sitter for), I spend 2 years doing inventory at one of the local vet clinics. I worked right across from the kennels where the lead weekday kennel tech would yell "SHUT UP" or "BE QUIET" to pups who would start whinning and barking for attention. As a pet momma I didn't appreciate that and on the days that I had to bring my pups to work with me for annual and semi-annual checkups, would avoid putting them in the same kennel area where she would spend the majority of the day. Every single one of my babies knew exactly what was going to happen when we went through the back door of the vet office and every single one would have this look (and whimper) of "momma, please don't put me back there. Because of this (and so that I wouldn't have to unnecessary vaccines administered simply so that they could see the vet at a discount (due to being an employee)), I started transitioning my babies to a new vet that would A) endorse minimal vaccination, and B) allow me to stay with my babies throughout the exam unless I made the decision to step out. Thank you for the post.

Posted by: VSMcMullen | September 22, 2017 4:56 PM    Report this comment

So glad to see this article - Yes, there is a new trend to always take a pet to the BACK for all procedures now. I recently had a horrible experience when I heard my gentle cocker spaniel's scream as I sat in the lobby of my new vet! After doing tons of research and my past vet's referral for my new area, I took my Bailey in for a simple nail clip and dremel as I have done for 10 years - the story I was told by the vet on staff (after insisting on seeing her) who refused to accept responsibility was that a tech had "slipped" because my pet had moved during the procedure. According to the vet, the dremel "bruised" the inside of her thigh and one of her toes. After my inspection, my Bailey had three burns from the dremel (one fairly severe on her inside thigh). I was horrified and later found out from the owner of the hospital and after an investigation that two separate techs actually performed the procedure and injured my pet. Thankfully the sores have healed after two weeks since I demanded an anti-inflammatory with painkiller at first denied but I am still reeling with anger and guilt - I thought my always gentle and docile girl was in perfect hands - I was wrong. I will never let her be taken in the back again for a procedures that can be handled with me in the room. We all need to be more verbal and stop this trend!!! Thank you for listening - SPM

Posted by: Las Vegas | September 22, 2017 4:50 PM    Report this comment

Wow! Deja vu all over again! When I moved to a new city, I had to find a new vet. My dog was a rescued rottweiler. At our first appt. I was familiarizing the vet with my dog and happened to mention a behavioral issue I had never seen before. My dog was highly reactive to certain things on TV. Not just animals but random things like running water, certain sounds, etc. I thought he might have some insight. He immediately took an accusatory attitude and told me my dog was "a loaded gun". Then, when it was time for his exam the tech said she was going to take him back to weigh him and would bring him right back. She caught me off guard because that was something i had never encountered. She was gone for quite awhile and when she finally came back she said they also examined him and catheterized him to get a urine sample. and muzzled him! But, she said he was very good ( as I expected he would be). I was livid! They didn't tell me they were going to do any of that. Never have any of my dogs been catheterized for a sample. You take a male dog outside and he's going to pee! I asked the tech if he gave them any trouble. No. Was he aggressive? No. Did he even growl? No. Then why did you feel the need to muzzle my dog? As a precaution. I told her that would not have been necessary if I had been with him. So, I filed a complaint with the practice manager and found a new vet. Thankfully my new vet was awesome.

Posted by: ADT | September 22, 2017 3:58 PM    Report this comment

I consider myself lucky because I go to a vet clinic that I worked at for 10 years as a receptionist. They have a policy that an owner is able to be with their pet if they ask to. But in all the years I worked there I never saw any situation where an animal was handled too rough or without proper handling and restraint. Now most of the time I go back with my pets but sometimes I choose not to and I know that I can trust whoever is working with them.
Several people have commented on blood draws and I hope they realize that blood draws can be difficult at times. Just because somebody doesn't get the blood right away doesn't mean that they're doing something wrong. When I get my blood drawn it doesn't always happen with the first stick from the trained phlebotomist. And truthfully lots of times the techs are better than the Vets because they have the most practice.
I read an article recently where it was suggested that people should get their dogs desensitized to wearing a muzzle in case at some point in their life they need to wear a muzzle. I did have a rescue dog that had to be muzzled when she went to the vet and I did that to make sure that no vet was ever bitten by her. Vets make their living with their hands so with any procedure we do need to think about what is best for the dog or cat but also what is going to be safe for the people involved. I did read an article in a Veterinary Journal about the lawsuits that veterinarians can get because of clients being bitten by their own pets in the exam room or having some other accident like was mentioned in previous comments.
Bottom line is we all need to search for a vet clinic that we know we can trust our animals with and talk to the vet and the techs about what is the best way to handle your pet and what are the pros and cons of you being with the pet during some procedures.

Posted by: Ctl | September 22, 2017 12:54 AM    Report this comment

Hmmm-m-m! This is something that I never really considered before. I will have to think on this. My elderly beagle is pretty good with other people and pretty mellow for things like blood draw. I can see my tightly wound English Cocker who prefers not to let me out of her sight having a really bad experience if she had to have blood drawn "in the back" and I bet it would set her up for future problems.

Posted by: Mel Blacke | September 21, 2017 8:45 PM    Report this comment

I'm at work and do not have time to read through all that's been written. However, I do want to shout out to people to NEVER let your pet out of your sight or to stay overnight at an animal facility unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure that they have the highest standards of ethics, compassion, and safety.

One of my kitties was traumatized recently at a veterinary clinic, when the female asst picked him up, ignoring my telling her that he does better when he can see me. It took several weeks for him to begin acting normally again. It was heart-breaking. I had been having misgivings for awhile there, the more I read online about the poor quality of food for our pets and the absence of transparency in labeling, along with fraudulent marketing practices. This vet is a pawn for the pharmaceutical and pet food industries, which do not care at all about our pets, but just about profit. The Mars candy bar company is now the owner of Blue Pearl 24-hour animal "clinics." On their shelves as well as most veterinary clinics you see Prescription Diet, Royal Canin and other such mass-produced foods, and people do not know how inferior and inadequate nutritionally these products are.

I have found a holistic veterinarian here in Seattle. Her protocol for the animals is totally different from what is being taught to the veterinarians these days. They have no idea they are being misinformed and disinformed. These toxic pet food companies also pay for their education, and of course their products are promoted. My holistic vet is the most informed, awake, and aware vet I have met. She also constantly researches, and has a list of "conventional" vets which she will refer people to, if they like, and, a list of vets to avoid. My former vet was on that list.

