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Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? #1379857
10/11/14 11:41 AM
10/11/14 11:41 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Florida
M
missmatch6 Offline OP
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missmatch6  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Florida
Hello All, I'm in need of some urgent advice. I am the owner of 2 sugar gliders- Meika and Fionna. I have had them for about 5 years now- both have been happy and healthy until recently.

Meika developed a large fatty lump on her lower abdomen. It did not seem to cause her any discomfort or cause any change in behavior or appetite. However, a couple of days ago she began breathing rapidly and occasionally making a popping sound. Her ears were droopy, eyes not as bright and big, she was weak, did not want to leave my arm and refused to eat. I was able to give her water with a dropper.

She made it through the night but in the morning she was still hanging on the top of her cage and was not in bed as usual. I reached for her and she let go and then once again did not want to leave me arm.

The vet I usually take them to was not working that day and I felt it was an emergency so I called any vet I could find in the tri-county area that was listed as working with exotics. All of these vets recommended I go to the same place. This particular vet was the most expensive and required a $350.00 deposit just to see Meika. Being desperate to help her I decided to go ahead and take her in. I was told if she were to need surgery it would probably cost between $500 and $800 and was told they would inform me before doing anything what it was as well as what it would cost.

I arrived at their office at 10:30am, they immediately took her to the back. I then sat there for almost an hour before being given paperwork to fill out. I was then told they would call me to give me updates and that Meika was stable and I left as directed.

Around 3:30pm I had not heard from the vet so I called in to check on Meika. I was told she was stable but still struggling to breathe and that the vet would call once she was out of surgery with another pet. The vet called around 5:50pm and asked a few questions but explained she has been unable to determine what was causing her breathing problem. She asked if I wanted her to operate to remove the lump which would hopefully solve the breathing issue and help her determine what the lump was. She explained the risk of Meika not surviving being put under or the surgery along the chance that they may still not be able to determine what the exact issue is, and may still not be able to solve the problem. We also discussed putting her down. She stated she would call me in an hour to see what I had decided.

The vet called me back at 10:00pm and shared that Meika was running around and drinking on her own but still struggling to breathe. Then while on the phone with me, the vet saw her eat a peanut thet they had offered her. Since she was improving we decided to give her some more time. I waited all day for a call and having not heard anything by 5:00pm, I called in myself. I was told Meika was better but not good and that the vet would call me after she finished surgery on another pet.

At 6:30pm, the vet called and shared that Meika was still struggling to breathe and she still didn't know the cause she also stated she noticed some blood in Meika's mouth and asked if this had happened before (it hadn't). In the middle of discussing possibilties, the vet explained that Meika was now going into more severe respiratory distress and that she needed to know if she could operate now or if she should put her down.

I was unsure, I didnt want to put her down if she could be saved but I didnt want her to suffer either. The vet suggested operating, I gave her permission and hoped for the best. I woke up at 6:00am to having missed a call at 12:12am from the vet. She left a voicemail saying she had removed about 90% of the tumor that had "rotted in the middle and become infected" and was surrounded by fat. She then informed me that she also trimmed Meika's teeth as they were cutting into the roof of her mouth.?! She went on to say Meika had recovered "pretty well and was eating and drinking on her own and that her breathing was significantly better". I was relieved but concerned as to Meika's teeth.

I spent a few hours doing research and EVERY SINGLE webite or resource clearly stated this was something that should NEVER be done. That doing so could cause a lifetime of pain and make her more vulerable to tooth decay and abscesses. And if any vet were to recommend this to "run and report".

At 9:20am this morning, the vet called and stated that Meika had passed :"( She then explained that she did some research and that tumors are common and the best thing to have done would be to have brought her in immediately... It breaks my heart to to think I could have saved her if I just brought her in sooner... but I am VERY concerned by the fact that a reportedly experience and highly recommended vet "just" did some research.

I can't help but wonder if she also "just" discovered that she should not have cut Meika's teeth... and perhaps Meika was put down to avoid problems and a possible malpractice lawsuit? Does anyone have any experience with anything similar or even just an opinion as to what to think? I know ulitmately it doesn't matter for poor Meika anymore but something doesn't seem right.

