My dog Marley was vomiting so I brought him to my vet. Marley has a history of eating foreign objects so the vet did a radiograph to check for anything. She said she saw something in his large intestine but did not show me the x-rays. She said it had to come out immediately. So I agreed to surgery, costing 2,500. Post surgery another vet called me to tell me that they found nothing inside his stomach and nothing wrong with him at all. They are now claiming he just had an upset stomach.
What are my options as far as refuting the charges? My dog was put through trauma for no reason and I do not think I should have to pay for the surgery costs.
I am glad that your dog is fine now, and I am sorry that he had an unnecessary surgery!
This is really an unfortunate situation, but it can happen even in human medicine.
An additional test called a barium study would have been a good idea in order to rule out a foreign body but this test would have cost $500 to $1000 dollars and would have taken several hours to an entire day. It seems that your veterinarian was either so sure about the foreign body (due to your dog's penchant for ingesting foreign bodies), or your vet felt that it would have been harmful to your dog to wait until the barium study was completed.
Additionally, I am sure that your dog was receiving IV fluids. The increased hydration due to the fluid therapy may have been able to force a foreign body into the colon, where it could pass out when your dog defecated.
I would need to see the X-Rays in order to make any kind of determination. The radiographs may have shown a very obvious looking foreign body.
I can easily see both sides of the story. It may be good to talk to the owner of the veterinary hospital (if the owner is not the vet who made the diagnosis and performed the surgery). Most of the time an agreement can be made without outside arbitration. If that is not possible you can call your State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, or a lawyer.
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