Posted by: Shannon333 | September 21, 2017 4:37 PM    Report this comment

In a time gone by, I allowed myself to be intimidated and let the tech's take my dogs to do procedures "in back". My Sheltie was returned to me, more than once, with a shaved neck or foreleg . . for a simple blood draw! I've strengthened my resolve, after each incident. Finally, last year when my b/c was VERY ill with an acute anaplasmosis infection and had to have many, many blood draws, I determined he was so good and so trusting, I had to be the common denominator. I did not want him to become fearful or the experience in any way to become negative for him. I decided I only would consider his best interests. As a tech' would reach for his lead to take him away for a blood draw, I would say, "no, I need you to do it here". I could see their consternation. I offered a brief explanation and, without exception, all complied to my request.

Posted by: bikeandkayak@aol.com | September 21, 2017 4:35 PM    Report this comment

My holistic vet encourages owners to always be present with their pets. My regular vet will do it either way and since they know I will go where my girl goes, they don't even ask to take her by themselves, unless of course it's x-rays or surgery. I left my previous vet because they "insisted" that my girl go with them without me and when I "insisted" back that she wasn't going anywhere out of my sight, they rolled their eyes and allowed me back. I know my girl better than they do. I allow them to hold my girl if I know I am unable to do what needs to be done, especially if needles are involved. I just ask to be present in the room with her.

Posted by: MLadyK | September 21, 2017 4:30 PM    Report this comment

I have never had a vet or tech ask to take my babies to the back. I think they considered asking once at one clinic but the look on my face told them it would be prudent not to. The tech had botched the vaccines and was afraid of my 16 week old puppy because she growled when the thermometer was inserted. She fished for a muzzle because Chloe "had tried to bite her" which was an utter fabrication. When we went back for our next visit and she looked for a muzzle (they had her file labeled that she was a biter) I told her that I would hold the biting end if she could manage not to botch the vaccination. The vet ended up doing the shot and I looked for another vet clinic.

The vet I use now has taught me how to properly restrain my pups so that we are all safe and comfortable during procedures that they do not like. If for some reason she felt the need to take one of them to the back (and I know she would give me a very valid reason) I would feel comfortable doing so.

Chloe is great with the scales and the thermometer but starts licking her lips the moment she smells an alcohol swab for an injection. Barbara gets upset the moment she smells the lubricant for the thermometer but loves the scales and needles do not even faze her. Every dog is different.

Posted by: Chloe%26Barbara'smom | September 21, 2017 4:20 PM    Report this comment

Our current holistic veterinarian allows us to accompany the more skittish dogs in the back so the dog can see us and be comforted during certain procedures (with the exception of surgery.) One instance involved a very nervous toy dog getting a cardiac ultrasound in the back room. The compassionate vet allowed me to be present during the procedure, and I was able to talk to the dog, let her see me and touch her paw. She did not need a muzzle, and underwent the procedure perplexed but not frightened.

Posted by: Three Dog Mom | September 21, 2017 3:20 PM    Report this comment

Remember, you are the paying client. It is up to you to stand up to your vet or vet techs, and tell them all procedures will be done in your presence or you refuse them. Or just leave.
First, a veterinarian is suppose to read the entire pamphlet with a vaccine to tell you all the extreme health risks from the vaccination, so you can decide to say NO to it. Most vets and vet techs never read the horrible side effects and death side effect of vaccines, and remember death or severe illness or cancer can be caused by most all vaccines. Say NO to everything the vet offers, until you do your own independent research on how safe it is at home. Many drugs like Rimadyl, Previcox, and all NSAIDS can cause death, OR at least a $5,000 emergency vet visit to save your Dog's life. Always say NO to NSAIDS. If your Dog has joint pain or arthritis, you must use natural supplements so your Dog can heal. NSAIDS actually prevent the joints from healing. I was a vet tech for the typical allapathic conventional vet and saw so many Dogs die from Rimadyl, Previcox and any of the NSAIDS, some die in 24 hours, some may do fine for 3-7 months before the toxins build up without any warning and damage the liver, kidneys or cause a severe bleeding ulcer or huge whole in the stomach and dog dies, and surgery may not save them, and the emergency surgery and emergency care for NSAIDS complications will cost from $5000 to $9,000 to try to save your Dog's life. That is why natural is the only safe way to go. We never had a Dog die from the natural joint supplements and no dangerous side effects. The vets I worked with never warned any patients, about the severe risk of death or the high costs to save a pet from NSAIDS. Why warn anyone, then they could not make the big profits. Did you know that Rimadyl use to be used for humans, but so many humans died from Rimadyl that even the FDA Fraud and Death Assoc had to pull the drug, but Big Pharma still wanted to profit from this chemical drug, so they decided to just use it to profit off of pets and that pet owners won't find out how dangerous NSAIDS are and emergency vets will make $5000 to $9000 trying to save pets from NSAID drug use.
Learn to find a vet that will work with you as a team. But first, always do your independent research. Learn to search with words like: Natural, Holistic,or alternative treatment for Disease or Illness and learn about the safer alternatives that treat so many issues.
In an emergency, see the nearest emergency vet.
But for anything else, do your research, search for natural or holistic alternatives for disease or illness.
You will soon learn to keep your pets healthy and never need a vet.
But for the occasional emergency will be the only time you will need a vet.
And remember, pets that are sick, under the weather, very stressed, just adopted, have cancer or are over 7 years old, should never ever be vaccinated.
Vaccines are the biggest cause of cancer in pets, as the vaccines are filled with carcinogen chemicals that grow cancer cells.
Avoid pet food dry kibble, sugar, grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, soy, corn, as they contain sugar and high carbs that if your pet has any cancer cells, these foods will feed the cancer to grow even faster.
Allapathic vets will not tell you this, as illness, disease, cancer, are profitable for vets.
Healthy pets like healthy humans are not profitable to vets or doctors. You must learn this, so you can learn to make changes for healthy pets.
When the vet or vet tech asks to take your pet to the back, just say NO, you will do it here or we will not do it at all.
You are the paying client, you make the rules as you are the guardian of your pet and to protect your pet. Learning natural pet health care is the best thing you can do. Start learning, start slowly making the changes and soon you too will learn a wealth of info on natural pet health care.

