Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tonight - 16 March 2009

Tonight - Undercover PetsI guess this is a relatively old article now as the program was a week ago. But having watched the Tonight program - "Undercover Pets" on my "Generic Digital Video Recorder" I thought it worthy of a mention.

The program could have gone into much more than it did. I appreciate it focused on those vets deliberately fleecing their clients, or just plain abusing them. Most of the program seemed to deal with the issue of where a number of vets "played the system" and charged for unnecessary treatment.

The most interesting aspect for me though wasn't the abusing and bad behaving vets, but the savings claimed by buying drugs online. It really is true that huge savings can be made, and I've ranted on this before (see here) - but what the presenter completely skipped is the fact that even making these savings online will require you to pay a prescription fee. A fee that could heavily outweigh the savings.

Stand and Deliver
My recent treatment suggested I take on some more Diazepam for emergency use. So rather than take 1 box of 5 10mg rectal tubes the vet recommended double that, to use 2 x 10mg at each episode. I guess dad fell into the trap of accepting the easy solution and not having found them at the regular online pharmacy, ordered the 2 boxes.

They said it would be a week before they had them in stock, which wasn't an issue as I still had a while before my next cluster, if it followed the current schedule.

So today dad went to collect the Diazepam. I guess he should have got the price first as they came in at £63.98, £31.99 for each box of 5. There was a thud and some smelling salts involved. But Dad being dad still took them and paid, after all he'd made the deal and ordered them.

After emailing the online pharmacy they said whilst it wasn't available online as it wasn't in their usual supply, they could source exactly the same product, with only a one day turnaround for £13.44 per box of 5!!! So even if we paid £12 for a prescription the total would be £38.88 (£13.44 x 2 + £12) a huge saving of £25.10 - and the vet still makes £12 out of the deal.

Now remember that the consultancy which recommends these drugs is being paid for. So now to get a prescription - which is just putting into writing what has been said in the paid for consultancy, I must now pay again. Which in real terms makes the consultancy £20 + £12. But now take a step back as this isn't a one off £12.

In my case I need 4 prescriptions - 1 for Epiphen, 1 for Potassium Bromide, 1 for Previcox and 1 for the Diazepam - and I need to pay for each and every one of them! Sure I get a discount from the £12 on each subsequent prescription (they aren't always at the same time so mostly £12 a time), but now I'm paying more for prescriptions than I am for consultancy... still a saving overall, but surely the RCVS must concede this is a foul practice?

Is this why pet insurance cost are rising?

Now what other industry could practice like this?

Let's say you have a car and it has a problem - you're no expert so you take it to a mechanic. The mechanic charges you £50 to look at your car and says you need 4 new tyres and some oil and he can supply them for £500. So you go and find the same brand tyres and oil and can buy them for £250. But the laws says you can't buy them unless the mechanic writes you a note - and he's going to charge you £100 for the note for your tyres and another £50 for the note for your oil.

You still have made use of his technical ability, his qualifications and knowledge - but you paid him for that. Do you think the car industry would survive, would the consumer stand for it? So, why is it different with pets? Because we are emotionally attached and in most cases will pay whatever to keep our loved ones with us, that's why.

There is a link to my current pharmacy on this site. I have no affiliation and make no revenue, nor make any gains from your clicking the link. It's there only to open your eyes and offer up a place for you to start.

So next time - THINK BEFORE YOU BUY. Don't rush into taking your vets offer before you've checked online for the product your vet is offering. Not only can you save money but you could even learn more about the medication and question why the vet has prescribed that particular product. Something cheaper or with less ill effects may be available. The Internet is a wonderful resource that is free to use - so invest your time to save your money.

Bear the Rottweiler (as featured on the Tonight program) what a gorgeous dog and so fortunate to have Tamara Baker his owner so driven to do everything she could for him. We're sorry for your loss and know that Bear has nothing but love and gratitude for your efforts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Barbecue Weather

Lounging in the SunWell today's a glorious day, but it looks like mum's not up for a barbecue. As much as dad tries to talk her round it looks like it's not happening. That's a real shame 'cos barbecues usually mean lots of really good left overs for me.

After dad took me out to the woods again today, I decided to help mum in the garden by lazing around and generally getting in the way whilst she worked around me.

Dad's put my sun lounger up for sale on ebay as mum's fed up with having no grass where it's always in the shade. Not that the grass does so well with me being around, but mum likes to think getting rid of the trampoline will fix that.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blaine's First Walk

I got to take Blaine out for a walk today for the first time. He's not been allowed to go out with me on his own as he's only 13, and I think mum and dad are worried I might lose him.

Shouting Man
After all I'm a big scary Rottweiler and I know some people are scared of dogs my size and breed, but I'm so well behaved I'll make sure Blaine's okay and take him back in one piece. On the way out there was one idiot who shouted "Keep the f&%*ing dog away from me", when I wasn't anywhere near - and wasn't even showing any interest in them!

