Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

Puppy Woes and Vets with Bad People Skills

Sorry for being missing in action, but Penelope’s puppies came down with diarrhea, and caring for them has been consuming pretty much every minute of my time.

We first noticed it on Sunday afternoon, but by the early hours of Monday morning their poo issues had escalated from ‘worrisome’ to ‘alarming’. Because puppies have lowered immune systems and no fat reserves to draw on, diarrhea can send a healthy puppy into a tail spin within 12 hours. Just like with human babies, the main concern is dehydration. Dehydrated puppies can crash with stunning rapidity, so I spend all of the late hours of Sunday and the early hours of Monday monitoring them for it.

Size Differences

The smallest girl, who has always been significantly more petite in both size and weight than her siblings, had the hardest time of it. By 8 am Monday morning, she’d had two rounds of subcutaneous fluids, and was nursing with lackluster enthusiasm. I knew I had to get a stool sample in as soon as possible, to find out what the problem was, and to try and learn how we could treat it.

Like a lot of breeders, I use two different veterinarians on a regular basis. My ‘main’ vet is my reproductive specialist, who I use for everything and anything breeding related. They do our c-sections, our timing tests, our inseminations and our semen storage. However, since they’re an hour away, I’ve used a local veterinarian for some of the smaller, more minor issues that come up with our dogs, such as xrays, cremation for Ellie and shots of oxytocin when Penelope’s milk wouldn’t come in. Since they’re in Durham, just five minutes away from me, they seemed the logical choice for doing a stool culture. I called and asked them if I could come in, then groggily jumped in the car, carrying my tupperware container of puppy poo.

When I arrived at the clinic, the receptionist was (and I’m understating here) remarkably chilly. She took my sample into the back to hand off to the vet, while I arranged to pick up a new bag of ringers and some needle tips from the vet tech. Just as she was ringing me in, I heard the male veterinarian loudly asking “Why I’d bothered bringing the sample to them, if they weren’t good enough to be my regular vet”. The receptionist returned, carrying my poo, and haughtily told me that, “since their clinic obviously wasn’t skilled enough to be my regular clinic, and couldn’t possibly be able to know what to look for in the sample, maybe I should just take it up to my real vet”. While reading the preceding sentence, make sure to imbue it with as much hostile sarcasm as possible, for full effect.

I was stunned and surprised, which coming on top of a full weekend of sleep deprivation, and a full night of caring for sick puppies, was a very bad combination indeed. I asked if she thought my ‘real’ clinic would complain when I took my new pigs to Durham, then answered my own question by saying  “Oh, wait, of course they won’t be, because they understand that different vets have different specialities — I don’t take my large animals to my repro vet, and I don’t let my large animal vet do c sections on my French Bulldogs”. I then stomped out of the clinic, an effect that was probably spoiled by the fact that I was so tired I bumped into the door frame.

I just don’t understand what they were trying to prove. Would they rather have none of my money than some of it? Is it inconceivable to them that, for a dog breeder, there’s nothing unusual in having different veterinarians for different needs? I’m a good client. I pay all of my (rather large) bills as they’re presented to me, I’m on time, I listen politely, and I follow directions. Most of all, I have a lot of four legged creatures for them to treat. Their loss, I suppose, although it didn’t feel like it when I was careening up the highway to my ‘real’ veterinarian to have them check the sample.

The stool sample results have thankfully come back negative. The puppies don’t have an illness, or a parasite, meaning that this is one of those cases of ‘mystery poo’ that plague dog breeders from time to time. Possibly it was related to Penelope’s milk, although we cultured that as well, with nothing seen in the results. Mom and pups are on a low dose of antibiotics as a sort of ‘just in case, and it couldn’t hurt’ precaution, and everyone seems to be coming around quite nicely. Even the tiny little terror is back to head bopping her siblings if they get in her way. I’m still watching over them rather obsessively – I even had Sean take a few days off work to help me, so I could get some sleep.

The tiny girl is now seriously tiny in comparison to her siblings. While they’re sitting at about 14 ounces and change, she’s just under 11. I suppose that this officially means that the tiny girl is a ‘runt’, much as I loathe that word. I especially hate it when people contact me and tell me that they’re looking for ‘just a runt’, as if this small little girl, who I’ve watched over constantly, weighed three times per day, and who sleeps in the crook of my arm when she tires of nursing, is some sort of defective goods. She might be small, but she’s a defiant little fighter who latches on to a nipple with the suction force of a Dyson vacuum, her tiny face wrinkled in concentration. Far from being ‘just a runt’, she is instead just about my favorite.

Upstairs, and out of the fray of multiple siblings, Heart continues to grow. We’ve taken to making little Jabba the Hut jokes when we visit with her, parroting her saying things like “Feed me again you shall, HaHaHa”. It’s a Star Wars geek thing.

Here’s an interesting photo — it shows the clear differences in coat color between the tiny girl, who I now think will be a honey pied, and her (literally) big sister, who is going to be a sort of caramel colored cream. The color differences between all four pups are now quite striking, if you look closely enough.

Oh, and email? Yes I know you’re there, all 268 new messages in my inbox. Give me time to sort through them all, please — I’ve been living in one single small room for three days straight, so my mind isn’t quite where it should be just yet.