Posted by: dog9 | September 21, 2017 3:05 PM    Report this comment

I was a vet tech years ago. I know lots of current vet techs. They tell me the horror stories that happen when pets are taken to the back. They themselves will never let their own pets go to the back of any vet without their presence. They say the vet or others can be forceful with the pet, in ways that would not happen in front of the owner. Vets get angry when pets are not cooperative and the vet techs have seen very bad behavior by other vet techs or vets. Even surgery makes me nervous, as surgical suites should all have a window so pet owners can be outside that window during surgery. Vet techs I know have quit their jobs because of vets throwing things into the wall or becoming very angry. Vets may be under a lot of stress, but they must control themselves around pets. I would like vets if they would learn to listen and work as a team with the pet owner. Real holistic veterinarians are the best, as they know they must work to show you the natural holistic way of healing the entire body is the only real way to health. VitalAnimal.com is an excellent holistic veterinarian site to learn about true natural health for pets. I now use all holistic natural care for my pets with fabulous results. My pets are healthy now because we avoid allapathic veterinarians, we avoid chemical vaccines, we avoid chemical meds, we avoid chemicals and use natural alternatives for the house and yard. We are transitioning from cooked to raw food, plain kefir, a whole raw organic egg, frozen or fresh veggies and fruit. We now use freeze dried raw meat for treats or apple slices, banana slices or carrot slices. We use natural supplements, greens, garlic, cranberry, d3, cod liver oil, etc. We use nosodes instead of vaccines now. We use herbs or homeopathic or holistic medicines. We have done a complete turn around to real health care for both my pets and us too. It is amazing how well natural health care works. I will never return to chemicals ever. I hope this warns pet owners to never allow their pet to be taken to the back of any vet office without the pet owners presence at all times.

Posted by: dog9 | September 21, 2017 2:31 PM    Report this comment

As with so many things with our dogs...it depends. Each of my 3 dogs is handled differently by my vet. My 10-yr-old BC girl has everything done in the room, or if she needs to go to the back, my vet takes me along because she know my dog will be more comfortable. My 4 year old mutt goes to the back if he's with my 13-yr old golden, or stays with me. My 13-yr old golden always goes to the back...by choice!! All his girlfriends are back there, and he knows it.

Here's something to consider - if you know and trust your vet, and your dog can handle it, the occasional solo trip to the back might be good practice. I had to drop my 13-yr old off at midnight earlier this week and leave him for tests and observation because he suddenly wasn't keeping anything down. I was so very relieved to see him trot happily toward the back with the tech, tail wagging, comfortable that "the back" was a good place.

Posted by: Budwheezco | September 21, 2017 2:06 PM    Report this comment

I chose the vet we use because he is happy to let me "help" with all his procedures, knowing I can keep my dogs calm and cooperative for everything. One of his partners is more hesitant, and asked me if I was queasy (apparently she'd had negative experiences with such owners); assured that I wasn't, we could all be partners in the exam room or in the "back."

Posted by: drlucy | September 21, 2017 2:04 PM    Report this comment

Hi, yes I completely agree, never let your dog go in with the tech or vetrinarian unless you really know them well. I was having my beloved dog put down a few years back because he had severe health issues that were affecting his brain and, he was elderly, I felt it was the humane thing to do, after much thought and anguish watching him suffer, he was in sad shape. Anyway, I paid a vet that I did not know to euthanize him and, he took him in the back and did it without me and, I truly believe the vet did not use euthanasia. He assured me that I could go back and be with my baby, I was already distraut and imagine how I felt when I found out and, I won't go into detail but, I don't think he used euthanasia at all. Never again will I allow anyone to do that, that vet should be shut down but, I let it go not knowing what to do and feeling so grief stricken.

Posted by: Design1 | September 21, 2017 1:01 PM    Report this comment

How clearly I remember politely - but firmly- insisting that I accompany my dog. I heard the vet asking why the vet tech was so upset - her comment? "Oh, she's pitchin' a fit because she doesn't want me to take her precious dog without her coming along!" RIGHT! Actually, I wasn't [yet] pitching a fit, otherwise, she reported the problem correctly. The vet had her let me come to "the back', and all went well.

Posted by: Pipersmom | September 21, 2017 12:41 PM    Report this comment

Many years ago, I gave my clinic a yoga mat for a dog who was having trouble in old age with slippery floors. Now they have one in each room. Perhaps having a couple to put down in the back room for a path for dogs like Otto would help. My rescue was 8 when I got her and terrified of vet work and behaved very badly. After a couple years, I started going to the vet every two weeks and now every month for "trust" visits. Expensive, but she's so much better. Baby food helped, too. Part of the visits involved the vet's taking her to the back and doing a few simple commands with her--down, stay, sit, tourniquet. She likes going in the back and is interested in what's going on there. She's now 13-1/2 and still having "trust" visits. It paid off when she nearly died from some unknown reason and needed a lot of work, most done in the exam room for 4 hours--blood pressure, transfusions, blood draws.

Posted by: lmw | September 21, 2017 11:23 AM    Report this comment

I will not let them take my dogs "in the back" or to X-ray or anywhere without me anymore. In the past I have let them, but the dogs come back scared and it took too long for the procedure so I have no idea what was going on back there. What used to be a non-eventful trip to the vet now has them scared. Not worth it, either let me in the room or I'll go elsewhere!

Posted by: stardust | September 21, 2017 11:17 AM    Report this comment

My vet does all she can in the exam room with me present. The techs will start to take my dogs in to be weighed without me, but if I accompany them, they make no objection. In fact, they rather appreciated it when I had one girl who hated getting on the scale (so do I). She was a big girl and it took both of us to coax her on. This was the same girl who, if she didn't want to do something would just not do it. No biting, just used her considerable weight (100 lbs.) to resist. Her attitude was "if you can move me, I'll do it. Otherwise we're staying here." I could usually coax her to cooperate. One time she needed an x-ray and I figured I would be in the way and let them take her. The somewhat flushed-looking tech brought her back and when I asked how she did, insisted that she was a good girl. Then the vet came in, leaned against the door and said, "She did NOT want to be x-rayed." I had to laugh, and appreciated my vet's honesty. No trauma to my girl, but I think it took the vet and her tech some time to recover. I suspect if she had needed more x-rays, they would have requested that I come with her.

Posted by: MJC | September 21, 2017 11:16 AM    Report this comment

We have not found a vet we're happy with since we got our current dog (we were with the previous clinic for 10 years, but left after our last senior passed away...long story). This dog has what I believe is a valid fear of vets because of the trauma he sustained before rescued (he had to have a leg amputated) as well as major skin problems (which he still has). We have taken him to three clinics in 15 months. He is not aggressive (the worst he has ever done at a vet's office is "complaint barking" at the dermatologist), but the vet we're seeing now has muzzled him on two out of two visits because he's "nervous". On one of those occasions, she came to talk to me in the exam room (WITHOUT the dog); and did his exam, vaccine, and blood draw in the back treatment area, outside of my presence, presumably up on a table and muzzled. Is this as strange as I think it is? Should I leave this clinic immediately or continue working with them and my dog to get him more comfortable being handled?

