Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Discussions relating to all aspects of a rat's health and physique
Remster
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by Remster » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:26 am

I'm chuffed to bits that I'm not the only one who has had this problem BUT on the flip side it's awful reading some of your posts about treatmeant or lack of it. I've get better treatment now because I always take back up info with me... and I've learned so much about various rattie probs from this forum that aren't covered in general care books that at least I now have the confidence speak up.

I have had very poor responses to Myco probs initially until I educated my own vet. Unfortunately I had two pairs at seprate times that came from rescue and had Myco. I had diagnosis that ranged from allergies and asthma, to internal tumours, and neurological probs.

My worst experience was actaully with my local RSPCA and their vet. They were overjoyed to give me a pair of boys that where 4 months old (and I hoped the rescuing would become a regular thing). But I lost Henry at 8 months. The RSPCA agreed a few weeks after adoption that they would pay for a consultation for Henry but insisted I use their vet not mine. The dignosis was wrong - their vet said there was nothing wrong with Henry so I took him to my own vets the same week with an internet print out about Myco after doing some research and my vet agreed with me that Henry did have Myco. As he'd had no treatment since birth; at 5 months + it was to late to save Henry. His brother Ollie passed at 18 months because having found out about Myco on this forum I was able to get him treatment to keep him on an even keel.

What was annoying was that afterwards the RSPCA didn't outrightly refuse me another adoption to my face they just blatantly ignored my offers... this was after offering me mouse fostering which also suddenly dissappeared. Obviously they blame my husbandry for the death of the rats when they clearly are re-homing myco infected rats without diagnosis or treatment. I don't think they are even aware of it and how it is caused so the rats are suffereing and so are the new owners. It's so wrong.

I did think of complaining to them but I just felt... why should I have to justify myself when I didn't do anything wrong. I feel sorry for the rescue rats left behind... but I wouldn't take another rat from Bucks RSPCA because of this experience - the feeling is mutual. I could lay partial blame with whichever vet practice the RSPCA told me to use but charities still have a duty of knowledge of the animals they put up for adoption just as well as vets do. Sorry.. about that little rant.

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neotoma
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by neotoma » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:48 am

Remster wrote: I feel sorry for the rescue rats left behind... but I wouldn't take another rat from Bucks RSPCA because of this experience - the feeling is mutual. I could lay partial blame with whichever vet practice the RSPCA told me to use but charities still have a duty of knowledge of the animals they put up for adoption just as well as vets do. Sorry.. about that little rant.
Just to say Bucks RSPCA has two branches, Blackberry Farm in the north, and South Bucks in the south - they are completely unconnected organisations, so if you didn't get on with one of them (and having adopted from both, I can guess which it might be), it's still worth trying the other.

Also, if you are in / near Bucks, and need a good rat vet, Steve Smith at Wendover Heights Vetinary Centre (www.whvc.co.uk) is excellent. He definitely won't get a glazed expression if you present him with a rat. He's excellent with myco, superb surgeon (proper exotics specialist, so he's worked on far more fragile beasties), and isn't afraid to say when he doesn't know, or when he doesn't think treatment will benefit the rat. He's also a very nice man - he's been helping me with Pob by email, even though we're now 10000 miles away. I used to drive a 40 mile round trip to take the boys there and it was worth the effort - another friend used to drive up from High Wycombe area.

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KatieD
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by KatieD » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:19 pm

cyber ratty wrote:
Remster wrote:Is it reluctance, fear or maybe rats just don't feature high in the ranking of vet medicine training like cats and dogs do.

It's the latter - they don't get any training on rats. They have to learn it on the job or through personal research, and the guidelines they have for referring to are inaccurate (e.g. for baytril dosage).

I've given a talk about rats to vet students on a couple of occasions (zoological societies at Cambridge and London - voluntary attendance), and they were really interested to find out about them, and get to meet them afterwards - so hopefully those vets will at least know the basics once they've qualified. :luck:
I found my old local vets really keen to learn more about rats to the point of asking me to bring my old girls in for new nurses to handle to get used to them in a stress-free situation. They don't get this opportunity in training. I think the best healthcare (human or animal) is produced by patients and the public getting actively involved, being informed and empowered.
Katie x
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Purepsycho
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by Purepsycho » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:24 pm

My first bad vet visit was at Companion Care in our local P@H. Icarus had a head tilt and we rushed him in to be told 'its nothing to worry about, it'll either go away on its on or it won't' :shock:
Me and the OH were kinda stunned by this 'advice' so spoke to a friend who recommended another vets and we've been going there since.
They weren't that rat savvy to begin with (knew the basics) but always contacted a specialist exotics who could recommend the right course of treatment whenever we went in with something odd. We trusted them so much. And they became brilliant with our rats (and us).