Whilst in the park some friendly dogs came over to say hello. There was about five of them all off their leads. Thankfully their owner wasn't at all concerned and I got to say hello properly.

I'm sure now I've shown I can be trusted with Blaine I'll be allowed to take him out again. I made sure he was always on the other end of the lead so he couldn't go far anyhow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good Weather - At Last!

Finally we're having some good weather. Over the weekend it was nice and sunny all day Saturday and Sunday. This meant that when dad took me to Doggy Disney on Sunday I was able to play in all the muddy puddles and even go paddle in the ponds.

Having seen that I can swim when I want to, dad decided to test it out a bit more by having me fetch a stick from the big pond in the woods. It was great fun, getting all wet and swimming around until I was tired. It's just a shame the water's so muddy and smelly, which means dad has to hose me down when we get home. Still I like the towelling down afterwards so it's not so bad.

Mum's Ka
Today I got to go out in mum's car! This is a very, very rare event as it's not really big enough. I even have to get in the "people" door as there's no way I'd fit in the tiny little space in the back.

Mum went to get car MOT'ed so she thought she'd take me along so we could walk back, like dad does. Only this time I'm not due a seizure... just yet anyhow.

Mum gave dad some profiteroles for pudding tonight and he let me have one with no chocolate on. Hmm, that white creamy filling is delicious. I was a bit thirsty after so dad put some water in the bowl for me and mum started shouting 'cos she thought I was drinking from the toilet again. As if I'd do such a thing!


Despite the good weather mum still wouldn't let dad fire up the barbeque. For dad anything that is not classified as a tropical storm is barbeque weather.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

ShamrockHappy Paddy's day t' yer all.

Before mum and dad got me they used to be over to Dublin all the time. Now I'm around it's difficult for them to leave me alone 'cos I'm just so lovable.

We went out to Doggy Disney on Saturday and mum came with us! It was good having mum around but I'm a jealous dog and don't really like to share dad so I stayed real close making sure I was centre of attention. I didn't do any of my usual squirrel hunting - but did make sure I found a big smelly muddy puddle to bath in.
Pint of Guinness
We had a bit of drama last night. I was lying asleep in bed when the sky fell in! I was fast sleep when CRASH! I ended up covered in bits of plaster. Looks like that leak under the bath finally decided to cause the ceiling to fall in underneath it. The plasterboard had been bowing and sagging for a while, but dad couldn't find the leak. I guess it's easier now there's no ceiling underneath it?

Well I'll end this by getting a round in. Just present this page to your local bar man and see if they'll exchange it for a pint of Guinness. I'm sure they'll oblige :)

Dad usually gets something from the Guinness brewery. It doesn't have his name on it but it comes in addressed to "Slarty Bartfast", the name dad used to sign up during his first visit there - and they still send stuff out, birthday cards and all kinds of weird merchandising.

If you can lay your hands on a pint of Guinness 'Brew 39' over in Dublin, have one for me! It's the finest brew I've ever tasted. Dublin Guinness is special - but Brew 39 is just magic.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another Day at Work

Dad made an appointment at the vets so they could repeat my prescription and checkout my ears. We should have gone back about my ears a few weeks ago but as they were no longer giving me any trouble since the medication had run out it's just a problem of getting the time to do it. With dad being off work last week it seemed a waste to drive the 70 miles into Loughborough and back just to get my ears checked.

So today I got to go into work with dad again! Dad even took in my new squeaky ball so I'd have something to do, even if it drove everyone mad with all the noise.

Prescription Drugs
As it was market day in Loughborough, at lunchtime dad even picked me up a couple of bones from one of the pet stalls there. I made a bit of a mess in the office though, so hopefully the cleaners will forgive me.

The vet checked out my ears and gave me the all clear as far as infection goes. But there's still some wax that'll need sorting by giving my ears a good clean twice a week. As I'm not at all bothered by this any more, in fact being an attention seeker I kind of  like it.

After talking about my latest cluster the vet suggests we raise the dosage of the Epiphen to 150mg twice a day, from 120mg. The Potassium Bromide stays the same. So the vet drew up prescriptions for the Epiphen that includes additional 30mg (tiny tablets) so we don't have to worry about splitting them anymore.

I have to go back in a month for yet another blood test - this time to check the Potassium Bromide levels. The Epiphen levels should be fine as the dosage isn't significantly increased and the last test was considered on the lower end of the therapeutic range.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bad Night

Well with the previous days seizures having some strange spacing, not the usual 4-5 hour interval, we thought it was all over. Turns out that wasn't quite right.

During the evening I was still spaced out and sleepy from all the prior seizures. So I really didn't want to do much but laze around and recuperate. But when it came to bedtime I just couldn't get comfortable. I continually got up and moved around in the bedroom, finding a more comfortable spot. Then I sat panting heavily until I was forced to move again.

