Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Il Cane Emergenza

We had a trip to the emergency vet with Scully a few nights ago. Compare and contrast the following two experiences:

1.  Several years ago, while visiting my in-laws with our first dog, she badly tore her dew claw. There was lots of blood and she was in so much pain that we could not touch her paw. It was about 7pm. We located a vet nearby that had an after hours emergency service, called them, and drove right over. The vet basically trimmed off the dangling bit and bandaged her up in about 15 minutes. We paid $80. And I'm guessing this happened about 10 years ago, so let's go ahead and double the price if it happened today.
Just a little reminder of how darn cute Scully is.
2.  Several nights ago, while Scully was eating his dinner, all of a sudden he just ran into the living room making really weird faces and not being able to walk straight. This little fit passed by the time Nathan even called out my name, and Scully then indicated he had to go outside immediately. I was concerned enough by Nathan's report of his behavior to follow him outside, and there, I found him running around the yard, frantically eating all different kinds of grass and plants and shrubs. Just frantic. Now Scully is crazy, but this behavior was very abnormal. I made him come back inside, where he kept pacing to go outside and licking his lips. We called our normal, local vet here in Italy, but his office had just closed. We did some quick, internet research and while we felt like he might only have an upset stomach, the not walking straight and continued symptoms had us concerned enough that we wanted a vet to see him immediately. I remembered a 24 hour emergency service vet located in the village right next to our house, and a friend had told me months ago that they'd had good treatment there in similar situations. I called to ensure a doctor was on the premises and let them know we were coming in immediately. We arrived, waited about five minutes, and the vet brought us in for the exam. [And it's amazing how much Italian we speak when we have to. Panic brought up more vocabulary and grammar than I realized I knew.]. We explained what happened, he examined Scully thoroughly, told us he felt like it was nothing more serious than an upset stomach, but he went ahead and did a blood draw. Disappeared to examine and test the blood. Came back and gave Scully a shot of pain medication and another shot that we think was something like an antibiotic. Spent time talking to us. We discussed the possibility of stomach twist (deadly for dogs, and he assured us this was not the case). Then I also showed him a cyst on Scully's head. Scully used to get these cysts all the time in the U.S., and one vet told us not to squeeze them (usually, gooey stuff comes out - they are pretty icky) because of risk of infection. This particular cyst has not gone away like many of his others, so I'd previously made an appointment at our vet's office on base (many bases have vets to care for military working dogs, and they will see family pets on a space available basis) for an overall health checkup, thinking the cyst would be included. And during my appointment, found out that I would only be seeing a vet tech, not the actual vet, so to have the cyst looked at, I would have to make (and pay for) yet another appointment (and make the 1.5 hour roundtrip drive again). So this emergency vet took one look at it, reached out and squeezed it slightly, the entire thing erupted, he cleaned it out, and the end. He finished up by writing a prescription for Zantac to give to Bubba Boy. Entire cost for this treatment of in-depth exam, blood draw, pain shot, and 2nd shot, all at 9:30pm:  55euros (less than $70).

I'd like to suggest in the U.S.:  Access to affordable health coverage for our pets...Discuss/debate amongst yourselves.


  1. Poor Scully!!! I hope he's feeling better. And I agree. We just had to spend almost $200 for a trip to the vet! UGH!

  2. And no surcharge for squeezing the icky stuff out of the cyst. What a deal.