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 Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]

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jackandstorm
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PostSubject: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:45 am

This is going to be a little rant-y and I apologize, I'm just so upset and angry for Storm and our family because this does NOT seem like it should 1.) be legal and 2.) acceptable in the shelter community.

As you know we adopted Storm on 7/5 from a local animal shelter.  I will say upfront the adoption process was absolutely ridiculous.  They made me fill out an "application" (which wasn't a big deal if they weren't asking to be able to 1.) call my work and verify my employment and then attempted to ask a lot of questions my boss couldn't answer due to privacy reasons and 2.) call my landlord and verify the rules for keeping pets in our townhouse when I had given them a copy of our lease) and when my driver's license address didn't match what was on my lease (despite the lease being dated to start five days earlier, we had obviously JUST moved in) they required that I go to the DMV and provide proof of a change of address despite me having a copy of my lease and speaking to my poor landlord THREE times.  Yes, they called her three times.

The entire time the adoption coordinator would correct me if I said "when" we adopt him by saying "if you adopt him" which to me was just rude. I mean our vet gave us a glowing reference, my employment/rental status was going to check out, I knew there was absolutely no reason to not give him to us.  I had taken Jack to meet him, they obviously got along, and we were experienced Husky owners.  We were like a dream potential home and here this lady was turning me off from the entire thing.

I started to really get irritated when they explained to us that we could use 1 of 5 approved vets and that was it.  Despite the fact that Heather works for one of the top surgical/Emergency facilities in the country and we could have everything for Storm done there for free by a board certified surgeon. Literally EVERY vet in the area takes their dogs to Heather's work for major procedures/emergencies.  Storm was going to be in amazing hands and honestly I don't want anyone touching any of my dogs but the very best, and it also comforts me to know they are with Heather all day and not being mistreated.  I explained this to them, Heather's boss even offered to call them directly and vouch for us that we would do EVERYTHING and were amazing owners.

Nope, had to use one of their "Five" vets.  It was policy.  

I kind of just snapped "fine" at the lady and immediately made  an appointment at the closest "approved" place to us.  The shelter explained he would need a heartworm test and a rabies shot and that he had everything else already done.  Part of me realizes now what kind of shelter adopts out a dog giving it ALL of its shots BUT rabies, and then doesn't test for heartworm.  Seems a bit ridiculous.  They also require you get a rabies shot within 7 days of adoption and a neuter within 14 days.  To be honest if they want to put such restrictions then just neuter/give a rabies shot UP FRONT.  Then we can't argue with them over it, and everybody's happy.  Instead I'm dealing with this crap.

We took Storm to the vet yesterday and it was the worst vet experience I ever had.  They kept us waiting in the waiting room for 30 minutes.  Then they took us back and gave us a spiel about a lyme shot.  We were like fine, inject him, whatever, just do the heartworm test and give him a rabies shot so we can get out of here.  Not once did we think he would come back heartworm positive...

Well he was positive for heartworms and as an older dog (4) you have to be more careful about how you treat it due to sudden death and damage that may already be done.  The vet gave us 3 options then disappeared for TWO hours and left us sitting there.  At that point I was checked out and DONE and ready to go to our regular vet.  We didn't trust this new vet, had 0 relationship with her, and we were only there because we being forced.  We basically told the vet to pull bloodwork to see how bad the damage was and then to fax it over to our regular vet and we would decide a course of treatment from there.

Now I've got to battle the shelter on the fact that it would be against medical advice to neuter him while he's heartworm positive.  I did get a letter from the vet stating she does not recommend we neuter him until he is confirmed heartworm negative in six months.  The shelter is trying to force me to neuter him anyway, and I am actually going to threaten legal action tomorrow because 1.) they adopted out a "sick" dog and while we love him and will pursue all treatment that is in his best interest, we wouldn't be in this position if they had tested him to begin with and 2.) they are going against medical advice from one of the 5 vets they force you to freaking use.  I will absolutely follow up with legal action if they continue to try to force me to go against what the vet recommends.  I refuse to endanger my dog because of a contract that is no longer valid with him being heartworm positive.

