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Rehm Animal Clinic / Dead Dog; Horrific Experience

1 951 Hillcrest RoadMobile, AL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 251-639-9120

My seemingly (fairly) healthy senior citizen dachshund started vomiting in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Then he seemed better, and I thought he'd just eaten something he shouldn't have. But later on Saturday morning he declined rapidly.

Because it was Saturday, my vet was not reachable. Her on-call doc referred me to Rehm. I rushed him out there, and was told there was no one ahead of me and the doctor would be right in. However, it took about 20 minutes for the desk to input the pet info into their computer. They didn't ask for much. It's hard to comprehend why that wasn't a 5-minute job or not necessary at all before seeing a doctor since this was clearly an emergency. Young vet with obviously limited knowledge and experience came in after about 30 minutes and immediately wanted to run several hundreds of dollars in tests, while simultaneously telling me my 15.5 year old dog was in critical condition.

I knew he was severely dehydrated and pleaded with her to please start a fluid IV to try to deal with that. Vet yammered and yammered, trying to sell me the hundreds of dollars in tests. It was obvious that she is an expert at playing on the emotions of we pet moms, who clearly love our dogs and want them to survive. I asked if it would be necessary to stabilize him first before anything related to any test would matter? Her answer was, "Yes, but she'd recommend blah blah blah blah blah." Almost an hour after arriving, they finally started him on an IV and intravenous antibiotics to try to stabilize him. And that only happened because he vomited again, on the examining table, and she said she couldn't hear a heartbeat. She rushed him to the back to resuscitate him. THEN told me they started the IV.

They absolutely would not allow me to stay with him or even see him. And she told me it would take about 6 hours before they would know if he was stable. Because I was never allowed to see him, I have no idea whether he was already dead and they lied to me to earn an easy few hundred dollars since they're all about the money there. Vet called 2 hours later to tell me he died. She was surprised when I wanted to come get him to bury him. I could tell by the smell that they didn't clean him before putting him in a box so I took him out and cleaned him up before packing him up to bury him. I could find no indication of an IV having been on/in him.

While my dog was old and might have had something serious wrong with him, I'll never know if he'd be happily walking in the park today if IV fluids had been started in a timely manner. If you can avoid Rehm, do yourself a favor: Stay away from them.

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  • Sh
      4th of Apr, 2012
    0 Votes

    Dear Emelde: First of all, let me say, I am SO sorry for your loss! I know that people who don't have pets because they don't want one think that people with pets that think of them as family members are nuts! Well, so be it then...if thinking of my animals as family makes me nuts, then I must be absolutely certifiable! I have a 7 y/o male pitt/rott mix (Isaac), a 5 y/o male Eclectus parrot (Gabriel), and a 6 y/o female Green Iguana (Lucy). I also have a 27 y/o daughter, a 25 y/o son, and a 24 y/o daughter. I will gladly admit that Isaac, Gabriel, and Lucy mean as much to me as my three "REAL" children do. But I will also say that if it came down to it my real children, would of course, come before my 3 "adopted" children. I mean seriously, I can't imagine ANYONE who wouldn't put their children before their animals, but it doesn't mean that you love those animals any less! So that being said, I would really like to comment on your complaint against the Rehm Animal Clinic. Now, understand, I live in a TOTALLY different state (North Carolina). I've NEVER even ridden through Alabama, I haven't even been to the Rehm website. So in NO WAY am I trying to justify what happened to your baby. HOWEVER, having worked in medicine for many years, people medicine, and having had many animals of my own and fostering several dogs through rescue groups, I have an awful lot of experience with what you're talking about.

    So lets start at the beginning...Yes, the receptionist should have and probably could have gotten your info into the system quicker than she did. What we don't know is why it took the doctor so long to come in. Maybe she was waiting on the receptionist (I surly hope not!), but she may well have been in the middle of something that she couldn't walk away from in the back. Sometimes, when they have animals in their care that are to sick to go home, they have procedures and/or tests to run that are timely (mostly the procedures), and once you start can't just walk away from it. You gotta finish it. You can't just "restart" it later when it's more convenient. IE: cleaning and re-bandaging a wound, or recasting a leg, or something of the sort. Those things take time and once you've started them, you can't walk away from it until it's done. Can't you see taking the cast and bandages off of a dogs broken and severely cut leg and walking away to deal with something else leaving the dogs leg unbandaged and unprotected!?!? Only to come back later to find that even though you had put the dog back in it's kennel that it had somehow not only ripped out all of it's stitches but had also further damaged the break in it's leg maybe even to the point of needing to be amputated! Talk about a law suit looking for a place to land! I know that sounds extreme, and I obviously have NO way of knowing what the Vet was doing, I'm simply making the point that she may simply not have been able to get to you ANY quicker than she did. It's sad, and I REALLY wish that doctors across the board would do a better job of communicating with their patients and their families! But they usually don't.