The problem i have now is our brilliant vet has moved practices and they haven't got a permant replacement yet, so I've seen 3 different vets in the last couple of months, they've all had good knowledge and I haven't had a problem with them, but its not like seeing a regular vet you can know you can trust.
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acapae_wolf
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by acapae_wolf » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:33 pm

cyber ratty wrote:
Remster wrote:Is it reluctance, fear or maybe rats just don't feature high in the ranking of vet medicine training like cats and dogs do.
It's the latter - they don't get any training on rats. They have to learn it on the job or through personal research, and the guidelines they have for referring to are inaccurate (e.g. for baytril dosage).
What Mary said, and on the whole I would agree with her. But it seems that in recent years Royal Dick are slightly up on teaching about rats compared to other UK vet schools. My vet is newly qualified (though likes/ used to keep rats himself) and overall fits into Hannah's description below:
HannahF wrote:I dont mind the ones that are honest about the fact they dont know much, in fact one of my favourite vets at my previous practice knew the least initially but was eager to learn and research.
But in being so newly qualified, he does often refer to his printout uni booklet on small animal/ exotic care (given to all vet students in 5th year as opposed to self-research). Steve-vet's one is correct with rat timeline/ basic diet (he let me have a nosey), and also has correct dosages of baytril, doxy and zithromax in there. While the equivilent one my friend at Cambridge got, I scribbled all over correcting the rat, hamster, gerbil, mouse bits... :oops:

When I have money I intend to buy him the NFRS health guide book (or maybe I'll suggest he does so himself). I've also given him the url to ratguide. And he knows that I take advice from friends and people on the internet. Pure luck though!

It's complete chance that we've ended up with such a nice and caring - if inexperienced - vet so near though. The practice he works at, in the summer before I moved house up here, I questioned the head vet on their experiences with rats. Based on his answers to my basic questions I decided not to even try them with a real live rat! I only did because I needed some drugs and decided that a local vet with access to farm drugs (they're a mixed practice) would be easier to influence than an exotics one working at a massive hospital :lol:
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neotoma
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by neotoma » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:52 pm

acapae_wolf wrote:But it seems that in recent years Royal Dick are slightly up on teaching about rats compared to other UK vet schools.
And Royal Dick is...?

I have gone on about my travails with australian vets elsewhere, although I have to admit, apart from the first one, they have all been very nice to and about the rats and treated them as equally important as any other animal. It's just unfortuante that the most knowledgable one barely works, her boss misdiagnosed Pob in a manner that could have been fatal, the next very enthusiastic one works for a practice with stupid surgery charges (also whilst I was impressed by her myco knowledge, I was less impressed by her attempt to palpitate an abdomen - she's not scared of the rats, but she's too scared of hurting them to hold them still), and the supposed rat expert is very hard to see (and from what various people have said, not happy if you are not agreeing with her, which might be an issue when I'm shortly going to want a drug that the australians don't use in rats).

I'm currently trialling the local exotics hospital who specialise in birds and reptiles and do all the vet work for the local wildlife rehab centre. They aren't cheap, but the vet I've seen so far there did listen (repeated back to my husband on the phone things I'd told her the day before), and seems to have done a nice surgical job. She was also the only one who didn't have a fit of the vapours when I said I was treating Pob with co-amox (apart from number one who didn't want to treat rats with anything but coamox :roll: ) - the others didn't want to use it because it is fatal in guinea pigs. Which it is, but because of the gut anatomy, which is different in rats.

I think may be real exotics vets (as opposed to vets who sometimes treat exotics) are a bit more open-minded because they are working in species where not that much is known.

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acapae_wolf
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by acapae_wolf » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:17 pm

neotoma wrote:
acapae_wolf wrote:But it seems that in recent years Royal Dick are slightly up on teaching about rats compared to other UK vet schools.
And Royal Dick is...?
Edinburgh vet school :) Same deal as the London vet school being alternatively called RVC.
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NellyNoodle
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by NellyNoodle » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:41 pm

OMG did not realise the famous Steve was in Aylesbury! Hurrah!

ruinme
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by ruinme » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:04 pm

Remster wrote:I did think of complaining to them but I just felt... why should I have to justify myself when I didn't do anything wrong. I feel sorry for the rescue rats left behind... but I wouldn't take another rat from Bucks RSPCA because of this experience - the feeling is mutual. I could lay partial blame with whichever vet practice the RSPCA told me to use but charities still have a duty of knowledge of the animals they put up for adoption just as well as vets do. Sorry.. about that little rant.
I went a long with a RSPCA place with a friend who went to see a guinea pigs, which was fine, but I noticed they had a lone male rat who must of have a cage mate at some point going by the two names scrawled on the house inside, I asked to meet him and he had a noisy wheezy chest and I saw he was being kept on sawdust. I was told he had always had a wheezy problem (which I'm not surprised if he's being kept on sawdust! And have been all his life) and the vets said that was just the way he was and there wasn't anything they could do. It made me sad because I just wanted to adopt him and give him a home and some comfort.

