…and I’m learning it. Today was friday, and after asking the family all week long for the money for the x-ray for Brownie’s hip, they could not produce it. The sole breadwinner in the family sells meat for a living. So, I had $10 left, and maybe the hope of a little more money after Christmas. I asked the vet who sits in the church pews at the church I used to attend for the cost of an x-ray, and she said $80. I swallow my pride for the dog’s sake, and go in for the x-ray in spite of the fact that I did not have the money up front. I had a question to be answered by the x-ray. Brownie’s hip was clearly not right in its socket. I could feel the bone protrusion and abnormality relative to the other side. Although her shoulder was also injured, she was using the shoulder with some help from her traps (the head bob). She was only lightly touching the ground with her rear leg. The question was: Is the pelvis-femoral joint compromized so that the femur can never go back into the acetabulum? Or could it be repositioned and wrapped with a sling for support?
What I failed to realize was that it was a set-up. When I arrived at the vet’s office, they make me wait for over an hour (about the time it takes to arrive at the SPCA) and then proceed to take information about the dog with 3 people present (when was the last time 3 people evaluated a dog in a vet’s office). When I told the vet, whom I had never seen before, that I had $10, he asked me what I was doing in his office with $10? THE DOG IS INJURED, AND YOU HAVE THE X-RAY MACHINE, I reply. He refuses to treat the dog. The nausea builds as I start to put everything together and quickly leave the office. I was set up, they couldn’t give a shit about the dog. All they cared about was their wallet and a bust — in that order. They were completely unable to do anything, paralyzed, without the power of the almighty buck. They had been brainwashed that thoroughly by the system.
So, I can hear the cries now. X-ray machines aren’t free. Well, no, but aftermarket ones are pretty cheap, almost free. If you are using an expensive one, it is really your choice. I wish this experience were the exception, but it isn’t. It’s the rule. Graduation from veterinary school apparently requires murderous and indifferent allegiance to the almighty buck. They need to reinvent the profession.
I am sick with worry. Going to the vet has compromized the safety of the dog, and the family that cares for it (however imperfectly, in my opinion they need community support to care for this dog). It is not like there are thousands of available homes for these dogs — and if you think that there isn’t one in a similar situation in your area, then you are living a pretty privileged and segregated (rich/poor, black/white/latino, urban/rural) life. There are culture differences (and they admittedly do frustrate me sometimes), but I try to work within them, building the families up so that they can provide better care for the dog as oppposed to destroying the dog. The dog needs to be seen as more valuable in this situation, not as more of a financial liability. The dog is a pit, good with people, not good with most other animals. Not all pits are like this, but this one is. Probably a lot of vets would just as soon put them down. I don’t trust the profession anymore.
So, here I am with my pack of dogs, trying to prioritize their needs.
Petey: heart and kidney care
Spin: kidney care
Tammy: cloudy ESR
Chandler: tick panel
all dogs in my pack (low platelet count): probably tick mediated.
Brownie: hip and shoulder problem
Buster: major heart problem and worming
Oh yeah, I noticed this protrusion on my leg that looks suspiciously worm-like. It’s a slightly white line. It has migrated this morning.
So Brownie and I did 3 days of worming with pyrantel pamoate. In a couple of weeks we will try again. Next, we (the pack) are going to try some Pen G to see if that solves some of our problems. I think that we are living the Tuskegee experiment. Of course, I am not naive. It is happening in Cambodia and Ethopia too. In children, the mentally handicapped, and nursing homes…
I would place the dogs in my pack in great homes if I could find them. I will never relinquish them to a situation where I don’t know what happens to them The risk that they (like I) would be sacrificed for medical information is too high.
Rest in peace, Tico. Given to me by a cop, intentionally and very cleanly "scratched" in the shoulder by a possibly rabid animal on a Saturday afternoon, so that a judge would approve ACOs request to seize on the grounds of "failure to provide emergency medical care", and then sacrificed and studied. My little one…