Toledo Talk

The Vet pulled 15 of my dog's teeth?

I've waited 3 weeks to pose this question.....have tried to just acccept it and move on.

I took my 4 yr. old Yorkie to the vets for a teeth cleaning, under anethesia. She's 4 years old, we got her whn she was 3. Right after we got her we took her to this same Vet for a general exam. At that time, she said sometime within a year she should probably have a teeth cleaning and noted or mentioned no problems with her teeth. It was almost a year exactly I took her in for the cleaning.
During this year, her teeth were brushed once a week and she never showed any signs whatsoever of having any teeth issues...always playing ball, ate just fine, etc.

So, a couple hours after I dropped her off the vet called and said she had to remove 15 (FIFTEEN) teeth. She said some were infected and some were lose. To say I was stunned and shocked would be an understatement. She assured me they were not the teeth she uses to eat with and that 15 wasn;t as bad as it sounds since they have 40 some teeth. I thought yeah.....I can imagine how I would feel if someone pulled 15 of MY teeth. As a sidenote, having done my research prior to getting her, I had read that Yorkies are prone to teeth issues.

The teeth had been pulled, she was still there under their care. I saw NO good coming from me becoming irate or upset with them. I also realized I had entrusted the Vet enough to care for a member of my family so I tried my best to accept her explanations. I still try to think this way today. I can't fathom a Vet doing this as a means of I try to tell myself it was something that had to be done.

It's not about what I was charged and I don;t want to slam the Vet since I'm not an expert myslef.

My question, to fellow dog owners, especially small breeds, does this sound anywhere near "Normal"?? I KNOW my previous Vet of 20 plus years would have NEVER done this without contacting me first.

Just wondering...........

created by angryconsumer on Mar 05, 2010 at 08:44:24 pm     Pets     Comments: 31

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I'm surprised that the vet did not attempt to get consent from you prior to pulling 15 teeth.

I suppose the thought was that your dog was already under anesthesia, & it would be easier to pull the teeth then. As opposed to bringing her back and putting her under a 2nd time.

Despite that, it surprises me that they didn't at least attempt a call. I foster dogs for a local rescue, & I know of at least 2 area vet offices who have called mid-procedure to obtain consent for an additional service. (Ex - a hernia repair during a spay surgery)

I've never owned a Yorkie, so I can't comment on the necessity of the surgery. But I'm surprised you weren't advised in advance. (Or warned of the possibility.)

Also, what would they have done if you hadn't been able to pay for the additional service?

posted by mom2 on Mar 05, 2010 at 09:19:48 pm     #  

I DID have to sign a form saying there would be additional charges if any extractions were necassary. I signed without hesitation because I had no reason to think there would even be one extraction, let alone 15.

posted by angryconsumer on Mar 05, 2010 at 09:22:27 pm     #  

15 teeth! Did the vet pull the teeth before she contacted you? Even if she had told you prior to the extractions that the teeth looked bad, I would also be upset if that many were pulled without my consent. 1 or 2, maybe, but 15? I'd have wanted the vet to contact me before extracting that many teeth. It sounds like you are very attentive to your dog's health needs, since you brush her teeth. A dog I had once had a bad tooth that I wanted my vet to take a look at it while my dog was undergoing a minor surgical procedure. I thought she had a problem because her breath was bad. I know that sounds silly, but we had always given her bones to keep her teeth clean, and she got a few tooth cleanings before I noticed her breath was pretty bad. That's a telling symptom when you're dog has tooth decay. My vet told me that the back tooth could be decayed, and it might have to be extracted. When I came to pick her up, the vet said the back tooth was cracked, but saved it by sanding the tooth down and getting the decay out. Your dog seems young to have that many tooth problems.