So if you read that, you deserve a cookie.  Sorry it's so rant-y I'm just so MAD and upset because now I've endangered my cats with Storm being here.  They are indoor and while they UTD on shots, we did not use flea/tick or heartworm preventative because they never go outside.  Now I'm taking all four of our animals in to our regular vet tomorrow for a wellness exam and for the cats to get heartworm preventative and will test everyone in six months for heartworm (as it would take that long to show up on the test).

That's an easy $200-$300 we have to spend now because we adopted Storm.  We spent $230 at the vet clinic and will have to pay for the heartworm treatment which should be between $800-$1000. We paid $125 to adopt Storm and will still have to pay anywhere from $200-$300 for his neuter.  Honestly it will be $2000-$2500 before all this is over, and I ran what it cost us to get Jack and it was $1500 even with his vet costs.  It would have been less expensive to get a puppy from a breeder than to adopt a dog from a kill-shelter and to be honest it shouldn't be that way.  That is NOT encouraging adoption, and I'm so burned by this entire experience I will probably not adopt a dog again.

Just a quick couple of questions for you guys.

1.) Does anyone have experience with a heartworm positive dog?  Which treatment did you decide on?  How is your dog today?
2.) For those that did the low-cost heartworm preventative treatment route (one we are considering since he has had them so long, we are worried about sudden death with the injections)-- did it work?  How long did it take?  

Sorry to rant at you guys.  I'm just so upset and frustrated by this entire experience.  The vet literally came in and was like are you going to treat or euthanize since I know you haven't had him long... I wanted to smack her.  Of course we're going to treat him!! He's a member of our family and we're committed to his health, good or bad.  Ugh just so insensitive. Terrible day yesterday, and it's an uphill battle from here... Poor Stormy. :/
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Hughie
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:19 am

We had a heartworm positive Beagle back in the '80's. At that time I think the treatment was arsenic to kill the worms and I don't think there was any other option. The real risk if the treatment was tolerated was the worms breaking loose and causing a stroke. She survived everything and ended up being or oldest living dog. Thing is, back then we don't remember heartworm being something that was routinely tested for, we never didn't test or treat for heartworm after that.
I also had bad experiences trying to adopt from a rescue. Rescue people do a wonderful thing, but they can be so concerned about finding "perfect" matches that they miss out on many less than perfect matches that would be great for the dog.
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amora
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:55 am

Wow so sorry that seems like a PITA. I would ask the vet you went to if they could "give you a referral" to Heather's vets office that way they can't say anything about you going to a different vet. I would tell them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine I'm not neutering my pet and putting him in unnecessary danger until he has clearance for surgery. I have no experience with heart worm but I wish you guys luck
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wpskier222
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:18 am

Wow. Just wow. I really do understand why rescues are so picky about their adoption process, but there is a difference between being responsible and verifying living situations, and just being plain controlling. I've never seen a rescue require the use of certain vets, honestly it sounds like a conflict of interest, and possibly like some kind of kickback might be happening between the vets office and the shelter. I think if you threaten legal action they will back off. After All, dogs are classified as property and possession is 9/10's of the law. If she won't back off, you could write a letter to your local newspaper about your experience, and tell her you plan on publishing it if she won't stop pressuring you to go against medical advice. Is this a county or city shelter, or just some lady that does rescue? Unless she can call animal control, there really is no way she can take the dog from you. I doubt the police would get involved and all animal control would do is come visit and see the conditions you keep the dog in (which, no doubt are stellar). Once they see the dog is not abused or neglected they will leave you alone and it will become a matter for civil court. She sounds a little nutty honestly. You could tell her to take the matter up with your lawyer and if she continues to harass you, you will call the police. I'm sorry you had to go through all that to rescue. Good luck with Storm and her heartworm treatment!
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arooroomom
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:33 am

Animal controls work at the county level- I do not consider them a rescue for the sheer fact of what they DON'T do for a dog before leaving their care.
Take the dog to your vet, you have fulfilled whatever bogus contract they have by getting him rabies vaccinated and HW tested at their vet. Your vet can certainly provide proof he is now being treated with them and he is unfit for neuter at this time due to his condition they didn't make you aware of prior to adoption. Give them a copy of both of those and if they have an issue- direct them to a lawyer. As a county run business, I highly doubt anything will come of it.

