So, I’m trying to get a goddamned sick cockatiel looked at. I bring him in, the vet sees him and says he’s underweight and that we should test, but it will be a while before the test results come back because despite claiming to be a full-service facility, they don’t do tests in-house. But she says “someone” will contact me with the results, but if nobody does, call back and another vet will “talk me through” the results because she’ll be “out” for the rest of that week.
So I wait and then call back and get a vet on the phone who talks me through the results, which are inconclusive. But apart from some basic tips about feeding and giving him some cuttlebone to increase his calcium, she’s reluctant to tell me anything because she didn’t examine the bird. So apparently nothing was written about his physical examination, because recording that would just be silly. She says the other vet is supposed to call me back. But following this vet’s advice does leave Squeak a little more energetic, if addicted to treats.
So I wait until the original doc is back, expecting her to call. So of course I have to call, but of course, being in the office a whole day has shagged her out and she’s off a week after I originally brought Squeak in. So I leave a message and she calls me the next day (leaves a message and claims she’ll try my cell, which never rings, even though that’s the number I gave). I call her back and she is alarmed at the initial advice to feed Squeak some treats (I was never given an amount, so I gave him a bit but tried to make sure it was in with his regular food, and I saw him eating a bit of the regular food too once his energy was up). She claims that “maybe he had something and he’s feeling better.” This despite the fact that the original vet said his white blood cell count was normal.
Did I mention this vet can’t ever get Squeak’s sex right? Inconsequential in this case but symptomatic of the level of concern she’s showing.
So she keeps suggesting that he’s “addicted” to the treats and that’s why he’s not eating normally. Now, Squeak wasn’t eating normally previously, and he’d lost a lot of weight, and he hadn’t had treats in about a year. So I don’t fucking think it was my poor feeding habits. In fact, it’s on his chart that he is on the vet-recommended diet. But she keeps asking me if he’s been on a seed diet. NO, the breeder even gave him the bird equivalent of spinach and wheat germ. I finally get her to admit that it couldn’t have been my bad feeding habits that affected things earlier, so she wants to test to see if he’s just eating the treats now because they’re more fun or if he’s doing it because he’s feeling better. So she orders me to cut back on the treats but I finally badger her into doing something, which amounts to taking an initial weight (again) to see if feeding him the normal food is not working.
So I bring him in and get him weighed and ask what’s next, and they reply…nothing. Well, the vet is off again, having worked a full two days in more than a week, and she won’t be back for a week and a half.
All this would be no big deal if Squeak were truly on the mend. But sure enough, as I’ve got him back on the original food he’s back off it and slowly starving to death. So I’m to hope that he’s going to make it until she gets back from whatever vacation and decides on a lark to maybe treat him?
Fuck that. I’m calling tomorrow and telling a vet, a real vet, that it isn’t working, and they had better have some advice for me besides waiting to see if he dies. Maybe a course of action toward a diagnosis? Maybe matching a vet who can both…and this is really radical, so stay with me…examine him and read his lab results and…follow me…use these two actions to form hypotheses about what’s wrong for him that can be confirmed or denied through further tests, or perhaps suggest a course of treatment? And maybe set up a schedule and lay out possibilities for what to do if said treatment doesn’t work? And maybe if there are further tests, perhaps get back to me with the results?
I am so pissed off, I can’t sleep. That’s going to make me a bundle of joy for the unlucky receptionist tomorrow, but then if this is the standard of care at Eastern Exotic, well, that’s probably something they’re used to by now. At every stage, it’s been me pushing this along. At every point, the default option has been to do nothing until I pushed. I mean, I’m paying them a lot of money–much more than for a dog or cat–to look at my bird, and I haven’t complained once about the cost. Just fucking DO something, other than giving me your vacation plans.
2 thoughts on “Eastern Exotics Veterinary Practice is On My Shit List”
I’ve been taking my hamsters to Eastern Exotics for over a year now and have found them to be great. They have more than once saved a hamster. They often send tests out to more advanced labs, which I have been thankful for. These tests have been able to show when a hamster had a cancerous tumor versus a rare form of growth or a simple virus caused growth. They are there on holidays, late nights, and weekends. So, I expect them to take a vacation. Some vets have a better bedside manner than others, so I’m curious which vet you saw. I’ve always had them call me back for test results and always call a week after any type of surgery to check on my pets. I don’t think your experience is typical for Eastern Exotics. If you want another exotics vet in NOVA, try Stahl. Dr. Stahl is very good and has an excellent bedside manner, but some of the other vets are not as good.
I expect them to go on vacation as well. And I hope they expect themselves to go on vacation, but they didn’t act like a pet needed continuity of care across the vacation–surprisingly, diseases don’t check with vet vacation schedules and hold off until they get back.
My bird was eventually hospitalized and was within a gram of what the head vet, Dr. Davis, said was likely fatal. Once I dealt with Dr. Davis and only Dr. Davis it was fine, though I really fear what happens if Squeak is sick and she’s on vacation. If so, I’ll probably go to Dr. Stahl.
The vet I initially had was Oldson. She was dismissive and unhelpful, but the bigger problem was at the practice management level. Had they been able to handle care across a staff member’s vacation better, I doubt Squeak’s condition would have gotten as serious as it did.