Posted by: KAW | September 21, 2017 11:03 AM    Report this comment

I took my dog to the vet and went with her to get her Blood Glucose. It appears the regular vet assistants were not there, but obviously untrained. The girl took the needle and kept prying Princess' leg for blood and kept moving the needle around and Princess started screaming. Princess looked at me screaming and I finally told her to stop. She said I don't have enough blood. I told her that she'd better have enough blood because she wasn't going to continue torturing my dog. Well she had enough blood and we got the results. Next visit to get an x-ray, the groomer came over and took the leash out of my hand and took Princess. I started to go with her and the groomer said she'll be back in a. minute. Well, it was longer than a minute. Obviously , they didn't want me going back with her because I wouldn't tolerate them torturing her. I bought a kit and am taking her glucose myself and calling it in for a response. If we got back, no one will take her without me.

Posted by: Patricia Archer | September 21, 2017 10:31 AM    Report this comment

Would you allow your toddler to be taken "in the back"? I think not.

Posted by: MizScarlett | September 21, 2017 10:26 AM    Report this comment

I have a standard Poodle that has addisons disease. He needs frequent blood draws. One tech is not very good at it. She stuck him 4 times before I told her enough,, let the vet do it. My vet came in and got blood in one try. This happened while I was there and could stop the procedure. How many times would she have stuck him if I wasn't there? My dogs are very well behaved and put up with most anything. I will never let them "take him in the back for something that can be done in front of me. If it's a problem at that vet office, I'll find another vet. Now, when I bring Simon in, the vet draws the blood.

Posted by: 3dog | September 21, 2017 10:25 AM    Report this comment

My vet is wonderful and I have been with him almost 20 years. I am also an RN. I have a 13 year old chow mix that the only time I have ever seen her aggressive is if they take her away from me at the vet. I always go to the back with her, she is absolutely fine and they can do anything with her while I am there. I am not the one restraining her, but I am usually stroking her head and talking to her. I have a pit bull who will not let them do anything to her if I'm in the room, which is a protective (of me) response. They take her to the back without me and she is fine and her normal sweet self.
I also 99.9% of the time do not let them keep one of my dogs overnight. If they need intensive care they transfer to a 24 hour hospital down the road. If it is simple, like watch for bleeding I take them home with me and monitor them. If they request me to I bring them back in the morning. I've even had him send one of mine home on overnight IV who was otherwise stable. They have someone go in and check overnight a few times but I know I am much more closely monitoring, and will stay up all night with them if necessary.

Posted by: louisebaldwin | September 21, 2017 9:54 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for bringing this issue to light. I have never allowed my dogs out of my sight at the vets office. If a Tech reaches for the leash and says "we just need to get their weight" (or whatever), I cheerfully say okay, and leash in hand, head for the door to "the back". If my dog needs to go in the back, I go with him. If my vet wouldn't allow this, I would find another vet.

Posted by: Cornus | September 21, 2017 9:46 AM    Report this comment

A Vet I went too years ago had the policy of "taking dogs into the back". My Irish Setter Devin had cronic ear problems - he would go back with the and you would hear him scream. I swore NO MORE - hated this policy I want and need to be with my animals when I take them to the Vet. Perhaps Ok for an X ray or something extra like that, but routine stuff - NO WAY ....I have been to a couple of Vets since Bethayers and none of them took my dogs away to a back room for anything. Current Vet I have allowed once or twice for X rays but everything else in in the same room I am in.

Posted by: SetterLover | September 21, 2017 9:45 AM    Report this comment

I trust my vet. When they ask to bring my dog/cat in the back, I know why and 99% of the time allow it. If I ask that they don't, I explain why- they say OK and it is no problem whatsoever. This is how it should be.

Posted by: browndog | September 21, 2017 9:31 AM    Report this comment

my pets are never out of my sight. i was seeing a different vet, holistic, and they were going to take my cat out of the exam room for blood work so naturally i followed. apparently they were doing it for my benefit. i said no i'm fine watching you take blood. we went back in the exam room and they took blood.
my regular vet does it in the exam room. only time they are out of my sight is for xrays and surg. i wouldn't let my human child go in the back alone why would i let my fur baby? we are very much aware our dogs are less nervous when my husband takes them, so i stay home. just like the groomers. if i stay, the dogs are too nervous so i leave. i trust the groomers and don't want them accidentally cut because they turned their heads to see if i was there....its all about what's best for fur babies...

Posted by: catslave | September 21, 2017 9:14 AM    Report this comment

I live in a state where our Techs are NOT and don't have a licensed or even have schooling or be certificated. They are hired from off the street. So you and me can be techs. It is a joke to say the least. Yet, these techs think they have the right to take your pet in the back. The state I live in too the people here always are timid and let someone like a tech take their beloved pet in the back. It's ashamed. I had an experience with that just today. The Vet says he was taking my dog in the back and I said I'm coming. He kept giving me excuses but I wouldn't take NO for an answer. Even his tech tired to bully me to not let me be there and I wouldn't back down. I said, to the tech if I can't be here then bring my dog and we will leave. Like the previous comments said, You don't let a doctor or nurse take your children in the back alone. I even had a doctor lecture me when I had my infant daughter and I was about to leave the room and let him examine her. He told me you DO NOT EVER LEAVE A BELOVED LIVING CHILD/ANIMAL WITH A STRANGER;NEVER. This doctor went on to explain that if the licensed professional is really looking out for you and your loved ones best interest he/she would NOT want to be left alone with them for any reason; especially routine examines (blood draws of any type; anal gland excrete, nail clipping etc). Only like sterile surgery and higher procedures. Where there has to be a sterile field. So GOOD for all you people who stand up for your beloved pets; keep doing it because there is so much ugliness and wrong doing going on; that our pets needs us owners to be there right by their side always. To PROTECT ANIMAL HEALTH but also WELFARE and to not only relieve animal suffering; but to PREVENT IT. This sentence is part of the Veterinarian's swearing of their Oath (just changed to this). But, most of them today; don't follow. It's unbelievable; but true. Love your pet; for they are your best friend and companion always at your side.