My BC was HW+ and is fine. It is truly not a death sentence at all. We did traditional method with the injections and then crate rest for probably 2 months. He will need an X-ray to see how progressed it is. If he is randomly hacking it is a sign of a more progressed case. Speak with a vet you trust about how to proceed. The problem with slow kill is with dogs that are more progressed... The disease is continuing to progress while the older worms are waiting to die. No new are being formed, however.

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jackandstorm
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:12 pm

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I was so angry when I wrote my first post because it didn't seem fair to anyone involved.

It's a county animal shelter. The best part is that it's a "kill" shelter which amazes me because they put you through SO MUCH WORK to adopt a dog; it's hard to believe the average joe meets their criteria, which means a lot of dead dogs. I understand protecting animals and insuring a good home, but calling my landlord three times to verify if we could have two large dogs, have two huskies, and have an un-neutered dog there. First of all, Jack is not neutered and is a LARGER male husky than Storm. Obviously my landlord does not care!! It was just the most ridiculous thing and I apologized to her 5000 times but it still didn't feel like enough.

Great news though! We took Storm to Heather's vet despite them telling the county animal control saying we couldn't. We just weren't taking a chance with such an invasive procedure at a place we didn't know and with a vet we didn't really like or feel comfortable with. The DRs at Heather's work immediately took control and Storm received a round of doxy for the tick borne disease he apparently has as well, a full APPROPRIATE blood test ( the one the vet we were forced to use was not applicable to everything we needed), and an echo on his heart to check for damage... All was done for FREE. He will be going back in a week or two for the injections to cure him of his heartworms for only $300 (paying for the medicine only not the procedure) and he will remain in follow up treatment at a five star vet practice/surgical center. He's not out of the woods yet, but he's in amazing hands and Heather is making sure he's comfortable and happy. She really likes having him there too because they are like kids to us and when your kid is sick you want to be there for everything for them.

I will not hesitate to contact my lawyer and am walking out of my work to call the animal shelter now. Will let you guys know if they try to bully us any further... I fully plan to lawyer up if this call doesn't go well. It's just ridiculous what they put us through for adopting a dog and doing the right thing by treating him for heartworm... Heather keeps telling me other animal shelters are not like this (she has a little cat she adopted from the SPCA) but honestly this was just the worst experience I've ever had. Jack I bought with the help of an agent, and my little cat I got off craigslist for free... Both of those were WAY better experiences than this... If you live in the central VA area and want to be warned of this place, please let me know and I will give you the name.
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mbarnard0429
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:16 pm

IMO, screw the contract and do what is right for your dog. Do not call them anymore and don't answer their calls. You have the power here, not them.
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jackandstorm
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:27 pm

I wish I had read that before I called them.  I spoke to the "nicer" one that works on the phone today and I think she was either trying to adopt Storm before us or was super attached to him, either way she asked a lot of questions about him that I didn't think was any of her business at this point.  

So here's basically the rundown.  I called them and said Storm was heartworm positive and we were electing to treat him at a vet of OUR choice.  I explained his heart was not up to the surgery of the neuter and that it would kill him and I had a letter from MY vet and from the vet they forced me to use them. Her response was: "We will need the letter from X vet [the one they forced me to use] and it will have to be faxed to us from the vet hospital; you cannot give it to us.  If we get that, then you can wait to neuter him..."

