Kato did not do great with blood work and not impressed with vet tech/vet - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 08-30-2014, 01:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Kato did not do great with blood work and not impressed with vet tech/vet

Not fully sure if this goes here.

Kato got his blood taken today to check for heart worm. It's the first time he's had blood taken. He's had shots and check ups and has done amazing with all of them. No aggression, no fear, he's happy to go to the vets, loves everyone. But today they couldn't find a vein and had to do all 4 legs. He snapped when they tried to do his second leg and had to be muzzled just as a precaution. I felt so bad for him as he's never been muzzled before. He was totally freaked out and it didn't help he heard a cat howling in the waiting room. We ended up having to hold him down while the vet (she got called in because vet tech couldn't get it in 3 of the legs) did his 4th leg. I feel like this was a very traumatic experience for him and am hoping it does not change his happy go lucky attitude about the vets. As soon as the blood was finally take. 25 min after the first try we took his muzzle of and he was really good. No snapping or growling and let everyone pet him again.
I just get nervous that one to many situations like this could have the affect if turning him agressive. We are starting a manners class on Thursday which the vet tech does at the vet clinic. So I'm hoping that will help re establish good things come from there. I know it won't be the most amazing manners class but we needed something in the meantime for him and I to do for bonding as well as getting him out socializing. This way we can save up and in 2/3 months we can get him into a more advanced trainer and hopefully make it to Tracking or agility.

I just can't believe it took the vet tech 3 tries and the vet herself 2 tries to finally get a vein. Is it normal to have such an issue finding a vein or do I just have a crummy vet tech/veterinarian?

Sorry for the long story/semi rant.
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I just can't believe it took the vet tech 3 tries and the vet herself 2 tries to finally get a vein. Is it normal to have such an issue finding a vein or do I just have a crummy vet tech/veterinarian?
Depends. My vet jokes that Keefer has chihuahua veins, and it's taken a few tries to get blood from him before, even with experienced techs. They've never had a problem with any of my other dogs before, so it's just his veins. He had blood taken a week ago for a thyroid test, and the tech didn't have much trouble getting a vein, but he discovered that he needs to wait a few seconds for the tube to start filling, so patience is key. Now that he knows the trick, it should be easier next time.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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But today they couldn't find a vein and had to do all 4 legs. He snapped when they tried to do his second leg and had to be muzzled just as a precaution. I felt so bad for him as he's never been muzzled before. He was totally freaked out ....As soon as the blood was finally take. 25 min after the first try we took his muzzle of and he was really good. No snapping or growling and let everyone pet him again....

I just can't believe it took the vet tech 3 tries and the vet herself 2 tries to finally get a vein. Is it normal to have such an issue finding a vein or do I just have a crummy vet tech/veterinarian?

Sorry for the long story/semi rant.
No way it should have taken them 25 min to do that.... After 40+ years of pulling and seeing blood pulled from pets & livestock, that is just incompetent, especially with the dog being cooperative for the first try.

Go back and reintroduce the muzzle slowly at home (get your own well fitting basket muzzle and always take it with you to the vet's), this is a good basic video on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quAlzJjJfKE Use super high value treats. Review the muzzle lesson often. This way if you ever have to go to an emergency clinic, etc. with him, he will accept it willingly and it will often calm down the staff who may not be adept at handling large dogs...

Next condition him to three basic steps of having his leg held extended, held off at the elbow and pinched lightly on the mid leg. Lots of very high value treats for this. Make a lighthearted game of this and of the muzzle work. Then slowly combine all the different steps so he becomes used to the sequence. first without, then with the muzzle. If he gets worried, you are moving too fast, just back up the training and start again. It is just information that he needs to go slower with the process to be comfortable with it. And take those high value treats to the next vet's office with you too.

With all due respect, I would rethink taking the manners class at that clinic and also start interviewing new veterinary clinics... Better to wait for a top notch trainer and do it right the first time. Could be the training can be done at home, you may be much better off watching some Michael Ellis DVDs Leerburg Dog Training | Michael Ellis DVDs (some free ones there as well) & work on your own. Once you have your basics okay, you can go to the outskirts of places like farmer's markets, fire stations, etc. to expose him to new situations. Just keep your distance until you know he can respond to you in a new place, then get closer. Your dog will let you know what he can handle.

Best of luck to you both!
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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25 minutes seems excessive. We have a 2 stick rule. If you stick the animal twice and don't get blood, then someone else tries. 5 minutes top.

I am very good at venipuncture. I get called in a lot after another tech is not successful. But that does not mean I don't have bad days.

And yes, some dogs don't have good veins, some dogs are super wiggly, some dogs fight restraint, there are lots of reasons they can't get blood.

If you like your vet, keep going there. But take him in a few times to just get pets and love and then leave.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Karlo is iffy when it comes to getting blood out of the vein. The other day the tech had to try 2x's before she could get some flow. I muzzle him, it keeps him calmer and the tech can do her thing. I always hold my dogs, we usually just back into a corner, me straddling and giving chest scratches or ear massage, vet tech does their thing. Onyx is extremely aggressive with vetting, so we add in a towel to cover her eyes. I know it sounds bad, but we get things done efficiently and she doesn't show as much fight.
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Old 08-30-2014, 06:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the info.

The vet tech tried 3 legs with no go but tried both front legs twice. By the 2nd front leg we decided to muzzle him as he was growling and snapped a little. So we muzzled for the 3rd leg which she still couldn't get. This was about a 10 min trial. Then she left to get veterinarian to help which was a 10 min wait and Kato freaked because I had to keep the muzzle on him the whole time. Then the vet came in tried 2 times but by that point he was so freaked out when she got near him he would tense up and buck his back leg. Finally we got him cornered with his face in the corner and lots of liver paste, he laid down, we held him until he relaxed a little and she poked him. Then the vet tells me "so next time what we need to do is hold him down until he knows he's safe and relaxed and then we do it". Well isn't that kinda common knowledge? Shouldn't you do that with every dog?

So basically 10 min vet tech trying, 10 min poor Kato in muzzle freaking out, 5 min veterinarian with forcible hold. For a total of 25 min torture for him for 1 small sample of blood. Seems pretty crummy for the dog. But the vets there are really nice to us and where great when Kato had his Diarrhea. They just seem a little slow at some things though and not necessarily up to date on certain things.

Last edited by GSD Owner in Training :-); 08-30-2014 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Auto correct is a bummer sometimes lol
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Old 08-30-2014, 06:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The techs I know will do a jugular draw if the dog is known to be hard to stick. I also shave the dog's forelegs if I know they are getting blood drawn.
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The techs I know will do a jugular draw if the dog is known to be hard to stick. I also shave the dog's forelegs if I know they are getting blood drawn.
Kacie has had her blood drawn via jugular(long coat). Poor Karlo is a walking pincushion, he's had his legs shaved for a month and they still can't always get a good flow sample. I can get his subQ's in him easily however!
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I hate it when it takes them more than one stick for my dogs. I try to keep mum and not say anything, and my dogs tend to be ok with it, but it irritates me.

I wouldn't necessarily switch vets, but I might not want to be too frustrated with your pup either. I would probably go a couple of times, just to weigh the boy and get treats from the vet techs, in the next couple of weeks, so that every time he goes to the vet he doesn't get stuck.

Try not to relive this issue, and do everything matter-of-factly at the vet. He will probably get over this quicker if you do. But yeah, they shouldn't have to try four legs to get blood out of a dog.
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm lucky. Fama is easy to stick. The veins on the front of her front legs are about the size of a #2 pencil.

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