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Why Did My Dog Die In I.C.U. After Cataract Surgery
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Why Did My Dog Die In I.C.U. After Cataract Surgery

My dog Jeffie died March 30th 2009. I am going through a very big battle here in Thailand (The Land Of Smiles).
I had two dogs 1 was a male half shiutzu half poodle he was around 7 years old. My other a female Miniature Shnouzer 9 years old. I brought both of my dogs for their yearly vaccination shots on the 27th of march. I left the dogs at the vet to have their shots and a check up. I had a call from the doctor and asked me to come back that she wanted to talk to me about my male dog Jeffie. So I went back to the vet with my wife and as I expected the doctor wanted to talk to us about Jeffie's eye as he has had cataract in only one eye and I was told for the past few years that it was not time to do the surgery yet as they wanted to wait for Jeffie's eye to get to a certain point before doing the cataract procedure.
So as I go on here we are at this point the doctor saying that it is time for them to do the procedure and I agreed as the doctor had said she had performed over 30 cataract operations and has a 100% success ratio so I permitted on the grounds that the surgery would in now way cause death to the dog and the doctor said no problem they did warn me about possible infection in the eye after surgery. So as my male dog Jeffie stayed in the hospital on that Friday I went home with my female dog And I was told that I would receive the results from Jeffie's blood work over the weekend. So on Saturday I received a call from the animal hospital telling me that the results came back from the blood tests and that everything was normal and can proceed with surgery for Monday afternoon I said okay and thank you. The following day I received another phone call from the animal hospital a different doctor telling me that they got the blood results back from the lab and everything is normal and can proceed with surgery on Monday afternoon. I said okay once again and thank you and hung up. The following day I received a phone call from the hospital that the surgery was going to be in the afternoon and that the doctor will call me after surgery. I received a call after the surgery to tell me that the surgery went well and that my dog Jeffie was in I.C.U. Recovering an hour later I receive a call that Jeffie had stopped breathing and that I told them to do whatever it takes to revive him I received another call that my Jeffie was dead.
The following day I went down to the hospital to pick up the remains of my dog and the hospital was stunned they had no reason or excuse as to why Jeffie had died. Although they did find it unusual as when Jeffie had stopped breathing that he was excreting blood from the anal tract. I was very angry and hurt and devastated. I then proceeded to take my dog to have an autopsy performed by the University coronor office. The autopsy showed that there was blood all over the body. After waiting a few weeks for the toxicology report showed that my Jeffie died from Coumarin Intoxication. Rat Poison. I was so furious as to people playing me for an idiot. As I do not have any form of this rodenticide in or around my house on the interior or exterior of my house or in any products that I use and there is no medications around my house that would have as an anticoagulant such as blood pressure medicine or heart medicine as well all my medications and household products are kept safetly away from my animals and children. We must remember something here I have had two dogs that lived together ate together slept together. And my dogs are house dogs so they dont go out too much they stay in my lawn and I dont have any rodenticide. These dogs went into the hospital for yearly vaccination shots both dogs entered into the hospital together they were both happy and healthy and playful when in the hospital. I took one dog home the other stayed the one that stayed in the hospital was in there from the Friday morning till after surgery on the Monday afternoon so lets see the hospital who says my dog was happy and healthy and fine when coming in to the hospital was happy and playful each day leading up to surgery and the blood tests were fine and he died in I.C.U. and cause of death from hospital unknown and cause of death from individual autopsy proves to be death by intoxication of coumarin. Dont you find this strange 4 days of the dog being in the hospital all fine and healthy and happy all of a sudden he dies of rat poison? I had a dog in Canada that ate some rat poison in an office and within minutes was convallsing and shaking and throwing up. If it was not for my mothers fast thinking to take my dog to the vet and get some vitamin K into her she would have been dead. So where did this Coumarin come from can all of a sudden my dog been walking around for months with this in him. The answer is NO! Maybe it was the anesthesia? Yes they showed me a cctv camera of my dogs head getting up after surgery to show me that he woke up from the anesthesia but that does not mean he did not die from the anesthesia. Or maybe they did not know that the dogs blood was clotting? Or maybe they did know that the dogs bood was coagulating and maybe they gave my dog some form or derrivitive of coumarin?  Please show me some light on the situation because right now I have already complaints in with the Vet Council of Thailand to the discplinary commision as well I am filling a suit on Monday for Malpractice and Gross Negligence Causing Death. I will play this out to see how it all unfolds.
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Member Comments (1)