You said you're not an expert, but you have enough sense to know that you were being very careful about her teeth and have questions. If you think the teeth were in good condition, I would ask the vet if I could look at the x-rays, if there were any. A good vet will show you the records, etc. and explain things to you without feeling insulted.

posted by bikerdude on Mar 05, 2010 at 09:56:53 pm     #  

I'd never go back to that Veterinarian again. Every one of my friends that has a pet, I'd recount this story with them. I'm guessing there isn't much recourse because of the forms you signed. In the future, I'd never give anyone free reign to do anything major unless I was consulted first. I hope your dog is doing okay!

posted by GreenGene on Mar 05, 2010 at 11:06:01 pm     #  

Looks like a case for... the BBB!

Just kidding. This story is crazy! We have a 13 lb Yorkie-poo and it doesn't sound normal to me. Especially considering no advance warning was really given that 15 would need to be pulled.

posted by wahhutch9 on Mar 06, 2010 at 09:17:35 am     #  

Exactamundo to the proof of bad teeth i.e. records, x-rays, history of that dog and teeth, etc. Greedy vet quack. Karma coming.

posted by djimpelr on Mar 06, 2010 at 09:52:50 am     #  

I agree with bikerdude. The vets story smells like bs.
I've had a number of dogs, don't recall ever brushing their teeth and they've never had to have 15 teeth pulled.

posted by JeepMaker on Mar 06, 2010 at 10:17:44 am     #  

After reading your story I would be an ANGRYCONSUMER also! (sorry for the all caps. lol). You should have at least received a phone call prior to that happening. My mom's sheltie was under anesthesia to find out what was happening to her liver. The vet called my mom to tell her that it was cancer and my mom was able to make the decision, with the dog still under anesthesia, to let her be put to sleep. She did not want her to suffer.
At least if you received a call you could have made the decision to take the dog to another vet and get a second opinion. Your dog is young and I am sure another anesthesia wouldnot pose too much of a health risk.
What you signed was an agreement to pay if there was extra work involved. What you did not sign was prior consent- which is the vet would have told you prior to the extractions that they needed to be done! You should always get prior consent and every vet should get prior consent whether it be extractions, giving certain medications, etc., etc.
I would never go back to that vet again! Never! I am so angry for you that I can't even speak- which is quite rare for me!

posted by golddustwoman on Mar 06, 2010 at 12:46:41 pm     #  

OMG!!!!!!!!! I am sorry but I am so freakin angry! The more I read about vet issues the angrier I get. Can you imagine a dentist pulling, say 3 of your child's teeth, without asking you, and just being matter-of-fact about it? Would not happen cause they can be sued! These vets cannot be sued and they know it! Can you imagine a doctor giving your or your child a medication it is not allowed to have or, worse, use a medication off-label (meaning the drug company did not test that med for that purpose) without telling/asking you- without explaining why they would use the med and the possible side effects/risks. Hell no, they would be sued, but vets do it all of the time!
Pet owners need to speak up and step up for their pets with these professionals (the ones the BBB won't take these types of complaints on)! Be an advocate for your pet and demand prior consent. Demand to know what a procedure will do and what drugs will be used on your pet. Demand to see the drug companies fact sheet concerning possible side effects and contraindications. That info is readily available and can be printed in the vet's office! If you do not get that, if they refuse or seem to get angry that you even questioned them- get the hell out of that office!

Sorry, had to rant!

posted by golddustwoman on Mar 06, 2010 at 01:05:27 pm     #  

I think some of it is, if I blame the Vet then I have to take the blame for trusting them with my dog. I only switched because my vet where I used to live an hour away and this place came highly rated. The vet did call me immeditaley POST surgery and as I said, was as nice as could be. She also included a couple of pictures taken of the teeth during surgery...she pointed out what she said was an infection. I may call and ask about the xrays. I've tried to just accept it and move on but in truth, still bothers me quite a bit...not as much from a consumer standpoint as a humanitarian stand point. Fido is doing fine, eating and playing as she used to....I just keep coming back in my mind to FIFTEEN!! Thanks for your opinions!