Posted by: fedup | December 18, 2016 1:46 AM    Report this comment

Hello, as a fellow animal lover I can understand people's worry for their pets and need to be there to comfort them. Heck, I'm practically obsessed with my pets! But I also know that they can be difficult about things and I am understanding when they need to be restrained a certain way.

As a vet tech, I also have to say that it can be very nerve wracking and challenging to draw blood in the room with the owner present. Most owners insist on restraining their dog but do not know how to hold their dog for a blood draw or simply let them go during the blood draw. Not a good idea when a needle is involved, lol. Some dogs are protective of their owners (I dislike the word aggressive since I know they are just scared) and this can be especially challenging if it is a multiple pet appointment since they might think we are hurting their doggy brother when we are just getting his blood. Also, some pet owners are very sensitive; if their dog yelps, whines, or even moves, they freak out. I swear, I would never hurt your pet, but needles can hurt ( know personally) and sometimes they jump or yelp.

Veins can be tricky; you have to not only have good restraint of the pet (usually as simple as the owner holding their dog's head and telling them how good they're being) but there must also be "restraint" of the vein, called "holding off" the vein. We must find the vein by feel alone since most dogs have fur and/or thick skin. I hate poking a dog or cat more than once for a blood draw; it makes me feel like a bad tech and I understand the pain of needles since I have a good deal of health issues myself.

From this story, they should have simply done that blood draw in the room with you. Otto sounds like a sweet boy; I doubt he would have been difficult for a blood draw. At my clinic, all blood draws are done in the room unless there are problems (owner is squeamish or requests not to see it, dog is attempting to bite {again, usually they feel the need to protect their owner}, there was a previously difficult blood draw, or an excessive amount of blood is needed for special testing.)

It all comes down to trust; you should trust not only the vet but also the vet techs since they must draw blood, take x-rays, trim nails, etc. while making it as comfortable as possible for your pet. My dog was quicked once (nail was cut too short and she bled) and now she is sensitive to nail trims but we work with her and move slowly. If you are going to a clinic and you think they are too rough with your pet or uncaring to your concerns, you should find another vet clinic for your pet's comfort and your peace of mind.

Posted by: VetTech547 | April 12, 2016 9:26 PM    Report this comment

My vet recently started taking my dogs "in the back" to draw blood. They used to do it right in the exam room. Three days ago, my 6 lb. pomeranian had to have blood drawn. She was brought "in the back" and it took 45 minutes for them to draw her blood. They explained that her veins were small and it was difficult for them to draw her blood. She looked petrified when she came out and it was hard for her to walk that night and the next day. When I called them to find out why she seemed to be in such pain, they said it was probably because her teeth were bothering her (she was getting blood drawn for dental surgery). Never once did they say it could be because of all the prodding, etc. to try to find a vein to draw blood. In fact, the tech was almost rude to me when I asked about why she was limping. I am seriously thinking about changing vets, but it appears from reading all these comments, that this is a common practice. My thought is that my dog would have been more relaxed if I was with her. I recall when they drew blood previously in the exam room, it never took 45 minutes to find a vein.

Posted by: DeeKan | February 27, 2016 4:54 PM    Report this comment

michele - your story breaks my heart. What insensitive louts those people were. It is not your fault for "letting this happen". We are all conditioned to put our trust in vets and to do as they say. Sometimes they abuse our trust. I'm so sorry that happened.

Posted by: helenc | January 6, 2015 12:10 AM    Report this comment

I dont like "the back" at all. I assume it's a way to have everybody accessable for the vet like an assembly line.
My dog was very ill and I thought I was going to be put in an exam room with him. The tech/assistant instead took the leash from me and dragged him to the back. He could barely walk and it made me so sad. I wanted to help him. I wanted to comfort him. I was very uneasy with this but was told he needed to be evaluated. 45 minutes had passed then I was placed in an exam room. The vet finally came in and told me he didnt look good and gave me two scenarios. One...He's got a bad infection and could use a strong antibiotic and steroid. Two....he could have a huge mass in his chest which he wouldnt survive.
I told him to give him the antibiotic right away then. I just wanted to be with him. Vet said he would give it to him. Still making me wait in the little exam room. 2 minutes later he comes back in to tell me he's passed away. I'm like "WHAT!"
I NEED TO GET TO HIM ! I had to physically push my way through to "the back" where he was lying on the cold ground taking his last breath.
It has been two weeks and I still cant get the thought of him being scared and alone. All I wanted to do is hold him. I feel his last thoughts are that I abandoned him to die with strangers. When they saw he was actually dying, I should have been told and given the option to be by his side. I will never forgive myself for letting this happen.

Posted by: michele_marr | November 19, 2014 12:48 AM    Report this comment

To 376NYC: I know that annual titers are not necessary. I do this every year to demonstrate to our readers -- and to my dog's "conventional" veterinarians -- that immunization lasts a long time. I adopted Otto at the approximate age of 7 months in June 2008; he had been vaccinated a LOT with various combination vaccines at the shelter. The only vaccines he's received since were for rabies, and once, a nasal bordetella vaccine required for an agility class we took.

Posted by: Nancy Kerns | May 7, 2014 12:23 PM    Report this comment

I'm happily surprised that there are so many people who are not bothered by watching veterinary procedures. Maybe I've been unlucky with people who gasp, scream, hide their faces, and pass out in the exam room. It does make it kind of hard to concentrate on the task at hand :). Not to mention how it affects the pets- yikes! I need more calm, collected clients like all the commenters here.

Posted by: furbabyvet | March 31, 2014 2:48 PM    Report this comment

How do I get our 3 mini-schnauzers to get along with my daughter's triple doodle who is big?

Posted by: schnauzer3 | March 30, 2014 7:16 PM    Report this comment

I do realize that some owners contribute to the animals anxiety.

Posted by: McGuires_Mom | March 30, 2014 8:51 AM    Report this comment

Oh, I have a definitive opinion on this.
My first two rescues, were allowed to leave the room. I noticed they became resistant and began to wonder what was happening behind the scenes. When I saw the vet tech dragging one of them, well ...

My dog is NOT allowed out of my sight! I am calm, cool and collected. I don't save the dog, nor do I baby him. My dog is trained, if they need him to sit - I can ask him to sit with signals. I object his being forced into a sit - he was taught to resist force as part of his obedience training. Also,when he is forced into a sit - he will slide and then the vet tech becomes annoyed; he can position himself better when he sits on his own. Despite the wonderful low stress handling methods developed by Sophia Yin, many vet techs still manhandle dogs.