!!!!!!!!! fgjlgjlfgjfdgljfdgkljfdjkglfdjklg the vet that saw Storm is OOTO until 7/16.  I called the vet we used and was basically like, "Look I have the original letter she wrote up.  I will bring it to you guys so you can fax it."  The poor vet people were totally sympathic and agreed to faxing it for me and even offered for us to fax Storm's treatment records so they could say he's been treated, etc.  They said this was by far the most ridiculous shelter they had ever worked with and kept apologizing to us like they were being the difficult ones.

So now I get to drive 10 miles out of my way to drop off a letter for them to fax it.  Great.  And the best part of all this crap?  The adoption coordinator had the nerve to request that I call THEM and update them on how *MY* dog is doing.  Yeah, no.  I'm not going to call you and give you a play by play on the dog you could have killed.  They requested a picture of Jack and Storm playing together...?  HE HAS HEARTWORMS YOU MORON, ENCOURAGING ROUGH PLAY MIGHT KILL HIM!!! UGHHHHH.  She proceeded to ask how the housebreaking was going, if we liked him?? (obviously if we're willing to treat him for heartworms), and what we were feeding him??? I just wanted to be like, "Well I'm sorry but I'm busy fixing everything you didn't bother to test for, I really don't have time for this crap."

I will not be calling them again or contacting them again or sending them any pictures of my dogs.  I told the vet point blank I would bring him back for his neuter surgery and that would be the last of my contact with them/the shelter.  I am planning on writing a letter to the county I adopted him from detailing everything that happened and sending a letter off to local news and rescues in the area.  They make a "heartworm test" optional--so who knows how many heartworm positive dogs they've adopted out?? We almost waited to test him, so we could take him to our regular vet and what if we had?? He might have died during his surgery since it was required two weeks post adoption. The results from his echo clearly stated that he would not have survived surgery due to his enlarged heart and the length of time he's probably been positive.

All I can say is this, I'm not letting this happen to another family or dog if I can help it.  Local rescues should certainly be aware of the fact that this "animal shelter" is running like an amateur "rescue" and to warn people to STAY AWAY.
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amora
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:36 pm

Instead of warning people away (poor dogs that do deserve homes)
maybe you should start a petition if you get enough signatures maybe it would force them to change their protocol and include heart worm testing

http://www.change.org/petition
petitions do work it recently helped a young woman get a lung transplant in time
"Murnaghan's parents successfully fought a rule preventing her from qualifying for adult lungs. Before the surgeries Janet Murnaghan called attention to the so-called Under 12 Rule, which said that even though Sarah would be given priority when pediatric lungs became available, adult lungs would have to be offered to adult matches in her region before they could be offered to her.

On June 5, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from enforcing the rule for Sarah.

By June 10, the Organ Transplantation and Procurement Network re-evaluated the Under 12 Rule and decided to keep it but created a mechanism for exceptions, permitting the surgery to go ahead.

Sarah was dying of cystic fibrosis this time last month, but now is responding to treatment after her family fought for a change in lung-allocation rules."
http://www.change.org/petitions/optn-unos-change-policy-to-allow-pediatric-transplants-of-adult-lungs-based-on-medical-necessity


Last edited by amora on Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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wpskier222
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:37 pm

They sound kinda psycho and its ridiculous they don't test for heartworm.
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AngelCocoaPup
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:14 pm

Ugh, how awful.  I think they forfeited all rights to tell you how to look after the health of your dog when they gave him to you with heartworms.  In any case their policies are supposedly intended to ensure the health and well-being of animals they adopt out, so if you have to wait on neutering so your dog doesn't die, then so be it.  If the people at the shelter aren't willing to be flexible with policy, they need to check themselves.
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mbarnard0429
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PostSubject: Re: Storm tested heartworm positive. :/ [rant and questions inside]   Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:06 pm

Don't bash them - don't slam them. Like I said, ignore it and move on. They aren't going to seize your dog and if they do, because you chose to do treatment recommended by the veterinarian you seek legal action.

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