by mikeinthailand, 4 hours ago
I wrote about my dog dying in the care of a prestigious upscale Pet Hospital in Thailand. I want some feedback on my post:  Why Did My Dog Die In I.C.U. After Cataract Surgery
by mikeinthailand, Feb 12, 2010 07:26AM.

Please I am very interested in hearing opinions in this matter.

This is what the Autopsy report found: Pathology Division, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University. Final diagnosis: coumarin intoxication is suggested based on

- Diffuse subcutaneous patchy haemorrhage.
- Submucosal edema and haemorrhage of gall bladder.
- Severe splenic haemorrhage.
- Severe mucosal haemorrhage of colon.
- Severe lung congestion

Pathologist final comments: Intoxication of Warfarin/Coumarin and Derivatives.

Please comment from my first post as well as having this information you should be able to come up with a conclusion based on my story as well as autopsy report. Remember that my dog was in the pet hospitals care for 4 days happy healthy playful eating and apparantly in good spirits so what went wrong I just want the truth to come out at the end of the day.
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I am very sorry for you loss.  I'm surprised no vets have responded to your question, but maybe I can shed some light on it.

From the autopsy report, your dog died from warfarin poisoning. It is a blood thinner, often used in hospitals and veterinary offices.  I don't know anything about cataract surgery, but I don't know why warfarin would be used in the surgery, but one of three things seems to have happened, 1) it was intentionally used and overdosed, 2) it was accidentally used in overdose, 3), it was used intentionally and the drug itself caused the problem.  I don't know the details, but in the US there are several attorneys advertising on television that they will represent people who have been administered this drug and have either died or been harmed by it.  That makes me think that there are problems with the drug itself, some batches of it, or the administration of it.  Perhaps the manufacturer is the one responsible for your dog's death.  .  I'm betting someone confused it with another drug and gave your poor dog a massive dose. It's usually only used in very tiny doses.

The symptoms of the poisoning are similar to those of rat poison, which is why the vet initially suspected rat poison.

It appears pretty clear to me that the vet's office made a mistake and is responsible for the death of your dog.  I don't know enough about it to know who to blame, but I'm certain it is either the vet's office or the drug manufacturer.

In the US, no vet would ever say that any kind of surgery "would in no way ever cause the death" of any animal.  All surgery poses some risk, even simple ones.  Here, pet owners have to sign a form acknowledging that they understand the risks and they won't hold the hospital responsible unless there is gross negligence.

If I were you, I'd search the Internet for problems with this drug and attorneys representing clients who have been injured by it.  I'd also get the detailed record from the vet and take it to another vet to go over in search of the moment when the warfarin was given so that you can determine whether it was intention, accidental, or overdose.  It is given in such a tiny amount, that overdose is quite possible, especially if the vet has technicians or other people preparing medications.

Sympathy and best of luck you and your remaining dog.  
I'm sorry, I meant to say the vet's office or the manufacturer is responsible.
I'm very sorry for your tragic loss.

Did you ask for and take copies of the original  pre anaesthetic blood work panel which was performed on your dog on the Friday?    

They would be very helpful to have as a starting point & perhaps  useful evidence.  If they won't give them to you you would have to get a lawyer to demand them.  They could possibly show something being slightly abnormal in the patient's blood, but they chose to go ahead with the surgery anyway, or perhaps they didn't do enough testing. (the blood panel could be totally fine & complete, but you need it in case it may help shed some light)

The Pathology report concludes with definite bleeding out and breakdown in coagulation, but I believe they are making a conclusion  based on findings, & not on actual test detection of Coumadin??   Just to me, it does not seem conclusively clear that Coumadin was definitively used, but it does say or 'derivatives'.

