Thursday, 23 October 2008


The rottie (rotweiler) was being admitted as being generally off colour. I went to collect her from the consult room.
She was making some strange noises, not a growl and not a whimper. I asked if she was friendly, number1 question with certain breeds especially in view of the sounds she was making.
“Oh that’s her normal noise, she is always speaking, and she is the sweetest natured dog” said her owner.

Well my instinct was get a muzzle, with the noise she was making, however she seemed very quiet. I took her through to the prep. room.
We lifted her onto the table, she was quiet so easy to handle at a height. We were not going to put a drip on her unless needed just handy to have iv access and certain drugs could go that route.
There was an iv catheter ready to go, the vet clipped the rotties leg and l raised the vein.
The vet just touched the leg with the iv catheter and the “bitch” swung round taking one bite at my face. One top canine tooth slid under my glasses and cut just under my eye, the other canine tooth hit the glass part of my glasses and deflected.
She swung back and gazed at the wall as if nothing had happened. She was laying the ground rules. No fear biting, no attack mode just a short and simple message “back off or next time l won’t stop”

The vet and l were both shaken, “before you wash your face get those owners in here to hold her while we muzzle her, l want them to see what their sweet dog has done” she said, although not so politely.
Fine by me, l caught them at the desk and they were making all kinds of horrified noises about her, and my face . They went back to help with a muzzle while l washed my face. I could not believe how lucky l was that l was wearing my glasses, and that she had only bitten once. Many dogs wont just bite once but do a follow through of bites several times.

Come morning, and a few more growls from the “bitch” l stressed to the change over nurse to be careful and that the owners should come down to collect the “bitch”. With my bruised face as evidence that was a good enough warning. Apparently she had a few growls though the morning as well.

The owners came to collect her and were asked to go down the back and collect her and hold her while the catheter was taken out.
Now comes the part that makes me very angry. Up to now l can accept that l should have muzzled her. I did allow my instincts to be over ruled by the “sweet nature” comments. The owners turned round and said.
“Oh you do not need to worry she has never bitten anyone she is so sweet brilliant with everyone”.
It was pointed out that she had bitten the nurse in the face the night before and they at this point tried to deny that this had ever happened.
It did not work they were made to collect and hold her for the iv catheter removal. They went off with a dog that was by now bouncing and happy, to be going home. The dogs file was marked up as a **Watch Bites** Obviously the owners are unreliable.

A lot of dogs and cats do transform from nice to nasty in a surgery. We may cuss a ton but at the end of the day it is stressful for them, they are just reacting.
The point that makes vet staff’s blood boil is when you ask what an animal is like temperament wise and you get assured it is “so sweet butter would not melt in the mouth”.
At collection, the owner on being told that it tried to eat someone says "oh yes she/he does that"
Far better to be honest and say “Well normally he/she is sweet but….” just adding that but, can save someone a lot of damage.

It is nothing to be ashamed of, vet practices are a high stress situation and the owners know their dog. No one is saying that the dog should be put down for being dangerous. They want it made well, all that veterinary staff ask for is a little honesty to help keep them safe while treating the patient.
Even when standing there it is attempting to eat you some owners will still deny the dog has an unfriendly side.

Since the incident l routinely muzzle all rotties that need work done on them unless l know they are 100% safe, and l only know about 4 like that. It makes life easier and safer.
Actually a lot of breeds are routinely muzzled at vet’s. Anyone who objects to their little darling being muzzled has not been on the receiving end of a pair of flashing fangs.

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