Prior to surgery, we were aware Amazon Animal Hospital's cost for an ear crop procedure ($700) would be more costly than other veterinary hospitals in our area. They informed us that our pets health and safety is their primary concern and "We monitor your pet with state-of-the-art equipment to minimize the risk of anesthesia." We opted to pay a higher fee for the ear crop procedures and understood we were purchasing a higher standard of care and the fee was inclusive of all subsequent visits and treatments relating to the procedure. "If we prefer the ear croppings be performed properly and we want the puppies to be safe during the surgery, then we will pay the extra cost."
On 7 February 2008 we took Rush and Veda to Amazon Animal Hospital for ear crop procedures. Later that afternoon, we received a phone call from the hospital informing us that Rush's heart stopped beating "for no apparent reason". However, they were able to perform cardiac arrest resuscitation and were successful in doing so.
We were informed the puppies would be given a test prior to the surgery to determine how they would react to the anesthesia. Since, Amazon Animal Hospital did not inform us that Rush or Veda didn't do well on the test, we assumed the puppies would be fine under anesthesia. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Our puppy's heart stopped beating and he had to be brought back to life. Instead of the doctor accepting responsibility for what happened in the operating room, he charged us $378.40 to resuscitate our puppy. We believe the physician was negligent by failing to adequately monitor the puppy's vital signs and allowing the situation to progress to a "CODE" situation.
On 8 February 2008, the puppies were scheduled to be discharged. Upon arrival at Amazon Animal Hospital we were told Veda could not be discharged because her sutures had come out. This is important to note because it illustrates the Veterinarian's inability to adequately monitor our pet while under their care. If her sutures were not remaining intact while under the physicians care, then how could they expect them to remain intact following discharge? Veda was re-sutured and our puppies were discharged that evening.
For a procedure quoted at $1,500 we were billed $2,053.24.
The apparatus designed to serve as the base of support and to hold the ears in an upright position consisted of a disposable plastic cup with the top half of the cup cut off. This was placed on top of the puppies head with one piece of tape attaching it to each ear. The sutures were exposed with no bandaging to protect them from infection or trauma. Within three hours of being home, the plastic cup had come off the male puppy's head. We took the male puppy back to the animal hospital the next morning to have the apparatus reattached. Dr. Carvajal did not reattach the cup. He indicated the apparatus was no longer needed because his ears were standing upright on their own.
Over the next few days, we were beginning to notice the male puppy's ears were beginning to "fold over" and were developing folds causing them to not stand upright.
On 11 February 2008, both puppies were returned to the hospital. Several of Veda's sutures had come out for the second time and the apparatus designed to hold her ears in place had come off. Veda was returned to the operating room and sedated for a second time in less than a week. Dr. Carvajal replaced her sutures and cleansed her wounds. We were charged over $300.00 for this corrective procedure. At this same visit we requested that the doctor place taping around the puppies' ears to help mold them into an upright position and to avoid further folding. Rushs' ears were also cleaned and taped. As a medical professional, Dr. Carvajal should have been aware the ears would require taping as a part of the procedure. Veda's sutures came out because Dr. Carvajal left them exposed.
Additionally, he recommended the puppies remain sedated 24/7 for the next 10 days to ensure the sutures remain in tact. Keeping a puppy sedated with tranquilizers for 10 days and nights following a common ear crop procedure, is unheard of. We charge the physician with negligence by failing to properly perform the surgery and bandage/suture their wounds to promote healing.
On 16 February 2008: Rush was taken back to the veterinarian's office for a third time since the surgery. The taping on one of his ears had completely come off. Dr. Carvajal cleansed his wounds and re-taped his ears. He also informed us that his ear was infected at the site of the suture. We were charged $41.40 for a "treatment progress evaluation" and $27.50 for additional tranquilizers.
On 21 February 2008: Rush and Veda were finally scheduled to have their sutures removed. During the examination, Dr. Carvajal informed us that both puppies' ears were infected for a second time despite having been on antibiotics and multiple visits made back to the hospital for wound cleansing, etc. Suture removal was included in the original $700 fee.
The final cost for the ear cropping procedure, multiple visits and treatments came to a grand total in excess of $3,000, twice as much as originally quoted. We are requesting a refund for Rush's surgery due to negligence and mishandling of the procedure. In consideration of the above referenced circumstances, we believe this is only fair.
On 6 March 2008 an attempt was made to retrieve all of Rush and Veda's medical records from Amazon Animal Hospital. A red flag was made on our account and the office assistant was instructed not to discharge any medical records. We were merely given a "history report" with no record of the puppies' lab tests, post-operative photos, detailed notes on all visits made, nor the dosage of administered drugs, etc. The multiple charges made to our account were also withheld. A $29.00 fee was presented to us for inadequate and incomplete information.