    Now, as to the IV issue... Yes your dog could have been and probably was dehydrated. So why was she sitting their yapping about all these tests that she wanted to run and going on and on and on about all the tests and the costs and etc, etc, etc, Well, Vets have been historically burnt. Many a vet has gone out of business because they ran their business with their hearts instead of their heads. Well! Isn't that what their supposed to do!?!?!? Aren't they suppose to have a heart!?!?!? Well, yes. They are. And most do. BUT, they are not, can not, and will not run their BUSINESS with their heart! THAT IS EXACTLY why ALL doctors be they animal doctors or people doctors have BUSINESS OFFICE MANAGERS! That vet wants to be able to treat your pet and he/she WANTS to be able to send you home with your pet and they WANT to be able to tell you that your pet is going to be fine!! But they obviously can't always do that. And truthfully, what I think ALL of us sometimes forget at one time or another is that THIS IS THEIR JOB! THIS IS HOW THEY FEED THEIR FAMILIES AND PAY THEIR BILLS!!! The reason that it is the way it is, is because just like people doctors, you used to be able to go to the vets office and if you couldn't pay the whole bill then they would let you make payments. Problem was...people want their cake and they want to eat it too!!! To many people, WAY more then MOST people, never pay the bill. Just don't. Some never intended to. Some just forgot to. Some ran into hardships...etc. So they had to stop taking payments. Based on some of the comments about the Rehm Clinic make it sound like they still do. If so, you have NO idea how fortunate you are! So, the other thing that happens is that when it comes time to pay the bill, people choke, cough, and gag when they hear the total. They then stand their and look at the receptionist and ask, "$4, 354.21...? ARE YOU @#$%^ kidding me!?!?! FOR WHAT!?!?" And the poor individual sits and reads off this litany of tests and procedures that was done...and the pet owner says, "WAIT A #$%#$% MINUTE! I NEVER AGREED TO ..., OR TO ..., AND WHAT THE ^*%& IS A ..., AND A ...OH H^%*% NO!!! I ONLY SAID HE/SHE COULD..., I NEVER AGREED TO ANY OF THE OTHER STUFF. HE/SHE NEVER EVEN MENTIONED THAT TO ME!" And sadly, some of it may not have been mentioned., most vets have a policy that they want to go over EVERYTHING that they want to do, from tests, and the possible outcomes and then the procedures from there. And part of the problem is that your dog might have benefited from the IV for the dehydration, but it's possible that they wanted to draw blood and what not BEFORE administering the IV or any other medicines so that the test results didn't get skewed from whatever was in the IV, because then they could end up giving the wrong diagnosis. Also, when we're in a state of panic and/or shock, we just don't hear everything that is said to us and worse than that, we often just flat out hear what we WANT to hear. Like if the vet says, you're dog is dying. You might respond back with how long does he have. Vet says, well without treatment, a couple of days to a couple of weeks at most. And you ask, ok...and with treatment? Vet says, Well there's really no telling. I've seen it make not much of a difference and I've seen them live on for another 2-3 years. What do you think you're going to leave the office with? You've come down off the leave the vet's office and go home to talk to talk to your hubby. He says, well, how's Rover? What'd the vet say? Well, Rovers dying but he gave me medicine for him and as long as we give it two him...He'll live another 2-3 years. Now you know darn good and well that that is NOT what the vet told you, but that is WHAT YOU HEARD! We have such STRONG visceral emotions at times like this. That's why witness accounts of a crime are not usually real reliable. Because our emotions are so strong and the adrenaline flows so strong there is WHAT we saw and there is what we THINK we saw. Somewhere in the middle is the truth. So while you were pleading with her to start the IV she was trying to keep you calm by staying calm herself (which often times looked back on and thought of by the pet owner as the vet being cold and uncaring, which is not true), and trying to make sure that you understood what tests she anticipated needing to run. Now unfortunately, in your case, your baby started going downhill rapidly. There is one thing that even though I'm not a betting woman, I would put my entire months salary on... You made two statements. 1) "...I have no idea whether he was already dead and they lied to me to earn an easy few hundred dollars..." That just did not happen. and 2) "...I could find no indication of an IV having been on/in him." You probably wouldn't have been able to. As to the first statement, no vets office would be able to practice in such a manner for very long before they would get caught. Mostly because, most people that go to work in vet clinics do so because they care about the animals AND their owners. The likelihood of having an office full of people and no one coming forward about it is VERY small. If everyone that worked there was that cold hearted, they wouldn't be there in business for very long because people would feel the cold heartedness and wouldn't go back. As to finding the hole for the IV, unless you've been trained in Veterinarian medicine, I think it would be highly unlikely that you could find and IV site. First of all you would have to know what area of several possible areas they used to look in, and think about when your dog got a tick. If you ever checked you kids or your dogs for ticks then you know how hard it is to find me...a tiny little hole from a needle ###...under all that fur...not likely to be easily found with out shaving the dog.