I asked when I could come pick up Meika and was told late afternoon on Monday... today is Saturday. Their business hours state they are open by appointment only on Saturday and that the vet is available 24/7... I know Meika is gone but I want her home so we can let her cagemate see her one last time (as I have read is the best way to help a cagemate grieve and understand the loss) and to bury her in the garden :"(

I'm heartbroken for Meika and Fionna now as well as she was a rescue that had been caged alone, fed birdfood, and was self-mutilating. If anyone has any advice as to how to help Fionna transistion please please let me know. I fear she will begin self-mutilating again. As much as I would love to keep her, I want to do what is best for her. It seems that finding an experienced vet is near impossible where I am and after loosing Meika I question my ability to provide and afford the best care for these little guys. I would be willing to place Fionna with someone that has experience and other sugar babies she could live with. Sorry this is such a long post but I don't know who else to turn to for help.

Any advice or suggestions are welcomed but please refrain from any bashing as I have already paid the ultimate price for not bringing Meika in sooner :"(

Last edited by GliderNursery; 10/11/14 01:34 PM. Reason: added paragraph spacing for ease of reading

MissMatch6
Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379858
10/11/14 01:22 PM
10/11/14 01:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 20,093
North Central Ohio
GliderNursery Offline
Tech Admn
GliderNursery  Offline
Tech Admn

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 20,093
North Central Ohio
I'm so sorry for your loss of Meika. hug2

As for the malpractice, I honestly don't see where you would have a case. You are only "assuming" that they vet found they had erred and euthanized her. Unless you have proof of that, it's a pretty be accusation to have made. I don't know where the lump was exactly, but from what I've heard most gliders do not survive abdominal type surgeries.

Additionally, according to your post, the vet did explain the risks of anesthesia and the added risk of surgery itself. I believe that in of itself would negate any type of malpractice suit.

Now, the teeth clipping is another story. I have never heard of that causing a glider to pass, but it is something that should never be done to a sugar glider. My guess would be the peanut possibly caused the scrapes in her mouth, not her teeth. I would take the time to educate the vet that because sugar gliders are not rodents, their teeth do not grow like rodents; therefore should never be clipped, trimmed, or floated for any reason. I would also suggest giving him the names of glider reputable vets around the USA that will confirm this information. At the very least, you could possibly save another glider from that painful fate.

For Fiona, I wouldn't jump the gun and immediately consider finding another home for her. Gliders do not self mutilate due to depression, that is a huge myth. There would need to be an underlying cause for her to begin to SM again. Even though this vet wasn't able to save your glider, it doesn't mean (other than the teeth thing) that he/she is a horrible vet. Also, you mentioned that your normal vet wasn't available at that time, so it sounds like you really do have vet care available to you.

One other thing to consider, since Fiona is a rescue, she's already been through a hard life. You are her home, and the only thing that she "knows" and feels secure with. She's just lost her cagemate, so uprooting her into a new home could be more harmful to her than trying to work through the grief process with her.

I guess I'm just trying to say, don't make any rash decisions where Fiona is concerned. This is all a lot for you to handle right now, so major decisions should be made after things settle for you and you're able to think more clearly and make the best decision for Fiona.

Again, I'm very sorry for your loss. hug2


Shelly

Don't sacrifice quality information for convenient information.


Glider Nursery

Sugar Glider Foundation


Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: GliderNursery] #1379859
10/11/14 01:50 PM
10/11/14 01:50 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Florida
M
missmatch6 Offline OP
New Member
missmatch6  Offline OP
New Member
M

Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Florida
Thank you so much for your response. I wouldn't go as far as to sue someone but was hurt at the thought that she may have died due to a vet claiming to be experienced when in fact they aren't. It all seemed odd the way it played out especially for Meika to be eating and drinking on her own after surgery and reportedly doing well to just die like like that. I really appreciate you taking the time to read all that I had written, I tried to be detailed as I figured I may have jumped to conclusions as I am upset with having lost my sweet Meika. I agree that keeping Fionna may be best as it would be stressful to uproot her again. Do you know if they are more likely to self-mutilate if they have done so in the past? She hasn't in the past 5 years, but, the damage she did to her tail at her prior home was pretty severe frown I will keep looking for an experienced vet- even if I have to drive further and perhaps I can take in another rescue down the line. Thank you again.