posted by angryconsumer on Mar 06, 2010 at 06:42:53 pm     #  

Scary anytime something like that happens, but I would tend to side with the vet. Not sure why they didn't call first (but being that the dog was in for a cleaning I assume they figured you knew that if they came across something...). Anyway, if they are a reliable trusted vet they in no way would do that if not necessary. Teeth are much more serious in animals than we ever would figure and can effect the rest of their well being, not just their mouth. Did they suggest that you only give your baby dry food from now on?

posted by Ryan on Mar 06, 2010 at 07:10:41 pm     #  

Since I just had my dogs teeth cleaned I can speak on what I do know. I signed a form that said they could pull teeth that were bad (they explained that if they are bad it is not good for the overall health of the dog), but I also signed that I wanted to know cost and how many before they did it. Which I think is only fair. If they had wanted to pull teeth on my dog I would have let them. Any "good" vet truly cares about animals and would not just pull teeth to add to the bottom line. If you any way feel that is what happened, perhaps you should get a second opinion. I totally trust my vet, and by the way they didn't have to pull any of my dogs teeth. I have heard that little dogs have more teeth issues than large dogs.

posted by trixanne on Mar 06, 2010 at 08:46:14 pm     #  

And its much harder on a dog to be put under again as opposed to getting it done in one swoop.

posted by Ryan on Mar 06, 2010 at 09:04:34 pm     #  

From past experience working with vets, I can attest that bad teeth can affect their bodies in more ways than one. Believe it or not, bacteria from infected teeth can enter the blood stream, thus affecting their heart and other vital the case with human beings...when bacteria enters the blood stream -- there are serious problems to be had. However, I also agree that the vet should have contacted you beforehand, regardless if your pet was under anesthesia (other personnel could have made the call and conferred with you). Your pet was young enough, so having them under anesthesia for a mere 5 more minutes to speak with you, is no big deal. All in all, it would not hurt to take a look at the x-rays and have the vet explain everything to you. To be honest, that should have been done before the scheduled teeth cleaning, but I am not here to judge. In fact, it should have been done upon initial examination, when the teeth cleaning was suggested....loose or infected teeth, etc would have been noticed at that time and you would have been informed as such.

posted by wishiniwasfishin on Mar 06, 2010 at 11:52:43 pm     #  

wishiniwasfishin: With teeth infections, at least in humans, there are several things that can be done: antibiotics, root canals, etc. This can't be done with dogs or cats, especially young ones? Wouldn't the removal of 15 teeth allow the remaining teeth to loosen and shift in the mouth?
Yes, bad teeth in animals is horrible and can lead to a whole host of issues including heart issues. I would be hostile if my vet just took the teeth out without consulting me. I want prior consent, period. Now, poor angryconsumer feels partially at fault which he/she (?) should not be. That is what happens to many pet owners when something goes wrong and even slightly slaps at the vet screwing up. ANgryconsumer wouldnot feel this way if the vet in question simply would have made the call prior to extractions. There is more and more of this going on locally and nationwide. Vets need to learn that to protect themselves they need to start treating pets as humans- as the members of the family that they are. Communication goes a long way in detering hurt feelings on both sides!

posted by golddustwoman on Mar 07, 2010 at 10:26:12 am     #  

"I'd never go back to that Veterinarian again. Every one of my friends that has a pet, I'd recount this story with them."

Right on the mark, GreenGene. You'd be surprised how fast word gets around. When my dog got screwed, I screamed it from the rooftops. I promise you, that vet felt the feedback and I know he lost more than a few clients! It's like any business, except with a vet or any health care provider, the commodity is your health or the health of a loved one, which is priceless. Angryconsumer, I would first give the vet the chance to address your concerns to your satisfaction. Your vet should have informed you that many teeth were coming out.

"She assured me they were not the teeth she uses to eat with and that 15 wasn;t as bad as it sounds since they have 40 some teeth. I thought yeah.....I can imagine how I would feel if someone pulled 15 of MY teeth."

