Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fun client phone calls

I got a phone call from a guy yesterday, asking about his dog, Effbee. The dog has had diarrhea for several days, so he's been treating her with Immodium. The man is not a client at our hospital, and I've never seen his dog. When I got on the phone, the receptionist had already recommended that he bring Effbee in to be examined, but the appointment schedule was full so they'd have to come as an emergency walk-in. He declined that option, and wanted to know if it was safe to keep giving her Immodium.

[LIVS]: Hi, this is Dr. LIVS, you're calling about giving Immodium to your dog? Tell me more about what's been going on with her, and how much Immodium you're giving.

[Guy]: Well, she's had diarrhea for days. So we've been giving her Immodium . . . . . . . . . and it's gotten worse and worse. Then yesterday she started vomiting, and she hasn't been able to eat anything. I Googled a bunch of things, and I just wanted to know if it was safe to keep giving it to her. I've given her four tablets in . . . . . about two days.

[LIVS] First of all, I'm concerned about the fact that the diarrhea has gotten worse, and that she's vomiting and not eating. This could be caused by many things, some of them very serious, and I strongly recommend that you bring her in today so that a doctor can examine her. Secondly, I need to know the tablet strength - do you know how many milligrams are in the tablets you have?

[Guy]: They're 125 mg tablets {I don't even think that 125 mg tablets EXIST, since that would be enough to treat several ELEPHANTS, but whatever}. And that girl I talked to just said you didn't have any appointments. But I could bring her in as an emergency? But that's more expensive? How does THAT work? What, do you have, like, two different doctors there, one seeing emergencies, or something?

[LIVS]: Yep, that's exactly right. We have two doctors, one seeing appointments and one seeing emergencies. The appointment schedule is full, but emergencies are seen on a walk-in basis, so you can bring her in anytime to see the emergency doctor. I'd recommend bringing her in as soon as possible, since this has been going on for days and is getting worse. And since I've never seen Effbee, I can't give you medication instructions, but if you're sure that they're really 125 mg tablets then I would not give her any more since that is an ENORMOUS overdose.

[Guy]: . . . . . . . . . . well, can I just keep giving her Immodium, but give her less? OH!!! And I also started giving her some doxycillin* a couple of days ago. She had a bunch left over from when she had some kind of infection last year. Should I keep giving it to her?

[LIVS]: {headdesk}

I doubt the guy was really overdosing the dog; he said it was children's Immodium and it's a big dog, and the only tablets I've ever seen are 2 mg. But how do you just randomly decide, all by yourself, to give your dog a drug without even knowing how much of it you're giving? And how do you think, "Well, I've been trying this treatment for days, and she's actually getting worse instead of better, but what I really want to do is just keep doing it, only LESS." ?!?!?

Needless to say, they never showed up. I really hope this poor dog just ate some trash and has some transient gastroenteritis, and doesn't have, oh, I don't know, a TENNIS BALL IN HER DUODENUM or something equally horrible.

*Yes. Doxycillin.


Nicki said...

You can't fix stupid!

onlyonewoof said...

At least you can infer the name...had a recent client with whom the conversation went "Oh, he's also on the pink pills. You know the ones?" Me: "Well, what are they prescribed for? Do you remember what the name sounds like?" Client (who had not given us a medical record): "Um, no. I don't know what they're for, and I can't remember the name. But they're pink...doesn't that help?" Me: Sigh.

Oh well. I do hope he got his dog some help, or that it got better despite his poor care of it.

maayan danino said...

wow, i can not belive that this guy gave the poor dog children's Immodium. He should has consulted about it before.
animals hospital philadelphia

Old MD Girl said...

Hey -- I just wanted to tell you thanks for this post. Not only was I able to get my husband to stop giving Boo Immodium every time she had diarrhea this past Sunday, but when she started vomiting on Sunday night after appearing to improve over the course of the day, I knew that we needed to take her to the ED. (The blood in the vomit and the lethargy were my other hints.) I probably would have taken her in anyway, but because of your post I was absolutely positive that she needed to be seen. Sorry that lay-non-vets are so stupid with their animals. People are like that as patients too with themselves and their relatives.

Life in vet school said...

Oh my gosh! I hope the Boo is okay! What did they do with her when you took her in?

Old MD Girl said...

Just IV fluids and zofran, and they kept her 24h. I think she ate a poisonous house plant over at my friend's house (corn palm). She's on a cocktail of H2 blocker, sucralfate, and flagyl now for another week, but is back to her old self. Man did she look like crap that night, though! I suppose the silver lining is that at least I found out that crazily environmentally / health conscious friends with toddler and dog *can* have poisonous plants at their house.

Chuck Chipner said...

I really love your blog. I am planning to go to vet school, so I like to read all I can about veterinarians in Edmonton during my free time.