Also, my dog has vision issues - he often pauses when going from room to room while his eyes adjust - I don't want anyone pulling him.

No parent would ever allow a child to be taken to another room for a blood draw, weighing, or shots - why is it acceptable to do it to our dogs?

Posted by: McGuires_Mom | March 30, 2014 8:47 AM    Report this comment

My dog was experiencing some dermatology issues and I took her to a vet with whom I was unfamiliar being new to the area. I had always practiced a reduced vaccination schedule and made all of her food (this was before quality pet food was more readily available). The vet took her "in the back" to weigh her. When he returned he informed me that he had given her a cortisone shot as well as a 3 year rabies vaccination. I was livid! Fortunately we found a much more ethical vet who has never taken our pets to the back for routine exams, etc. I agree that nurses and doctors don't take our children "to the back" nor would we likely be okay with that practice. For vets who are concerned about their patient's anxious parent, educating them on safety concerns seems appropriate.

Posted by: car | March 28, 2014 3:38 PM    Report this comment

My vet will let me go in the back if I wish. Depending on what is going on I do or don't. But to alleviate the slippery floor problem, and not only at the vets, get the dog some socks with silicone on the bottom or boots. Problem solved. You could still train him to feel at ease on slippery surfaces but at your location of choice.

Posted by: Nicki | March 28, 2014 2:13 PM    Report this comment

mspetrin..... Do not be nervous to tell them that you want to be present when they are taking care of your four legged friend. Stand your ground, you will feel much better and there won't be any doubt in your mind. That's the way your old vet did it and that's what you want now, no ands, ifs or buts about it. Rest at ease.

Posted by: ShirlM | March 26, 2014 11:33 AM    Report this comment

I took my chocolate lab Icy to the vets and they took her in the back for a blood test. My other vet never ever did that. I waited and waited and waited, started wondering why it was taking so long. Then I heard her crying and wimpering so I ran up the steps and there were two guys pulling on her leash and tapping and hitting her on her butt.... I was so furious I started screaming at them and pulled the leash out of their hands ..... I was ready to beat both of them to a pulp. The waiting room was full also .. so everyone out there heard what was going on.
I will never ever let anyone take her from me again. I have heard really bad stories about vets and techs hurting, slapping, hitting, mistreating pets. If ever it happens in front of me may God hold me back, I do not and WILL not stand for that kind of treatment to any animal period. I was really ashamed of myself for even letting them take her to the back. Never again!

Posted by: ShirlM | March 26, 2014 10:53 AM    Report this comment

My vet is using my BECKKY-BOARD: Walk-Over Nail-Filing Mat For Dogs. It gives the dog a firm grip on a non-slip surface and trims the nails at the same time. They also loan out the mats so clients can try before they buy.

Posted by: BECKKY-BOARD | March 26, 2014 3:40 AM    Report this comment

I work at an open practice - we NEVER separate clients from their dogs or cats while in the hospital. We do blood draws, nail trims, and other procedures in the room with the owner present. If we need to take the pet "in the back" for radiographs or other procedures, we encourage the clients to come along. If they wish, clients can observe surgeries or even be in the surgery suite. As an RVT and Veterinary Technician Specialist, I LOVE working in an open practice. No client ever has to worry about how their beloved family member is being treated. I liken it to taking a child to the pediatrician: would a parent be OK with a nurse taking their newborn "in the back" for shots? Why should a dog or cat be treated differently than a child?

For those interested - and in the Bay Area - my practice is Adobe Animal Hospital (www.adobe-animal.com)

Posted by: liz_hughston_RVT | March 25, 2014 10:49 PM    Report this comment

As a vet tech for 20 plus years, I have to agree with the vets and techs that posted here. We really aren't going to "manhandle" or or be disrespectful to your pet or wishes by taking them "in the back". We are protecting you and/or your pet. I have actually seen a girl pass out during a routine ear cleaning of her dog. She cracked her head on the wall. We are not allowed to perform direct first aid to humans. Pet parents also believe that their cat or dog would never bite. The hardest part is when an owner has that mindset and attempts to keep their face/hands near the pets mouth. (kissing and "reassuring") The animal often absorbs and feeds off the owners apprehension (albeit completely unintentional on the pet parents part) and unfortunately if this is allowed to happen, the likelihood of someone getting hurt is much higher. Pet parents....please express your concerns. If it is determined without doubt that going in "the back" is best for all concerned, please allow us to take the best care of your pet possible (as well as you). You know your pet best, but sometimes that unique and close tie can create unforeseen issues. We are all in this profession because we love your dog, your cat, your ferret, your turtle, your ....family member, whatever the species might be. That's why we are here.

Posted by: Rebel N Takiah | March 25, 2014 9:42 PM    Report this comment

Thank you so much for this post, I'm tired of being treated like a freak for (trying to) insist on being present to reduce the stress and fear. Some vets and techs get it, and they are lovely to work with. Others take offense and assert their dominance ("We're trained professionals, where's your veterinary degree?"), others play the insurance card. But even among those who allow it, most act like they're indulging your hysteria. Most completely discount the 12 years of experience I have with my dog. The dragging!!! JEEZ, we owners would all be accused of abuse if we did that. Once when we were traveling, my dog needed her anal glands expressed, and the tech refused to allow me to accompany, for "insurance reasons" (the joys of rural communities, the only vet in town). Then she dragged my dog down the hallway... I waited for 10 minutes, finally see my dog dragging her back to me - the tech THROWS the leash at me, saying, "Take her! I couldn't do it, she wouldn't cooperate," then storms off. Another time, my dog came back limping, the tech had the nerve to say, "It's her own fault, she struggled too much." I've gradually gotten more assertive over the issue, resulting in a major blow up with one (former) vet, and particularly the practice of trying to physically restrain my dog, which scares the bejeepers - and body fluids - out of her (god forbid they work a couple of extra minutes to gain a dog's trust and cooperation). It is so sad that so much veterinary practice is about what is convenient for the professionals, not what is best for the animals . . .

Posted by: jes | March 25, 2014 9:16 PM    Report this comment

I always insist everything be done in the exam room in which I am present. And why do you Titer annually? That's not necessary. At the most you would Titer every 3 years as that is the cycle of vaccines assuming he has a good antibody level when you Titer.

