Today we are going to talk about Veterinarians and getting a second opinion. I, personally spend mega dollars on Vets each and every year. I simply could not exist without them. Even though I have enough years of experience in just about all types of illness and injuries with horses and dogs, there are times I need the Vet. Such as I know my dog needs a caesarian, but I can't do it, so I need a Vet. I know something is drastically wrong with an animals limb, but it needs to be exrayed, call the Vet. I know my animal is deathly ill, but can't pin point why, call the Vet. And there are times when I got another Vet for a second opinion and thanks heavens I did.
I know that a lot of times, people are unprepared or unwilling to call in a Vet. 99% of the time it is because of the cost. The bill that now needs to be paid. All I can tell you is, if you are not sure what is wrong, and do not have the REAL experience to diagnose and doctor the critter
correctly, then don't delay, call the closest or the most trusted vet in your area. Your animal, ANY ANIMAL, deserves to get the correct and best of care. The longer you put off calling him/her, the less chance of survival or a full recovery, and probably the higher the bill to be paid in the end.
So lets say, you have done the right thing and called in a Vet or have taken the animal to the clinic or animal hospital. But your animal is not improving, or you are just not satisfied with the diagnosis. Then, please, regardless of cost, get a second opinion from another Vet in a different clinic or hospital. Here are some of my stories on Vets And Second Opinions


A few years back, I was employed up in the Artic, so had sold off all but 8 head of my best horses and placed my dogs in trusted homes. The remaining 8 horses, I moved to a boarding stables. It was very expensive, as you can well imagine, boarding 8 horses near city limits. but when you work in the Artic, you actually make a great deal of money.
The man and wife who owned the facility were good people and very experienced with horses. One evening, the phone rang with some distressing news. My favorite saddle mare was found that morning in bad shape. Her head was swollen, her legs were swollen, even the bottom region of her belly was swollen. She appeared to be in great pain. They had immediately called their Vet out. He had no clue what was wrong. The blood work he had done, revealed only that she was fighting a terrible battle with some unknown infection. All he could do was give her a pain reducing, anti-imflammatory and start her on a high dose of antibiotics. Now what should they do? Of course, I asked them to call another Vet for another opinion. This was Tuesday and the first plane out was on Thursday. I booked a seat on it and prayed for my favorite mare's recovery. Wednesday, the phone call I received was much the same as the day before. The second Vet had no idea what was wrong, her condition had worsened, with the pressure from the build up of fluid in her legs, already starting to spit the skin open. I asked them to call still another Vet. I would talk to them when I arrived home.
The flight home from the Arctic to Calgary, Alberta, Canada was more miles than from Calgary to Mexico, so it was very late when I landed. By the time I picked up my truck in the company parking lot and drove to the stables, the first rays of Fridays morning sun were showing. I found her in a stall.
I just stood there. I knew it was my mare, but how I knew, I don't know. Her head was so swollen that it was hard to see even a close resemblance to the horse I had boarded there, only weeks before. The legs were bigger around than five gallon buckets and oozing a pale, straw colored fluid from splits in the skin. The underside of her belly hung down with accumulated fluid. As sick as she was, she nickered to me, a forlorn sound of despair.
Glancing down, I read the note the stable owners had left on her stall door. They said that they had been unable to find another Vet on that side of the city, who would come to see her, when they said two other Vets did not know what was wrong. Going to the phone hanging on the barn wall, with the city phone directory beside it and regardless of the early hour, I began to go down the list of Equine Vets, phoning one after another. The ones I reached, when given her symptoms said they doubted they could help. There was only one name left, and it is he, who saved my mares life. At first he seemed quite angry at the early morning phone call. Then as he listened to me, he started to perk up a bit. Before I knew it, he was saying to give him an hour and he would be there.
When he pulled up outside the barn, he immediately started pulling the things he needed from his truck. On the way to the mares stall, he informed me, my mare had Purpura Haemorrhagica and this late in the game, would probably not survive. Stepping into her stall, he confirmed his diagnosis gently and quickly. Flabbergasted that he knew from my simple description over the phone, this strange sounding thing that was wrong with her, I asked him how come he knew and the others didn't. Looking at me with kind eyes that had seen many summers come and go, he simply said. "Pretty hard to find a vet who has ever seen this disease, just happens I have seen it by chance, a couple of times over the years, that is why I knew without even seeing her". he began the correct treatment immediately, attempting to save her. And I listened and I learned. She fought hard to survive, and did. I quit my job away up in the Arctic, to spend hours with her every day, doing what I could, following this kind Vets directions to save her and make her comfortable. Thank heavens for not only second but third opinions. I might add, that I am one of those rare horses owners, who has owned a horse with this disease, not once now, but three times over the years. Two horses survived, and one did not. And all three times, the first vet to attend to the horse either did not know or did not believe me that it was Purpura Haemorrhagica.


This is a non-contagious disease. It may occur following an attack of Strangles, Influenza or other acute infectious disease. It may also follow after a deep seated infected injury, or when a horse is affected with Fistulous Withers or Poll Evil. Occasionally it occurs as a Primary disease. NOTE: All three of my cases followed an attack of Strangles, after they were either in the last of the recovery period from the Strangles or shortly after full recovery from Strangles.
The disease damages the walls of the small blood vessels leading to escape of plasma and blood into tissues, thus the swelling. The formation of haemorrhages and the accumulation of dropsical fluid in various parts of the body are characteristic of the condition.
The disease appears quite suddenly, with at first the appearance of small haemorrhages on the visible mucous membranes of the nostrils, eyes, mouth and lips of the vulva in mares. (The boarding stable owners had missed this). This is followed by the start of the swelling of the nostrils extending over the nose and sometimes the eyelids, and later may involve the whole head, which then becomes greatly enlarged. The swelling starts in the lower legs and may occur along the belly region or other parts of the body. The swollen parts appear cold and at first painless and if pressed with a finger, the indentation remains for quite a while. The surface of the skin can become so tightly stretched that it breaks and oozes a pale straw colored fluid. In extreme untreated cases, the skin becomes crusted with the leaking fluid, and finally dies and begins to slew off. The lower leg region is most commonly affected with the skin slewing off, and even though the horse may have been saved, it may in the end be necessary to euthanize the horse because of this.
Blood may ooze from the haemorrhagic areas and a nasal discharge is not uncommon.
There is variable fever and the horse loses its appetite and becomes progressively weaker.
If the oedematous swellings and haemorrhages go internal, leading to Pulmonary Oedema, or when the intestines are involved, leading to a severe attack of colic, then the condition is usually fatal. Many horses die of Asphyxia (when swelling of the head is severe), oedema of the viscera, broncho-pneumonia, blood loss, or secondary bacterial infections. The mortality rate is high in severe cases, often in excess of 50%.
It is a must, to have a qualified Veterinarian treat the horse, one who has experience with this often fatal disease. The owner must be willing to spend long hours over as long a period as several weeks in correctly caring for the horse during the convalescent period. A long period of rest after recovery is also necessary.

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