She probably realized from your stunned reaction that she overstepped her bounds by not informing you. I don't think her explanation - that 15 teeth were not that bad because your dog has 40 - is acceptable. You are understandably upset because she didn't give you the chance to discuss this with you, because you apparently would have had doubts about her diagnosis since you brushed your dog's teeth and didn't notice any problems. I am not suggesting she was wrong in her diagnosis. What I am saying is she didn't give you the chance to ask questions first.

"I want prior consent, period."

I had a great veterinarian that my family took our dogs to for years who always told us beforehand what was going to happen in a procedure, and what might happen if something else is discovered. And then gave us options. A good veterinarian likes it when a pet owner is very involved in their pet's care. It makes it easier on the vet. Any vet that says to a pet owner that they don't know what they're talking about when raising questions about their pet's care is not someone I would take my pet to again. Angryconsumer, I wouldn't just let this slide. In your mind, it's a red flag. When I took my dog to a new vet, who came highly recommended, there were many red flags I chose to ignore and my dog suffered the consequences.

"Be an advocate for your pet."

I would say this to all pet owners, your pet depends on you 1000 percent to make sure their medical treatment is appropriate and to ask about options when they are available, which Angryconsumer was not given the chance to talk about.

Thank you Angryconsumer for raising awareness on this issue. Just by raising questions shows you are a good pet advocate. Feeling guilty for not raising questions, and then mistakes are made that cause harm to your pet, is a terrible pain. Prior consent is a must!

posted by renegade on Mar 07, 2010 at 10:22:00 pm     #  

Infected teeth (in dogs AND HUMANS) can lead to serious issues, even death if left untreated. I know a paramedic who once told me a story about a lady who had a tooth infection that got into her jaw and she ended up losing half her face. So next time you're avoiding going to the dentist, you may want to ask yourself if having your face is important to you.

Back on topic, the vet should have attempted to call you first. That's only common courtesy really, and I would express as much to the vet. You did sign a paper, however, regardless of whether you thought it would or would not happen. To be honest, dogs losing teeth happens frequently. Most of the time it just happens while they're eating or playing. They have way more teeth than we do. A dog losing 15 teeth is no where equivalent to a human losing 15.

I'd ask to see some x-rays or other evidence of the infection. Then, I would tell the vet to call me PRIOR to doing these kinds of procedures, and stipulate such in the paperwork I sign.

I may or may not continue using this vet depending on her responses to my inquiries. If she's polite and understanding, then I'd probably keep her. Otherwise, find a new vet.

posted by Mesmerix on Mar 08, 2010 at 09:20:20 am     #  

your vet wanted to make sure your dogs bark was worse than his bite

posted by creon on Mar 08, 2010 at 01:26:22 pm     #  

Angryconsumer, how is your little lady doing now?

posted by tm2 on Mar 08, 2010 at 02:19:28 pm     #  

Not trying to take sides but from my own experience I'll give the vet the benefit of the doubt. Last summer my pup was really sick and I noticed he had 2 teeth that looked bad and were lose. So took him in to get everything fixed they thought needed fixed, and he ended up having to have 6-7 teeth removed.

I trusted her judgement and after he was back in shape he's been happy and healthy since then.

An unintended but nice thing about it, was even with training he still appeared to be aggressive if someone got close to his head (but only his head) I just took it as aggression or being defensive and tried to train that out of him. After this tooth problem he has yet to do that, so I'm guessing the only reason he did it before was his teeth were hurting.

Bad teeth can also be breed specific so while that does seem like a high number, again I'll give the vet the benefit of the doubt and it doesn't seem impossible.

posted by INeedCoffee on Mar 09, 2010 at 10:38:40 pm     #  

Mesmerix: yikes, and thanks for the post. HAve also read where teeth problems have been linked to heart disease. Needless to say that was the final straw for me. Have an appointment for this Friday to get a tooth pulled I should have had pulled last year. Irregardless of cost.

posted by INeedCoffee on Mar 09, 2010 at 10:41:23 pm     #  

INeedCoffee (great username, everytime I see it, I want coffee...), good to hear your dog's problem with its teeth was fixed. That's got to be one of the physical ailments you wish your dog or cat could tell you about because they can suffer a long time with it when it is a fixable condition. As you mentioned, untreated, they can cause all kinds of health problems in living things.