    As to not cleaning the dog, that saddens me a bit. I'd like to think that either everybody thought someone else had done it and it didn't get done or they just didn't have time to get to it, or maybe they just didn't think it mattered. Which would be sad. This place clearly sounds like they could work on the customer service personable skills, but I read another comment from someone else and I think I had read they had been around for almost 25 yrs., in which case I promise Dr. Rehm was not going to leave a young, incapable vet there to handle HIS BUSINESS if he didn't feel COMPLETELY CONFIDENT that she could handle things. And, I also feel confident that is she were that young and wet behind the ears, that if she didn't know something or was unsure about something than someone that did know was only a quick phone call away. As to the cost of the tests they wanted to run...Everyone thinks that the Vet offices rack up on and make HUGE profits off of doing the medical tests. They'd have to right? Why else would they always want to run so many? Well, actually they don't, in fact several that I have spoken to personally about this type of thing have assured me and have in fact shown me invoices where they were charged and then what they in-turn charged the patient. I was shocked to find out that they were charged almost the entire fee that they charge us. What little markup that they put into the fee was used to cover their expenses for the supplies they used to draw the blood for instance. The needles, the tubes, cotton balls, alcohol wipes, etc...It's just plain expensive! I recently took my parrot to the vet for a problem with one of his feet. They took an x-ray...that's right...ONE was almost $300.00 for ONE STUPID XRAY!!! I just about died on the spot!

    I guess that the last thing that I want to mention is that as sick as it sounds like your baby was, I seriously doubt that if they had put an IV in the instant that you walked in the door, that it would have made a difference. I think he would have passed anyway. Again, I am so very sorry about your loss! But I would encourage you to think about one thing...When we have something bad that happens to us, we are taught, intentionally or unintentionally, we are still taught, to place blame on to someone. We inherently just don't want to accept that sometimes bad things just happen. That if it's a living breathing thing, that if it was born, it will for sure someday die. Whether it was due to someones mistreatment, negligence, or accident, or if it was just completely natural causes, whatever the reason it will someday die. But that's not good enough for most of us. Because most of us are highly sheltered from things as we grow up...we don't like truth, so we don't like our kids to know the truth, so we hide it. For instance, on of the things in the news here of late, has been the new controversial ads about smoking. How graphic they are! People don't want their kids to see that stuff, "Oh! It's just to much for them!" NO! It's not. It's to much for us! The adults! We don't want to look ourselves in the face in the mirror and admit that the little swizzle stick that we hang out of our mouths is going to kill us. Period. But worse than that...we don't want to look at our kids and have the innocent little eyes look at us when they ask us, Are you going to die too? No one likes to face their own mortality. But we also don't want to have to face the fact that we can't justify a behavior that will leave our kids with out a parent before it's time. Then how do we look at them later and tell them, don't you do that! You could get hurt! Don't go drinking a driving! You could get killed! Some how that statement doesn't carry much wait from a parent that smokes once the kid knows whats really going on. So no, the ads aren't to much for the kids, theyre to much for the adults! But sometimes, there just isn't anyone to blame. And that might just as well be what's going on here in your case. You took your baby to the vet knowing that he/she was sick. And you left him/her there in good faith that they were going to make it all better. But sometimes they just can't. And as sad as it is, and as much as it hurts, what I hear and "see" going on here is that you're taking your natural "anger" here for unexpectedly losing your baby and you're transferring that anger onto the vet by finding things that she did "wrong" when actually, I don't really think she did anything wrong. Yes, there were a couple of things that I think that they could have done better, but over all... I truly don't think that they did anything wrong.

    I also don't think that you did anything wrong. You just lost one of your best friends, if not your best friend. I hope you feel better now. It's been almost a year. You may never see this, but I know others will, so maybe it will help someone, even if it's not you!
    Many Blessings...

  • Em
      4th of Apr, 2012
    0 Votes

    I was notified that this had been posted. Yes, it's been a long time since I lost my beloved dog.

    You obviously had a need to write what you did, but you should know that to a person who has lost a pet -- possibly through the gross incompetence of that horrific vet at Rehm, about whom I have now heard more horror stories than I can count -- your comments feel totally cruel and unhelpful. We'll never know whether he would have survived with competent care, will we?

    I am a former corporate executive. I know how a business is supposed to be managed. I've dealt with extremely competent vets for years. This place is a money machine that habitually rips off pet owners, especially in emergencies, when they are the only place open. That was the only reason I went there; there was no other vet available. I would not wish what happened to me on anyone, and I would certainly never try to justify their gross incompetence. What is wrong with you?

    Please think about the impact of what you say on the intended recipient before you post something so cold and thoughtless in the future. A pet owner, who deeply loved their furry friend, doesn't need some person with no knowledge whatsoever of the situation attempting to validate these blood sucking, inhumane excuses for pet care.

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