Posted by: 376NYC | March 25, 2014 8:04 PM    Report this comment

Boy am I glad I live in a less populated area with only a handful of vets. My vet does everything in the exam room, except surgeries - no techs to learn on my dog. However she doesn't have some equipment and refers us to other vets when needed. When my dog with cancer needed xrays we went to a larger vet facility with a large waiting room. When the techs wanted to take my dog in the back, I asked how long my dog would be gone. After being told my dog was to sit in a cage until the vet was ready, I announced that I would take my dog back with them. (No, I did not ask - just told them as though I was being helpful.) The back room was horrific - piles of old newspapers, an outrageously loud fan, and agitated pets in cages. I said No I will not leave my dog here, I'll be outside and they can call me in once the vet is ready. I treat any issue with my dogs according to what I feel is best for each dog. I am polite and friendly to the humans, yet clear in what I want. And if a vet or tech gave me a good reason to change my mind, I would.

Posted by: SundogsHawaii | March 25, 2014 5:09 PM    Report this comment

If a vet asks to take my fur babies in back, I find another vet!

Posted by: peppywasmylove16plus | March 25, 2014 1:53 PM    Report this comment

I am so glad to hear that I am not alone! I have never felt comfortable having my animals taken away from me at the vet, but until recent years have not had the nerve to speak up. My policy is that the procedure is done in the exam room or I go in back too. I have been told in some clinics that I cannot go in back because it is against insurance policies. I truly believe that is a BS story to get people to shut up and comply without arguement with what is more convenient for the clinic staff. In my opinion taking animals in back is more than anything a matter of convenience for staff. I would never be asked or expected to allow an infant or toddler to go in back without me, why should my animals be any different? At the very least a client should always be asked if they want to be present, some people do not. I do not understand that, but it is their choice. In one situation I took a paralyzed male in for a routine urine check. I asked for cysto because I have been told that is the gold standard for urine collection. Had I not insisted that I was present, my dog would have been catheterized, because the techs came in with catheter equipment to do the draw. Being present helps prevent accidents big and small from occuring.

Posted by: KKBaker | March 25, 2014 12:38 PM    Report this comment

Never had any issues with stuff being done to my Gretel "in the back". Unfortunately, we've been to the vet quite a bit (if the vet had a frequent visitor program, we'd be platinum elite), and most often I can't make an appointment ahead of time, so it's either wait a few days to see the vet or drop her off to be seen at some point during the day. One of the things we went in for was impacted anal glands...I'd rather not be present for that treatment! Luckily my vet is super awesome.

Posted by: hareynolds | March 25, 2014 11:48 AM    Report this comment

I Uneasily allowed my vet (at the time) to take my happy, trusting, & cooperative 3 year old great dane to the back to do a bladder tap for a suspected UTI.
They were gone for a long time and I could hear commotion. When they finally brought her back to me she was obviously traumatized. Shaking, panting, tail between her legs!
The vet told me they had to stick her several times to get the sample.
They did not even obtain a proper sample as the culture did not grow anything. They had me repeat an antibiotic for the third time which obviously was not working.
On my own, I took her to a specialist who did an ultrasound guided bladder tap (only one poke) who had the culture/sensitivities back & on the right meds to take care of this problem she had been having for months.
Since then she no longer trusts any vet, she shakes, pants, tail between her legs, and refuses to walk with them if they try to take her anywhere.
With positive reinforcement training this anxiety is better but not totally gone.
She also has developed anxiety based fears of rain, wind, thunder/lightening shortly after that visit to the vet. She is almost 8 Years old now and still struggles with this anxiety.
Needless to say we found a new vet immediately and I never allow them to do anything with her without my presence. Nor with any of my other dogs.
She has a thunder shirt, & pheromone collar we use religiously which helps somewhat, along with positive reinforcement and emotional support.
I should have trusted my gut and never let them take her alone. I will never make that mistake again.

Posted by: DianaL Bloomsburg PA | March 25, 2014 11:11 AM    Report this comment

"Sending your dog to the back" without you is unnecessarily stressful on your dog or any pet. IF this was your 3 year old child, would you just take them to the doctor, drop them off and tell them to do what they needed to do? If you love your animal/"fur-child", give them the same emotional support you would offer to your child, when dealing with a vet trip. I want to be there to see what the vet is doing and ask questions right then and there. I also help the vet or vet techs by putting myself between the business end of my dog (his teeth) and them, in case they do something he/she doesn't really like. My vet appreciates it and my dog appreciates me being there! The last thing I want is my dogs to be loathed by the vet, because they like the taste of my vet!

Posted by: Maranatha_Mark | March 25, 2014 11:01 AM    Report this comment

I'm new to being a dog owner and I've been taking my dog to a practice that has multiple vets. Mostly they seem great, but I would like to ask for a specific vet - he does everything in the room with me. The vet before him was young and ASKED me to go into the back with her for her vaccines, and ASKED me to put a muzzle on her. It was odd. She seemed afraid of my dog, and I can't figure out why.

Posted by: WhiteRiver | March 25, 2014 10:52 AM    Report this comment

Never again will I allow a dog to be taken "in the back". I have left the last veterinary clinic that had this policy. I took two dogs In. One was to have her stitches removed after a spay procedure and the other dog was to have his anals expressed. My female returned to me looking sort of strange and the male was OK. When I got them home, I found that the female stitches were still in place and I called the vet to find out what they had done to my dog! She had her anals expressed!
At my current vets, they did the procedures In front of me, but had started allowing a tech to do blood draws instead of the vet. The tech gouged my dog more than two times and still no blood! I insisted that In the future, no more vet techs drawing blood. My policy for me and my dogs is only 2 sticks and you're done!! One must be an advocate for proper care for one's dog! Speak up!!! This dog had great veins and was not a difficult stick.

Posted by: Ms. Jerry Dewberry | March 25, 2014 10:50 AM    Report this comment

Just a few days ago I took 4 dogs into the vets office. I normally tell them i would like everything done in the room where I am. This time I didn't so they took the largest dog out for a blood draw. Knowing they would use the leg I did not feel this would be to bad. I could hear them saying they couldn't get her to stay still long enough to get anything. I do believe since I am a trainer I could have given her a command to stay and she would have been much better. It took 10-15 min before they brought her back into the room (way to long for a draw). The next 3 dogs I had them take care of in the room. I stayed back to give them plenty of room. The first dog struggled because they did not hold him firmly. I told them to let him know he is not to struggle and he won't move. It worked fine. He didn't move a muscle until they were done. The other dog - after they tried 3-4 times to find the jugular by sticking her each time and then moving the needle all over and failed, I knew they were practicing techs. I then mentioned that others have had problems drawing blood from this little dog and perhaps the doctor could do it. So they stopped. The doctor did have to really search and feel for the jugular, but drew blood on the first stick. Now what would have happened if they had the dogs in the back room?