MissMatch6
Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379860
10/11/14 02:23 PM
10/11/14 02:23 PM
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,816
Longview, Texas
Kris_N_Zoe Offline
Glider Slave
Kris_N_Zoe  Offline
Glider Slave

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,816
Longview, Texas
I'm so very sorry for your's and Fionna's loss. hug2 I am not experienced in these matters, but I too grieve for the loss of Meika. I'm sending prayers to ease your sorrow. Know that Meika is no longer in pain.
Glide free Meika. :rbridge:


Pibble pup Jenson jump Glide free: Smoke (6/16/15) and Zoey (10/2/15) :rbridge:
Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379861
10/11/14 02:27 PM
10/11/14 02:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 183
Alabama
Ela11 Offline
Glider Explorer
Ela11  Offline
Glider Explorer

Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 183
Alabama
I am sorry for your loss and agree that Fionna needs you now! She will help you getting over your loss, and you will help her! On the long run you could look into rescuing another glider or giving her to someone else. For now, I would just watch her closely. Some gliders do ok on their own, but they need to spend a lot if time with their human family!


:grey: Zucky
Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379862
10/11/14 02:30 PM
10/11/14 02:30 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 237
Seattle, WA
B
Beki516 Offline
Glider Explorer
Beki516  Offline
Glider Explorer
B

Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 237
Seattle, WA
Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss.

hug2 gangel


Proud adoptive mama of rescues :grey: Pallas and :grey: Zephyr as of 9/29/14!
Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379864
10/11/14 02:52 PM
10/11/14 02:52 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 20,093
North Central Ohio
GliderNursery Offline
Tech Admn
GliderNursery  Offline
Tech Admn

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 20,093
North Central Ohio
No, I don't think she is going to SM again. The reason for her SMing at her previous home was because she probably had some type of tail injury. That is irrelevant to the current situation IMO.


Shelly

Don't sacrifice quality information for convenient information.


Glider Nursery

Sugar Glider Foundation


Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379874
10/11/14 06:57 PM
10/11/14 06:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,797
Wisconsin
Feather Online sleep
Administrator
Feather  Online Sleep
Administrator

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,797
Wisconsin
I am very sorry for your loss. May you find comfort and peace in your memories of her.

Glide Free Little Meika :rbridge:


Kimberley
Feathers-Sweetie, Mister Peanut & Big Mack
Fur-Guinan, Mr. Spock, T'Mir, Cho, Toothless, Maverick & Maharet :bb: T'Pol, Elizabeth & Curzon :wfb: TY, TJ, Light Fury, Madison & T'Pring :rtmo:
Forever in my heart, Gizmo, Tucker, Khayman and the rest of my babies over the :rbridge:

Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379924
10/12/14 04:05 PM
10/12/14 04:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 14
Georgia
D
DoubleBogey Offline
New Member
DoubleBogey  Offline
New Member
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Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 14
Georgia
I am so sorry.... I hope you find healing and peace soon.

Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: missmatch6] #1379968
10/13/14 08:05 AM
10/13/14 08:05 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 7,560
Long Island, NY
yiyo Offline
Serious Glideritis
yiyo  Offline
Serious Glideritis

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 7,560
Long Island, NY
hug2 hug2


Alyssa

"Moving on is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard."
Re: Urgent Help Needed- Possible Vet Malpractice? [Re: yiyo] #1379970
10/13/14 08:18 AM
10/13/14 08:18 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 16,800
St. Johns, Florida
Srlb Offline
Glideritis Anonymous
Srlb  Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 16,800
St. Johns, Florida
I have to agree with Shelly. I do not think the clipping of the teeth had anything to do with it.

Gliders teeth are indeed fixed, they also contain what is called pulp, which are nerve endings. If the gliders teeth are trimmed too short, it can cause infection and abscesses later down the road. With that being said, there have been MANY gliders that have either had their teeth trimmed or completely removed and the glider goes on to live a full life.

It sounds like your little one was in very bad shape to start off with.

There have been many gliders that have lost their lives to cancer and I am sorry to hear the passing of yours.

As stated above, I would take the time to explain to the vet that sugar gliders teeth are fixed and should never be trimmed or floated.


Peggy
Critter Love
Critter Love� Diet Center

If you want to know what a person is like, watch how he treats others.

You'll never know what the outcome is if you don't step up and try.


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