After using my vets who deal with farm animals as well, so not just cats and dogs, that the rat knowledge isn't great and I do feel it is still very cat and dog. (Saying that I've taken a ducks, chickens and rats to the place and they've all been treated just not so well for the rats). My last rat's surgery looked like she has been mauled and stitched back together like a child had done it. However my first rat's surgery was neat as ever, with internal and external stitches. Different surgeons I know, but it's frustrating not to have consistency.
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neotoma
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by neotoma » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:52 pm

NellyNoodle wrote:OMG did not realise the famous Steve was in Aylesbury! Hurrah!
Yup :) . Although natives of Wendover would argue it is not in Aylesbury! I'm sure he'd be pleased to see you if you need him - I've sent my horde to tabi and abandoned him for australia, and Jenny no longer keeps rats at the moment, so I feel it is up to other local rat owners to keep his hand in ;) .

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NellyNoodle
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by NellyNoodle » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:17 pm

It'd be at least an hour round trip but might be worth it, at least for surgery.

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Faun
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by Faun » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:09 pm

Nicky wrote:In fact there's only one vet there that I even sink slightly about if I have to see him and that's the owner of the practice! Even then it's only because he can be a bit grim about things (he said Riddick's preputial gland abscess - the first one I'd experienced - was "probably a tumour to be honest") and isn't used to bigger boy rats, saying they're overweight when they're not (his wife is the same).
Gah, he does it to your boys too?! I avoid that vet, ever since he fixed me with a disapproving glare and told me Liam (a medium sized boy who was fit and muscular) was terribly overweight and needed a diet, then prescribed him something ridiculous like a 16th of a synulox tablet :roll:
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annc
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by annc » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:13 am

Nicky wrote:In fact there's only one vet there that I even sink slightly about if I have to see him and that's the owner of the practice! Even then it's only because he can be a bit grim about things (he said Riddick's preputial gland abscess - the first one I'd experienced - was "probably a tumour to be honest") and isn't used to bigger boy rats, saying they're overweight when they're not (his wife is the same).
Read that as implying his wife is overweight!

I've supplied Dacre House with "Common Diseases of the Fancy Rat", Debbie Ducommun's book, "Common Tumours of the Fancy Rat" and a few articles. I love trying to encourage them and they've fallen in love with the little squeakers! Not having so much luck yet on the severely phobic receptionist. If she didn't keep saying "One day", I might not greet her each time with "Today?" If I pass a copy of my latest photobook to them, perhaps pictures of rats will seem less intimidating.
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neotoma
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by neotoma » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:24 am

NellyNoodle wrote:It'd be at least an hour round trip but might be worth it, at least for surgery.
Yes, he's worth it for surgery - there's something reassuring about a man who thinks it's no big deal to operate on a mouse's penis... they aren't the cheapest (about £65-80 for a neutering / lump removal depending on time taken), but all after care is free.

Steve doesn't seem to mind people registering there just to use him for surgery while seeing anohter vet for routine stuff (I've discussed it with him for someone here before), but it's best not to mention it to the receptionists - just go through the normal registration process!

He's also worth it for myco that won't respond to doxy / baytril, as he has draxxin and will use it happily.

eta: they also do their own 24 hour emergency service, are a reasonableish cost. I have been grateful for that a few times, even when driving from Milton Keynes to Wendover at 11 pm.

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fatsoratso
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Re: Useless or Semi Useless Vets...Is it me or what?

Post by fatsoratso » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:21 am

I'm dismayed to read the comments about RSPCA vets on here... We recently adopted four boys from two separate RSPCA shelters. One was completely fine. Henry had come in as a stray and had a bit of an injury on his foot but they sorted that out and they also noticed that he had scratched his eye the day we went to pick him up. It was only a really minor scratch, barely visible, but they got the vet to see him before we arrived and he was given the all clear.

The other three came from a different RSPCA vet in the neighbouring county. The animal care person there was very friendly and helpful but when we held each of the boys individually and gave them a brief check-up, one of them was really wheezy. It was a constant crackly sound that, if it were one of my rats, I would never leave untreated! However, she said that the vet had checked him recently and said the breathing was nothing to worry about and it didn't need treating. :shock: We took them home and rushed them to our vet the next morning who promptly prescribed baytril for Oscar's breathing. 10 days on it has pretty much cleared up but it's likely that there will be some scarring as it went untreated for several months.. I've had one boy who suffered long-term lung damage when he was younger (before we rescued him) because his myco had gone untreated. He had to live on daily nebulised steroids and bronchodilators for the last 9 months of his life...

I'm just shocked that there seems to be an emerging pattern of RSPCA vets not bothering to treat respiratory problems. Is it considered too much hassle?? Having worked for an animal sanctuary myself (albeit an independent one) I have many other complaints about the RSPCA that would take too long to list...

The boys were also covered in mites... That's what really shocked my vet and will be a lot more annoying to get rid of. :(
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