Seeking a second opinion

Stevie909

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
25
I was wondering what people's thoughts are on seeking a second medical opinion from a vet, and whether it'd be considered bad form.

My Hermann's was a little out of sorts at the beginning of February. Eating etc fine, just something didn't seem right and I suspected dehydration. Took him to his vet, who to her credit has always been amazing, and very knowledgeable, specialising in exotics. She confirmed dehydration as I had thought and we noticed the red spots on the plastron indicating sepsis.

He stayed over for a few days to get fluids and anti biotics, had bloods, then released into my care, with more anti biotics (ceftazidine) to be administered every 3 days.

Throughout he has been absolutely fine, no change in appetite, passing of waste, or general demeanor and behaviour. If you didn't know, you wouldn't think anything wrong. I've been administering the anti biotics since, so we're looking at a month so far. He had bloods drawn on Friday to see how his markers were doing, and the vets words today were they're worse. I'm not overly proficient with the terms but i believe the uric acid was a concern which may indicate kidney issues?

Her solution currently is to continue with antibiotics for a further month, so every 3 days. And to give him an oral solution in addition for a week, which name escapes me. Im picking it up tomorrow so can clarify.

My concern is, and again I'm no vet and thinking from a human perspective, surely being on antibiotics for 2 months would be wreaking havoc with his already delicate system.
That's why I am wondering should I try to get a second opinion? I'd hate to offend my vet as she has been stellar over the years, and it'd almost feel like infidelity going elsewhere, even just for a fresh set of eyes.

Any help would be great. I would hate to cause him any harm in the long run by overdoing it with medications, but there's just that niggling little thought in the back of my head.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
6,221
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
I was wondering what people's thoughts are on seeking a second medical opinion from a vet, and whether it'd be considered bad form.

My Hermann's was a little out of sorts at the beginning of February. Eating etc fine, just something didn't seem right and I suspected dehydration. Took him to his vet, who to her credit has always been amazing, and very knowledgeable, specialising in exotics. She confirmed dehydration as I had thought and we noticed the red spots on the plastron indicating sepsis.

He stayed over for a few days to get fluids and anti biotics, had bloods, then released into my care, with more anti biotics (ceftazidine) to be administered every 3 days.

Throughout he has been absolutely fine, no change in appetite, passing of waste, or general demeanor and behaviour. If you didn't know, you wouldn't think anything wrong. I've been administering the anti biotics since, so we're looking at a month so far. He had bloods drawn on Friday to see how his markers were doing, and the vets words today were they're worse. I'm not overly proficient with the terms but i believe the uric acid was a concern which may indicate kidney issues?

Her solution currently is to continue with antibiotics for a further month, so every 3 days. And to give him an oral solution in addition for a week, which name escapes me. Im picking it up tomorrow so can clarify.

My concern is, and again I'm no vet and thinking from a human perspective, surely being on antibiotics for 2 months would be wreaking havoc with his already delicate system.
That's why I am wondering should I try to get a second opinion? I'd hate to offend my vet as she has been stellar over the years, and it'd almost feel like infidelity going elsewhere, even just for a fresh set of eyes.

Any help would be great. I would hate to cause him any harm in the long run by overdoing it with medications, but there's just that niggling little thought in the back of my head.
"Throughout he has been absolutely fine, no change in appetite, passing of waste, or general demeanor and behaviour."

Then what are you giving medication for? If the tortoise was eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing fine, what was the original vet visit for? Personally, if the tortoise is doing all those things I would stop giving any medications.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
995
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Second opinions in veterinary medicine are as common as they are on the human side.

If you want other eyes-on, then by all means.

Whoever you deal with: they should be transparent and able to explain things (test results, interpretations, courses of action, etc.) to your understanding and satisfaction.
 

Stevie909

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
25
"Throughout he has been absolutely fine, no change in appetite, passing of waste, or general demeanor and behaviour."

Then what are you giving medication for? If the tortoise was eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing fine, what was the original vet visit for? Personally, if the tortoise is doing all those things I would stop giving any medications.

Original vet visit was for wheezing/squeaking, and passing a clumpy urate. The medication was prescribed as he was presenting signs of sepsis (red spots on shell, particularly around humeral and femoral scutes). Blood work resulted in elevated infection markers (white blood cell?). The redness has not dissipated over the past month. Wheezing has ceased completely, and all 'movements' now consistent with what I would expect.

The blood work today has shown those markers not improving, along with uric acid. I know exactly what you're saying, and if the other symptoms weren't present initially I wouldnt have thought anything of it.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
6,221
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Original vet visit was for wheezing/squeaking, and passing a clumpy urate. The medication was prescribed as he was presenting signs of sepsis (red spots on shell, particularly around humeral and femoral scutes). Blood work resulted in elevated infection markers (white blood cell?). The redness has not dissipated over the past month. Wheezing has ceased completely, and all 'movements' now consistent with what I would expect.

The blood work today has shown those markers not improving, along with uric acid. I know exactly what you're saying, and if the other symptoms weren't present initially I wouldnt have thought anything of it.
I understand better. I think if it were me I'd get a second opinion. Gluck and keep us posted.
 

Stevie909

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
25
Second opinions in veterinary medicine are as common as they are on the human side.

If you want other eyes-on, then by all means.

Whoever you deal with: they should be transparent and able to explain things (test results, interpretations, courses of action, etc.) to your understanding and satisfaction.

Thanks for your input. Again I would feel bad as it may seem like I didn't trust her opinion, but similarly I'd put the welfare of my animal over and above maybe hurting someone's feelings. In any event I'd need to obtain copies of the blood work, I'd imagine I'm within my rights to do so, I paid enough for them.
 

Stevie909

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
25
I understand better. I think if it were me I'd get a second opinion. Gluck and keep us posted.