I think Angryconsumer's complaint is that he was taking preventative measures to clean his dog's teeth, as his vet cautioned him a year before that his dog's breed tends to have dental problems. Then he was surprised when he took his dog to the vet that the vet had already pulled 15 teeth without informing him beforehand. The dog may have needed to have that many teeth pulled, but Angryconsumer would like to have asked questions, since he did not notice his dog had such severe dental issues while brushing its teeth. I think that's the deal.

I trust my vet, but I would have been mad, too, if that many teeth were pulled and I had not been informed first.

posted by bikerdude on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:44:14 am     #  

bikerdude summed it up pretty well.

I would trust my vet's clinical judgement, but I'd still want to be contacted first.

posted by mom2 on Mar 10, 2010 at 08:36:36 am     #  

Totally agree with Bikerdude. The vet may have been correct in her diagnosis but not calling and informing Angryconsumer beforehand is just plain wrong!

posted by golddustwoman on Mar 10, 2010 at 11:14:48 am     #  

bikerdude: thanks for putting that into perspective and that makes sense. I would be upset to if I hadn't been contacted.

That's the biggest fault I've seen so far. As for not knowing about the bad teeth I'm guessing it can be easy to overlook a problem. Like I mentioned earlier I took mine in for only 2 teeth but several more removed so the pain is in the details I'm guessing.

Regardless 15, poor pooch.

posted by INeedCoffee on Mar 10, 2010 at 11:23:21 am     #  

INeedCoffee: I'm glad you're going to the dentist! I could tell you the details of the horror story about the lady who lost half her face, but I'm pretty sure you don't want to hear them. They involved a flesh-eating bacteria. I got to hear about it over dinner. Not pleasant.

Dentists = good; flesh-eating bacteria = bad. Questions? :)

posted by Mesmerix on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:23:08 pm     #  

"I KNOW my previous Vet of 20 plus years would have NEVER done this without contacting me first."

Angryconsumer, that says it all. I hope your Yorkie is recovering and doing well. My mother-in-law had Yorkies for as long as I can remember. She said they tend to have teeth problems because their roots are shorter, but pulling 15 teeth, and not telling the owner, is not right. Like others who have commented already, I agree the vet should have called you first, especially since you did not notice any teeth problems with your dog.

posted by gemini on Mar 10, 2010 at 08:50:30 pm     #  

Hello Angryconsumer. I came across your story while Googling extractions. Hard to believe I know but we had the exact same experience with our beloved companion last year. 15 extractions with out our consent or even a phone call. I know what it feels like. Angry, confused and mad as hell. Moreover in our case I had attempted to show our Vet a loose tooth for months (which is a Red light for a problem) and she poo-pooed it until it fell out! So I was even more angry. Aside from Yorkie breath our girl had no real signs of Periodontal disease. Just here to offer support you aren't the only one and its not your fault!

posted by mfalcon on Apr 15, 2010 at 01:42:14 pm     #  

Getting 15 teeth pulled. It should never have come to this. Responsible pet owners should be taking their dog in to see the vet at least once a year to get shots and checkups(liking checking teeth). Some dogs teeth get tartar faster than others. Having a vet clean your dogs teeth is expensive. Don't feed your dog soft food. If you can't afford to have a pet and take care of it properly then do everyone a favor and don't get one. Its about being responsible.

posted by barfly on Apr 15, 2010 at 02:44:13 pm     #  

"If you can't afford to have a pet and take care of it properly then do everyone a favor and don't get one. Its about being responsible."

I don't think anyone is complaining about the money. It's about informed consent, and the vet telling the owner beforehand that they're going to extract up to 15 teeth.

posted by renegade on Apr 15, 2010 at 03:37:41 pm     #  

Yes, they should of called first.

posted by barfly on Apr 15, 2010 at 06:48:06 pm     #