02:45 Just as I was going off to sleep, and I'm sure mum and dad were about to drop off, I started fitting again. Same as before with the lethargy afterwards, but then wanting some food. Dad took me downstairs and gave me half a tin of food.

Sooo sleeeepy
Then it was up and down the stairs as I kept not so subtly waking dad by licking his ears, wanting to go out but not wanting to go out. Completely indecisive. I then wouldn't leave dad alone until he fussed me or rubbed and massaged my stomach, quite literally all night! When he stopped I'd start finding hard noisy things like the steel bed frame, chair or table to rattle and gnaw my teeth on until dad was fed up with the noise and got up and fussed me some more.

I don't think dad looked too sharp when his alarm went of at 6am - not that I'd know because by then I was sound asleep. Still I woke mum and got her to make my breakfast - there's no lying in when I get hungry.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Are You a Betting Man?

Gambling ChipsWell looks like dad should be betting on the horses. It turns out he was able to read the form and based on the previous history it looked like he was able to guess that another cluster was imminent.

20:50 I was acting a little more frisky than usual, bugging dad to take me out for a walk, which on the way out caused him to say I was acting funny to mum. Then when we got out and had a good walk, on the way back I went into a seizure.

The seizures are definitely different than they have been. It's still a very significant event but the pattern has changed. Now I get the staring, chomping and muscle clenching, falling over, but the paddling seems to have been replaced with being completely unresponsive and lethargic.

As I lay in the park after the seizure it was as if I were so tired I couldn't get up and was panting heavily. Dad couldn't get my attention and even by lifting my head I appeared vacant with my eyes open. Dad then vigorously shakes as if to wake me from a deep sleep and I then come out of it and begin to become aware of my surroundings once more.

Because of the previous timings of seizures the usual pattern would be 4-5 hours apart. So we were waiting on a seizure at around 1am. True to form at 1am I woke dad panting heavily. But instead of going into a seizure I went to lie on the floor next to dad in bed and proceeded to sleep.

04:20 (Tuesday) Having missed the previously expected schedule it appears I caught up with it later. I woke dad by going into the jaw chomping and muscle twisting, but again didn't go into the paddling. Just lay there needing to be awoken before I got up and dad took me downstairs for some left over KFC - Hmmm, chicken!

Then it was back to sleep waiting to see if there are any more in store. Dad's working from home today so he can keep an eye on me.

14:35 Good job dad was still here. It looked like I was just getting back to being myself, but I guess we're not that lucky. It also looks like the vacant and lethargic behaviour goes on its own afterwards. It doesn't seem to need dad trying to wake me, it just leaves me shattered and when I do come out of it I've still got to eat.

19:30 Well it looks like I'm fitting back to the cycle. Maybe the previous seizures are just going to be the exceptions.

Busy Doing Nothing

Land of OzI had a great week last week. Mum and dad both had time off work so I got spoiled all week. Dad didn't know where to take me for a walk each day! So we've been all over the place.

Just had a thought. I'd better say hello to Grandma and Dave, they're in Australia and according to the site stats it looks like they're keeping tabs on me.

Dad's getting a bit twitchy as the timetable for seizures looks like I should be due another series very soon. Hopefully the latest medication, and the fact that we haven't missed any means we're gonna get away with it for a lot longer. But you can be sure because I've put it in writing it will be the kiss of death and the seizures will arrive.

UPDATE: I don't think I needed a crystal ball for this but an hour and a half later...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meeting New Friends

Playing Crocodiles
We had a GRRRRRReat day today! I didn't think this weekend could get any better. Dad took me to Doggy Disney yesterday and we had a great time. But today we went back to Sutton Park in Birmingham.

We met up with a group of dogs from Dogsey dot com, who go there regular for walkies. They brought their people with them too and we all went and had a great long walk all around the park for about 3 1/2 hours! My legs are aching now, but it was well worth it for all the fun.

There were lots of Collies and a German Shepherd pup and they were all so friendly and great fun. I'm not really good at mixing with other people and dogs, I'm a bit of a loner - not that I'm any trouble I just do my own thing after I've said hello. But the longer we walked the more I opened up and had great fun with the kids.

There were so many other dogs with their people out today, we were bumping into people every five minutes. Most of them friendly and welcoming of a pack of dogs, some a little shy of us all.

I even decided to join in the swimming! We found a lake and the kids were throwing sticks for the other dogs to fetch, so I joined in. I surprised dad, not by fetching a stick, I was far too slow to keep up with the Collies, but in that I didn't just paddle I went right in for a good old swim! Feet not touching the bottom at all. It was great.

It was just as well we found a lake because I needed a bath after finding several really dirty puddles to play "crocodiles" in.

We'll definitely have to do it again... once my legs recover.