Rory, my shy but sweet 15 week-old pup once again had some issues at the vet. We were seeing a different vet because of some digestive concerns that I wanted to get checked out right away (and his normal vet wasn't in). Once we sorted out that it was more than likely the new kibble giving him his tummy problems, the vet decided to go on ahead and do his last puppy exam and give him his shots like we were planning to do at his regular check up later this week.  

I thought we were going to do better because I discovered his ardent love for string cheese, and he hopped right up on the scale when I pulled it out (unlike last time). However, once the exam began, the vet wouldn't let me lure him with the cheese while he looked in his ears and attempted to look at his teeth. Rory growled and snapped the minute that he came in with the otoscope, after which the vet looked at me and said "See, that's aggression, and it's not good."

A few more minutes of this passed and out of sheer frustration, I insisted on giving him the cheese and Rory immediately calmed down so that the vet could examine him. The vet was taken aback but then said, "Well, clearly he isn't afraid. He is just being difficult. You really need to work on that." Following that came the two shots at which Rory yelped and tried to jump off the table before calming down and licking the cheese some more, and once again came the "your dog is headstrong and aggressive" lecture. 

 I have been working on desensitizing him since the day I got him. I can probe his paws, pull on his legs, stick my pinkies in his ears, etc. with no problems (as long as his mouth is distracted with a toy or a bone- mostly because he thinks it's a game when I mess with his feet). I even have started practicing putting him on the kitchen table and doing it so that he gets used to the height. We are still working on bite inhibition when treats or chew-bones are not present, but he has just started teething so it is an uphill battle right now. We see our normal vet in 2 weeks for his first lepto shot so hopefully, he will do better with her (and she was the one who suggested the string cheese to begin with).  

Aside from inviting strangers to come over and give him vet exams, I am at a loss. (I guess we will continue work on that in CGC class, which I plan on doing in the future after the next level of puppy classes)

I don't want him to become aggressive, and I don't think that he is aggressive, but I don't know where to fall on the spectrum of "freak out" vs. "it's going to be okay,"

I feel so discouraged and it makes me not want to take him to the vet out of embarrassment, which is not only impossible to avoid but feels awful.

I guess this was more of a vent as opposed to a discussion, and hopefully things will get better next time with our normal vet, but does anyone else have a sweet, otherwise docile pup who has V-E-T issues?

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LOTS of dogs are worried at the vet.  I disagree completely with most of what this vet said.   Technically, it is "aggressive" but that doesn't mean he's not afraid.  The vet does things he doesn't like.  Some of it hurts, some of it is uncomfortable, and all of it is being in a small room with a stranger loomng over him while his trusted owner totally gives over control of him to someone else. 

 

One of mine is an angel and one has notes all over his chart that he needs to be on the ground, does not tolerate restraint, etc.  My vet is very sweet and accommodating and sometimes some parts of the exam are not as thorough as she should be but she NEVER makes me feel bad and in fact the tech volunteers that they are all different and it's not something anyone has done.   Worst case scenario is he becomes a dog who needs to be muzzled at the vet, but he would not be the only one and most of those dogs are not aggressive in other circumstances. 

 

Ask if they might try examining him on the floor; that helps some dogs since they don't feel so trapped.   Try taking little breaks for treats.  Sometimes it helps if you rub his neck or stay at his head, while other dogs are better with the tech.  

 

And personally, I would not use this particular vet unless it's a true emergency.  In the practice I use, there are two vets I really like and one I'd only go to if there were no other options.

 

It sounds like you are doing all the right things.  The vet should have let you work with him more during the exam since he's so young.

I agree with Beth...I also have some that are perfect in the vet's office until it's table time. One thing that has helped with our newest vet is that he has a big bath towel on the table...Wynn needs to be muzzled occasionally...it is what it is. I would  try to avoid this vet also...your pup could be picking up unhappy vibes and reacting to the vet and if you are nervous he can also pick up on that.

If treats work with your other vet I would go with him. I have refused some vets where I go because I did not think they were right for my dogs...you are paying for a service and that includes at least trying to find a vet that your dog feels more secure with.

Just an FYI...both my rescues take 2 people to cut their nails and have let loose of their anal glands ALL over the place...luckily the vet tech kidded the vet who was very good...talk about embarrassing...

I also don't think this aggression but do think it's more fear based.

Did the vet let Rory see/sniff the otoscope before he moved towards his ears with them?

I agree with what others have said about keeping Rory on the ground. Noodles is examined on the ground and other than when we took him in for his very first appointment (at 9 weeks), he's always been examined on the ground. Also, there are 3 vets that work at the place I take Noodles to and 1 examined him on his first visit (9 years ago now) and the other is the back-up, but we see both of these on a regular basis. The third is relatively new and I've only seen him a couple times just because I'm not happy with him and Noodles can sense that, so I avoid scheduling appointments with him. The other 2 are perfectly fine and they are always so excited to see Noodles (they don't get too many corgis). Also, I always stay up at Noodles head and talk to him while the exam is being done, but that is Noodles and he likes having me there, it seems to keep him calm.