So let's assume ANY type of blood thinning product may have affected your dog and caused it to bleed out at or peri /post surgery.

Was your dog on ANY kind of medication?

Your dog may have been accidentally injected with heparin, a common fluid drug used in veterinary surgeries, even a tiny amount of heparinized saline may be used to help the blood not to clot at the time & injection site of catherisation (or cannula insertion). It's possible there could have been an accidental  mix up & full strength heparin could have been injected?

Another scenario is that your dog possibly found & ate some rat bait  unbeknownst to yon Thursday or Friday before he was admitted to the vet hospital.  You say they play on your lawn. Someone  could have deliberately poisoned your dog.  Only one dog may have  found/eaten the bait, or even both, but the other dog didn't undergo surgery, &./ or it may not have affected it seriously.  Depending on the type & strength & amount consumed, rat bait may take 1-7 days, usually 2-3 days to start showing signs or to show up in a blood panel.(he had the test Friday? &  surgery not until Monday afternoon?   2 days later.

A dog who had consumed rat bait or a blood thinning product could bleed out during surgery as in this case.

A dog could have a sudden acute case of DIC (dessimated intravascular coagulation) during surgery, perhaps the dog had some kind of cancer unknown to you?  In DIC, to over ride this problem, plasma & platelets could be injected along with (controversial) some kind of blood thinner like heparin/coumadin.

Another possible scenario, as it was in Thailand, possibly an exotic ; snake got loose & bit your dog? or could a native snake have somehow been able to bite your dog? (these are really stretching the imagination, but could produce the breakdown in platelets and fibrin causing massive internal bleeding).

Accidents/mistakes, forgetting to check something, wrong injections, happen occasionally/regularly  in medical & veterinary practice.People are not robots/machines, & human error can always occur.

Did you agree to or ask for IV (intravenous) fluids to be administered?

It's also possible, in worst case accidental scenario, that  your dog was given IV fluid, & the rate at which he received it was far too high, meaning  he could be pumped full with  a high level of perhaps cold water/sodium which could dilute all his platelets & coagulating factors?  It would not on it's own leave any traces of coumadin,  but just heavily dilute clotting factors./platelets.  But  the pathology did not say the dog showed signs of edema, only edama of one organ?

If you want to take legal action, you need the blood tests they took, & need to find a lawyer with experience in veterinarian malpractice, who can find you another vet who will examine all your evidence; blood panels, pathology/toxicology/autopsy reports & Jeffie's body.

t I don't know if you will have resolve this,  as courts do not often end up providing justice in the end, & there are so many variable which could have occurred.  Proving criminal or gross negligence beyond reasonable doubt might be extremely difficult.  

The standard of veterinary education &  care is highest in England, USA & Australia.

I don't know the level/standard of care in Thailand, but a vet who studied there, could not practice in the above mentioned countries, without substantial & lengthy study in those countries.

Even NSAID's can be dangerous. Rymadyl , an anti-inflammatory medication for animals used to be available for humans, but was taken off the market as being too dangerous,  but came back available for our pets. (why are pets given medication deemed too risky for humans)

NSAID's can cause thinning of the blood, as may aspirin, which is not recommended for use in animals but is used as an anti-inflammatory when people who cannot afford the more expensive anti-inflammatories, instead use Aspirin, which is not recommended due to it's blood thinning properties & unpredictability.

Any time you hand your beloved pet over to anyone you are assuming risk.
Surgery is inherently dangerous, & if you can avoid it, I would definitely do so, only considering surgery as a necessary evil when absolutely, totally unavoidable.

I hope I may have been of some help. You can research things I mentioned,  but perhaps it would be more beneficial to maybe consider just researching animal health & natural & preventative care in general & concentrate your energies of love & sadness of losing Jeffie, in  trying  to keep your remaining little pet safe & well, by preventative measures & not relying on strangers
who do not care like you do about your animal.  They would not be minding your dog or doing anything for your dog without you giving them money, as it is a business. You love your dog most.
Sorry, Didn't notice the date was so long ago, Maybe someone else who is seeking info on this site  may find this information useful.
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