We found ourselves racing our dog to the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn. We had heard good things about this animal hospital from some of our neighbors and with Boston busy at rush hour, I estimated that we could make it to Woburn from Charlestown Navy Yard faster than cutting across town to Angell in Jamacia Plain. I was right, we were there in under 15 minutes. Now for the rest of our story, the good and the bad.
[title top=”60″ bottom=”0″] How Our Dog Got Sick [/title]
Moose, along with other dogs, love to eat the long, decorative grass planted in the gardens around our building. The grass is everywhere – beautiful and hardy. Normally, unless you let him eat too much, he passes it and it seems to help with digestion and scrape the intestinal walls. Too much grass and like every other dog he pukes it up. This is why I constantly remind him it is not a salad. The gardens are to look nice, they are however not feed for my dog.
Last week the grass matured and cattail-like tops grew in. It seems the grass became harder and sharper. At the time we did not know this and Moose suddenly started to attempt to throw up unsuccessfully as he constantly wretched, quit drinking water and was out of sorts. Unsure what he might have ingested as he loves sticks as well, we kept a close eye on him through the night. After seeing no improvement, seeing a spike in temperature and observing what seemed to be an inflamed throat, first thing in the morning we loaded the car and shot up to the hospital.
[title top=”60″ bottom=”0″]What We Found Nice About The Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital[/title]
The Massachusetts Veterinary Hospital is not only fast to get to from the Charlestown area, it is nice, not Angell nice, but we were very comfortable walking in the door and immediately taken to an exam room, advised that they were very busy and that it would be a few moments before a vet was available. Moose was not about to expire this moment, so I was more sad for him than anxious. Glad I was not told they would be right there only to sit.
Our vet came in, took some time to sort out what he might have swallowed and tried to rule out other possibilities or possible complications. We were given options: x-rays $350 maybe less, possible endoscopy $880 +/-, possible surgery $6,000. I almost crapped my pants. We had just talked about Pet Insurance the other day.
They started x-rays right away. The radiologist felt it looked like a corncob – where that came from I have no idea. We gave Margie’s dad, a general thoracic surgeon and longtime dog person, a call for his advice. He said to get the endoscopy and try to remove whatever it is before it gets deeper in the stomach/intestinal tract as there is deeper areas ahead for this to get lodged. We gave the go ahead but wanted to know what it was before we went head on into the $6000 sugery.
The Endoscopy was successful and as it turns out it was grass which they removed and sent home with us later. The amount in his stomach was painfully small. The real problem seemed to be a few strands of grass were running down his esophagus, stuck, moving up and down cutting and causing his esophagus to swell, but he was fine and on the table waking back up.
[title top=”60″ bottom=”0″]What We Did Not Like About This Animal Hospital…[/title]
As Moose was on the table, our vet came back out to give us the good news of which we were glad to here. Thank you, thank you, thank you, I love my dog, the stress eases up a bit now. Then she said we needed to talk about post-op care. They wanted to keep him overnight and it would be another $1,400 dollars…. What the what???????
We had already started going through Moose’s old medical records from other events and comparing the bills from other hospitals item by item and noticed a substantial difference in cost. We were puzzled as to how post-op care was not factored into our “estimate” – could they have really not known post-op care would be needed up front? Our dog was on the table and options were limited. Un-freaking real. We decided we would be taking Moose with us, but agreed to let the vet monitor him until 10:00 PM (it was just after noon), but we would be picking up Moose to the tune of an additional $850 for the post-op time. We received the lecture that we will be picking up a dog lying precariously on the edge and headed over to pay the balance of our bill.
[title top=”60″ bottom=”0″]The Very Good[/title]
Picking up our very excited and happy dog. The vet techs, who are fantastic, informed us Moose had been ready to go a couple of hours earlier and out he came wiggling all over. So much for a dog on the edge of death. Bittersweet endings…
[title top=”60″ bottom=”0″]Conclusion[/title]
Moose has recovered nicely. We are spending extra time teaching him the decorative grass is off limits – kinda like teaching a fish to stop swimming but making headway.
[title top=”60″ bottom=”0″]What we could have done differently:[/title]
For one, I think we are getting pet insurance. That was almost a really big hit that no one is ever ready to take, granted I would have run down the street and sold off one of my kidneys, bone marrow or half my liver for Moose.
Two, we could have also had a better relationship with a vet who has the ability to handle these types of events. Would we go back to Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital? If we had to. Our dog is alive and the facilities are modern. I might, however, find a solid route to Angell for emergencies. I am not a fan of Mass Vet’s style of estimating costs though. Quite honestly, I felt like a piñata. Here are some reviews I found on Yelp!