Continue to poke and touch his feet and his ears. I've been complimented numerous times on how Noodles doesn't mind people poking at his ears or his feet like a typical corgi. Maybe that is because still to this day, I do that. I always look in his ears to make sure they are clean and you can't help but kiss his piggy toes when he is laying down or sleeping. I think Noods is a calm corgi and doesn't really mind you doing much to him. He likes it when either the vet or the vet tech gets close to his face because it is fair game for giving kisses (smile). Yup, that's my boy.

Becca had problems with the vet when I first got her at 7mos. I worked on touching her all over. We also made training trips to the vet. We would go in and get weighed, then a tech would pat and feel over Becca. We also put her up on a table a time or two. It worked well. Now she walks in happy and ready to be adored. The two vets at the practice and most of the techs were great about it. She still gets muzzled for blood draws, but they give her a huge party when they are done. I now get compliments on her behavior.

Thanks everyone for your responses. We are indeed still working on desensitization. I really do hope that when we are back with our string-cheese-advocating vet, all will be well! :) 

Beth, to answer your question, no- the vet didn't let him look/sniff at the otoscope. I will request that next time; it makes total sense. I will also ask if I can be the one holding him. The tech was awesome and by no means man-handled him, but he might feel better. We will also investigate the floor as an option. 

I can't even begin to imagine what he is going to be like when we go in for the snipping here in a month or two... :P


I wouldn't take him back to that vet if at all possible. You were correct to use the cheese when he was afraid - and yes, dogs do snap and growl due to fear. That vet sounds like he needs a refresher course on dog behaviors.

I also agree with others about having him examined on the floor and/or with you holding him. The high-end orthopedic vet in this area has NO tables in their rooms at all, which I love. The vet gets right down on the ground with the dog. I was honestly amazed at how much more thorough of an exam that vet was able to do that way, simply because my dog was more relaxed.

I was also lectured by my vet when Jeli was very young. My last visit for her first annual exam went just fine tho. I think they do better with a little maturity. But I'm always poking at her to keep her used to that sort of thing.

You say you are going to go for the Lepto vaccine. I opted out of it because I've heard that many dogs have reactions to the shots and the chances of getting the virus are very low. I could be completely wrong but I think my vet told be the virus is passed by wildlife and that there has only been 8 cases reported in the US this past year. Does anybody out there have better insight to this vaccine?

Lepto has been on the rise in the east.  It is passed by animal urine.   We had one poster who lost a german shepherd to Lepto.    My understanding is the new vaccine is less likely to cause reactions, but it is not 100% because it's a bacteria (not a virus) and there are many varieties but the vax only covers a few.

 

It's way more common than 8 cases in the year;  one clinic in Florida has seen a dozen cases just this year.  This article gives some good info about the vaccine and reactions to it.

 

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-04-02/news/os-increase-in-...

 

Here's another article about cases in Chicago.    If you do a google search you can get more scientific info about it.  It can cause kidney failure and death.  While it's treatable, the early symptoms are not necessarily ones that would prompt you to call your vet.

 

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Vets-Warn-Dog-Owners-of-Bacter...

 

 

 

Yeah, our normal vet explained the risks to me, but they have seen an increase of cases here in NC and so it was strongly encouraged even with the risks. Like Beth said, I understand that it is one of those things where once you start seeing signs, it's too late. We have lots of wildlife even in the city and my complex isn't gated/is close to an entrance to the Raleigh Greenway (wooded hiking trails), so I just want to be sure.We have been waiting because he has had to get so many vaccinations (bordetella, rabies, distemper-parvo, etc.)

Now, if only the giardia vaccine was effective... ;) We are still battling that sucker! One day, he will be parasite free! I hope!

Thanks for the links on the Lepto. I've spent the last two days rethinking my decision and researching the issue. I'm still on the fence. From what I've read the vaccine itself can be risky for some dogs, and it only covers a few of the variants of Lepto. The time frame of protection is questionable as well. I probably would clearly opt out but we have started herding and tracking and thus Jeli has more exposure to risk. I'm finding it a really tough decision. :/

Tucker can be the same when he's at the vet.  If I step out, he's ok.  My vet thinks he's trying to protect me (i don't understand the doggy logic that the otoscope in Tucker's ear will hurt me-but corgis are unique).  He's ok one on one with the vet and the techs, so you may want to see what happens if you step out or if they take him in the back.  

Tucker doesn't like being at the vet in general, so this may exacerbate his need to protect me.

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