Posted by: Carol_E | March 24, 2014 11:49 PM    Report this comment

I have a theory that vet techs are trained to tell the owner that the dog did great in the back, no matter how they really were. One of my dogs had gone to the back room a few times with no issues, then one day suddenly he was completely terrified of going through the doors to the back room, or anywhere near there. I suspect a bad experience as there was one time I heard some yelling that sounded like "get him out of here" when he was in the back, but when he came back to the exam room the tech said he had been great. Anyone care to confirm? These days I always ask for any blood work to be done in the exam room with me there. All the vets I have been to in my area say owners can't go in the back for liability reasons.

Posted by: ChristineH | March 24, 2014 11:01 PM    Report this comment

I am so grateful that my current vet has an "open door" policy and allows family to be present. I am still very upset about an episode at a vet seen for a life-impacting health issue. My dog cowered between and behind my legs and I should have followed her lead. I am so sorry I didn't listen to her. They took her in back, and without even explaining or getting my consent did a fine needle biopsy. I wish I would have sued them to teach them a lesson, but at the time felt they were the last game in town. Now I will always trust my gut. Just before seeing this individual, we had driven a distance and spent much time at the referral clinic...where the vet had the nerve to suggest she should have thousands of dollars worth of testing, at the least ultra sounding everything, suggesting sedation! Which she did NOT need when I was present and it was done at the routine vet. She BS'd me about what good care they give, that she treats all of them as if they were her own...blah blah blah. She was perturbed obviously because I blacked out the wording on the consent form to allow only her to do any exams and procedures...based on the fact in the past she had demonstrated what I thought was some compassion. People change. Money was the motivation. In fact, when I called for this appt, the appt taker said to have my pup fast for 72 hours. I said that's THREE days. Yes, but she can have water. This was because this little individual anticipated they would automatically do a colonoscopy! And never asked if she had any hypoglcemic or diabetic issues...When I said I wanted to talk to the vet FIRST, I was refused. You can't talk to the vet until you are a patient; you aren't a patient until you've had the $100+ consult. In the end I am happy to say I refused allowing her to do anything.
I think if we all bond together and stop allowing this stuff, they will learn they will lose business.
Sometimes BTW I think they want to take the pups in back so if they have new people practicing and they screw it up or have to repeat it or are traumatizing our pets, we don't know.
No more.
btw...I will now have a new found appreciation for the fact that our vet's waiting area and exam rooms are carpeted.

Posted by: robin r | March 24, 2014 10:17 PM    Report this comment

I prefer to be present for procedures and generally my Vet does everything in front of me. I do trust these folks though now well enough to take her in the back if needed. My Sheltie actually LOVES going to my regular Vet!
I did have a bad experience though one time when I took my dog to an emergency clinic for a bladder infection and they took her in the back for a urine draw. My furkids are always great for Vets, groomers, etc, so I became worried after waiting for OVER 45 minutes for them to return her to me. I was relieved when I got her back. After we got home I saw a large bruise on her lower abdomen. I was furious, wondering, "what the heck they did to her for all that time!", and have vowed never to return to that clinic. I had never seen such bruising as a result of getting a urine draw on any of my pets. Since then, when going to an unknown Vet, I will insist on being present.

Posted by: Fairy Dog Mother | March 24, 2014 9:36 PM    Report this comment

I have a Service Dog, and the rule with him is we are never to be separated. I was at the vets where he had to have a blood draw and I had to specifically tell them I had to stay with him and they had nerve enough to give me half a look! I have a new vet now. Oh- and I did go into the other room with him.

Posted by: Cheshire Cat | March 24, 2014 7:36 PM    Report this comment

I have worked as a tech for 26 years. We almost never take animals away from their owners. Most will leave the room if they don't want to watch. Some even leave because they know the dog behaves better when they aren't present. Yes, we occasionally have to ask an owner to step back, but sometimes their presence is actually calming. It just depends. Nancy, have you tried the little traction stickers that you can put on each pad to help with such issues? They are amazing for senior dogs on slippery floors too!

Posted by: KMOZZ | March 24, 2014 6:43 PM    Report this comment

My vet always did routine blood in front of me. When he retired I had to find another vet. This vet took the dogs in the back for everything. I don't take my dogs there anymore. I found another vet who does these procedures in my presence.

Posted by: JaneenS | March 24, 2014 6:07 PM    Report this comment

I prefer to remain with my pet through all procedures except surgery. I trust my vet, and my vet knows I'm sensible regarding my dogs and cats. I don't get in the way, and frequently can calm my pet during a procedure that makes him/her nervous. I'm also able to ask questions that I wouldn't think about if I didn't witness the procedure. I'm uncomfortable with a vet that does not respect that and coldly informs me that I'm not needed in the examining room.

Posted by: Michelle F | March 24, 2014 6:01 PM    Report this comment

As a vet, I wholly agree that it is your right to insist to be with your pet. However, in my 20 years of experience, almost all already nervous dogs are less nervous and less reactive when away from their owners, therefore making the experience easier for both the dog and the owner.
I have had 2 clients over the years pass out when watching us draw blood from the jugular vein, for which I could have been sued, according to our insurance company, if they had gotten hurt. I have had owners bitten when their dog reacts to a procedure, even though we always ask that the owners step away. We have much more to worry about when we have to control well intentioned owners as well as the other dog in the room, in addition to the animal we are working on.
As a policy, I always ask owners if they are comfortable with it and will do many procedures in the exam room if the owner wants. Another option is to ask if there is a window you can observe without your pet seeing you- not all hospitals will have convenient windows for this.
In the end, you need to have a good relationship with your vet and trust that they are going to tell you the truth about whether your individual dog is better, or worse away from you. If they don't respect your wishes or if you don't trust their answer, there is a much more basic problem...

Posted by: CarolynR | March 24, 2014 5:28 PM    Report this comment

My policy is to be present for anything done to or with my dog, and fortunately my vet is okay with that. Unless the owner chooses not to be, in my opinion it is their right to be present.

Posted by: MsSHunt | March 24, 2014 5:09 PM    Report this comment

I have just recently been having this conversation. My regular vet ALWAYS does blood draws and shots in front of me. I have recently had to visit a new vet for my senior dog and this vet does all of this "in the back". I want to ask for it to be done in front of me just because that's what I'm used to and comfortable with, but I've been nervous to.

Posted by: mspetrin | March 24, 2014 4:11 PM    Report this comment

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