Thank you mate. I probably should have been a bit more thorough in my original post, my bad. Appreciate the concern 🙂
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
995
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Thanks for your input. Again I would feel bad as it may seem like I didn't trust her opinion, but similarly I'd put the welfare of my animal over and above maybe hurting someone's feelings. In any event I'd need to obtain copies of the blood work, I'd imagine I'm within my rights to do so, I paid enough for them.

It's all in how you approach it, and what the legal particulars of passing along records are where you live -- vet (no pun intended) other practitioners and schedule an appointment. Ask them if they call for records, or if you need to do that.

If they need you to call your current office, be business-casual:

Good morning. I need a copy (or pdf) of my pet's records for a second opinion.

Most offices take an interval of time for the attending dr to review the chart and make sure all of their notes/impressions are in order. They'll tell you their procedure.

It is neither common nor uncommon for someone to ask why. If they do, you simply say,

Bobo's condition seems serious, so I just want a second pair of eyes. Nervous Mom, you know?

You are not obliged to go into it, so don't over-explain. I'm 100% certain that your vet's office sees a number of second opinion patients every year.

They really should have a professional attitude. I mean, if they are not a reptile specialty practice, they may even be able to give you a referral if you approach it from that direction...

Ultimately, it's your pet and your money. You have the right to see as many offices as you want.
 

Stevie909

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
25
It's all in how you approach it, and what the legal particulars of passing along records are where you live -- vet (no pun intended) other practitioners and schedule an appointment. Ask them if they call for records, or if you need to do that.

If they need you to call your current office, be business-casual:

Good morning. I need a copy (or pdf) of my pet's records for a second opinion.

Most offices take an interval of time for the attending dr to review the chart and make sure all of their notes/impressions are in order. They'll tell you their procedure.

It is neither common nor uncommon for someone to ask why. If they do, you simply say,

Bobo's condition seems serious, so I just want a second pair of eyes. Nervous Mom, you know?

You are not obliged to go into it, so don't over-explain. I'm 100% certain that your vet's office sees a number of second opinion patients every year.

They really should have a professional attitude. I mean, if they are not a reptile specialty practice, they may even be able to give you a referral if you approach it from that direction...

Ultimately, it's your pet and your money. You have the right to see as many offices as you want.

Thanks again for weighing in, really appreciate the input. They are, or at least the vet in question is a specialist, so I do have some comfort in that.

The vet I take my dog to had said they could get a look at him back in February, but they didn't have any specialists and in hindsight I'm glad I didn't take them up on it.

I'm sure they'll understand, but the first port of call would be finding another specialist. There aren't any that I've found in my immediate area, and if I find one further afield it doesn't necessarily mean they'd want to physically see him. Probably a video consult and review paperwork/bloods. They'll also believe me when I say I'm a worrying parent as Im not ashamed to admit I found myself a bit upset when they delivered the diagnosis and advised taking him in for treatment.

Thank you again so much for taking the time to chip in.
 

Yossarian

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Messages
764
Location (City and/or State)
Wales
I have mixed feelings on stuff like this. Vets know a lot, but they guess too. Being able to tell the difference and be straight with them is an important part of being a pet owner. My Vet probably thinks Im hard work, I ask a lot of questions, and Im not afraid to challenge their decision. I have gone in advocating for a treatment for my dog that they had literally never prescribed before and were highly skeptical about and after I spoke to them they asked to take a week to research what I had proposed and ultimately came back in agreement, and I know they know prescribe it for other animals where before they literally told me that her behaviour was just her personality. My Tort has seen a vet once, I came away with instructions to increase vitamins and inject an anti-biotic for 3 months to treat a worn spot on his shell. There was nothing wrong with him behaviourally, healthwise, or in any noticeable way and I did not inject an anti-b for 3 months. Youre the animals guardian, dont feel bad for being demanding that it gets the right care.
 

Stevie909

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
25
I have mixed feelings on stuff like this. Vets know a lot, but they guess too. Being able to tell the difference and be straight with them is an important part of being a pet owner. My Vet probably thinks Im hard work, I ask a lot of questions, and Im not afraid to challenge their decision. I have gone in advocating for a treatment for my dog that they had literally never prescribed before and were highly skeptical about and after I spoke to them they asked to take a week to research what I had proposed and ultimately came back in agreement, and I know they know prescribe it for other animals where before they literally told me that her behaviour was just her personality. My Tort has seen a vet once, I came away with instructions to increase vitamins and inject an anti-biotic for 3 months to treat a worn spot on his shell. There was nothing wrong with him behaviourally, healthwise, or in any noticeable way and I did not inject an anti-b for 3 months. Youre the animals guardian, dont feel bad for being demanding that it gets the right care.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm quite comfortable now reaching out for a second opinion after the opinions above which echo your own. I'm waiting on a response from one of the vets on the UK list, we will see what comes of it.
 

Stevie909

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
25
Just picked up another 10 syringes of ceftazidime and a week's worth of allopurinol which is fair enough if uric acid is high.

I must say I was really hoping I wouldn't have to keep injecting a tortoise although he handles the whole thing better than I do.
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
19,989
Location (City and/or State)
UK
I think the British Association of Tort Keepers (BATK ) had a nationwide vet list. I'll see if I can find it.
 

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
19,989
Location (City and/or State)
UK
Always best to seek a second opinion if you have doubts.
My sister was told her dog had cancer of a leg joint and was told it would be best to euthanise or remove the leg.
She wasn't convinced so went for a second opinion with a more experienced vet and apart from some arthritis that has to be managed, the dog is fit healthy and very active again.
She is so glad she didn't accept the first diagnosis.

Another good way to find an exotics vet is to contact a zoo and see who they use for their torts.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top