Here’s the entire photo set, on Flickr. More of Heart some time later this week.


14 replies
  1. Fuzzy Logic
    Fuzzy Logic says:

    oh.. you’ve got one of *those*. My partner once got her hands her dogs chart at one vets office. It read “owner is a problem. Asks too many questions”…

    what the Freak is WRONG with these vets?

    Fuzzy Logic’s last blog post..In Honor of Patch

  2. Hope
    Hope says:

    I think it’s sad you had to find out at such a critical time that these *@#$%^%! people care so little about animals. Hope those gorgeous puppies are 100% soon. The pictures are wonderful – thank you!

    Hope’s last blog post..Holding grudges

  3. maggie
    maggie says:

    I shudder to think what my vet file says.. LOL!

    Carol, one day when you have time I’ll have to tell you about the time I took Lola in because I thought her jaw was dislocated. It’s a long, extremely funny story which ends with the vet refusing to do x-rays because “that’s how their jaws are”. In my defense, she was about 1 1/2 years old at the time, and my first French Bulldog..

    Anyway, I’m sending Penelope and the puppies lots of positive ‘normal poop’ energy.. 🙂


  4. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Carol sounds like you have had just about enough…hope you get some rest and soooo glad the babies are okay.
    When you are finally rested (probably when the pups go to their homes) I would complain to the CVA about this vet. This is unacceptable. Can you imagine if a Dr refused to treat a sick patient because, he/she wasn’t a regular client? Terrible.
    Glad to see the fawn boy looking gorgeous 😉

  5. Susan
    Susan says:

    Name names, woman, truth is a complete defense! Tell your neighbors!

    Been there, done that (well, it was inflammation between Lucie’s toes, not poo), told the Vet to bite me, and made sure to repeat the story, with her name, as often as I could in her office’s neighborhood. Also, in my own Vet’s office, there’s one Vet who I’ll only see if it
    can’t wait. I’ve duked it out with her a few times. My dog is more important than your ego, Dr. Poop-for-Brains.

  6. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    I’m so sorry! How ridiculous!
    But the pups look so beautiful and are so loved. A warm fuzzy for this Wednesday.

  7. heather
    heather says:

    oh Carol.. that’s terrible. I’ve always said a GOOD vet is one in a million… i’m still looking for the perfect one. I think i’ve found him but he’s retiring in a year.

    I hope your littlest one (and her siblings) all make a 110% recovery

    heather’s last blog post..Locals to Toronto

  8. Mel
    Mel says:

    My Dad and I experienced something similar with our vet when we had to call him out when one of our cows had a difficult labour.

    If I remember my Dad informed the vet that if that was his attitude then we were going to switch clinics.

  9. Marie
    Marie says:

    All I can say is WOW!

    I think you should write a nice polite letter to them explaining in great detail why they are no longer your vet and how that may impact them in the future. Make sure to point out that a REPUTABLE breeder brings lots of money into a vet practice with care given to your animals and with referals you might give to others in your area looking for a good vet. (ahh the story you’ll be telling now)

    I have read enough on your blog to know you could write the PERFECT exit letter to make them rethink their own idiocy. It would be interesting to know if that particular vet is the owner of the busines as well. One wonders if this was a peon that was being stupid and short sighted.

    At the very least a good letter might make you feel better about your other doorway challenged exit.

    Good luck with the babes. Glad to hear they are ok.

    Marie’s last blog post..The never ending debate

  10. Vivianne
    Vivianne says:

    Hi Carol,

    I read your story, and this has happened to me in many other ways. It’s outrageous.

    At least this happened when it wasn’t a emergency. But the bottom line is that it might as well be a case of life and death, so now you can look for another vet close to your place.

    And I agree with the people above, at the very least you should write a very nasty letter when you have the time.

    Oh, and the babies are precious! 🙂

    Vivianne’s last blog post..Meal Time

  11. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    Thanks, all. I should have pointed out that I also have a second secondary vet, who has never once complained about my using my repro vet for other stuff. I just thought using Durham, which is only ten minutes from my house, was a nice option to have. Apparently not, and a nearby breeder has told me that this sort of attitude – “use us for everything, or don’t use us at all” – is endemic in this area.

    Ridiculous, especially considering that a tech at Durham once told Sean that “they don’t really do sections”.

    The puppies are well — Tiny Terror has gained a WHOLE OUNCE! Woot!

    I guess I should be tackling my email, instead of reading blogs, but I’m not going to until tomorrow. So there!

  12. RHz
    RHz says:

    I’m so very glad to hear that the pups are all doing okay and I hope you are able to rest soon.

    I still haven’t found the perfect vet that has normal hours. The one I did find works for the overnight emergency office (I discovered her after my Frenchie’s eye had a run in with a stray cat outside of my house in the wee hours of the morning during potty training) and she doesn’t do “normal” hours.

    The vet I use now is more geared toward dogs (which is good for my boy) but not so good for my six cats. She seems rather annoyed that I ask so many questions when I have to take them in (only because I help run a cat rescue so I know much of what I’m talking about). I’m new to dogs and my Frenchie is the first one that has ever been “mine” so I’m still learning.

    If anyone has a good Frenchie vet in Southern NJ, please, let me know!

    Lots of positive thoughts for “good” puppy poo and sleep coming your way.

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