Has Anyone Ever Had a Vet Tell Them No?

Updated on May 10, 2018
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
12 answers

Our vet is kind of a jackwagon, but he is what we have to work with. We are feeling that it is time to send our papillion over the rainbow bridge soon. However, I am concerned that our vet will refuse because she isn't "sick" enough. Our dog spends much of each day struggling for breath due to crushed trachea syndrome. She is also going blind and has joint problems. We have decided not to do surgery for either the trachea or the cataracts due to the likelihood that her quality of life will not be increased. It might stay the same (which is now not good) or more likely get worse. She is our 2nd papillion and this same vet convinced me to do surgery on our 1st papillion at this same age for some of the same things and it was the most miserable experience of her poor little life and she was miserable and in pain until we put her to sleep.

Going to another vet is not an option - traveling now is very, very difficult for her and we are a long ways from another vet.

I realize that "can" say no (I suppose they could refuse any service they wanted), but has this actually happened to anyone. Ugh, like this isn't hard enough . . .

What can I do next?

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answers from Norfolk on

I hope there won't be any difficulty - it's a tough enough situation already without the vet being uncooperative.
Maybe the experience you had the last time will be enough that the vet won't try to sway you this time.
If the vet does refuse - I'd do what I could to make my pet comfortable and take the longer trip to another vet.
Maybe you could call the other vet to see if they'd be willing to make a house call - some will do that so a pet can pass in comfort at home.

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answers from Portland on

I have a friend who is a vet and this came up not too long ago. He just said that it really hasn't been an issue. People don't make these choices lightly and vets don't like to see animals suffer.

I don't think it will be an issue. I've never heard friends or family have a problem, and we certainly haven't.

I'm sorry about your dog :( It's so hard.

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answers from Miami on

I'm so sorry about your dog. Please remember that he doesn't have to suffer.

When you make the decision, talk to the vet and tell him that you are ready to let her be out of her pain. Do not be persuaded to put her through a surgury, no matter what he says. IF he declines to put her down, which I have NEVER heard of a vet doing, then go find another vet even if you have to travel for it. I know you said it would be hard on her, but living through more of this is untenable.

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answers from Santa Fe on

First, talk to your vet and see when he says...perhaps he will agree. Once a dog gets old surgery is too hard on them. He should know this. Explain to him why you choose not to do the surgery...due to the first papillon suffering so much till the day she died and you don't want to put this dog through that. Second, start asking/calling/internet searching for a vet that does house calls. Also try large animal vets...that treat farm animals. My dog is 17 and I am preparing for the day we may need to euthanize her. I just this week found a vet who makes house calls and will come to our house when we need her. She doesn't live in our town, but in a mountain town quite a distance away. She is willing to drive here though. It took me a while to find her...three other vets turned me down bc they don't drive this far for home visits.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Personally, no. But I had a friend whose dog was older (8 years) and had the trachea issue and put him down.

I'd talk with another vet. YOU know your pet.

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answers from Richmond on

The vet is going to say no to putting the animal to sleep because he figures he can make money off of you by keeping a very sick animal alive...talk to another vet

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answers from Washington DC on

You need to talk with your vet. If he suggests surgery, you tell him that is unacceptable. Then you tell him that he can either euthanize or keepmthe dog. I did that with a cat. She kept the cat for a week and then figured out what we were saying. She euthanized the cat.

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answers from Boston on

What a difficult situation - I'm so sorry you are going through this.

I can't believe that a vet would watch an animal suffer, struggling for breath, and refuse you. It really seems like malpractice, and it seems unnecessarily emotionally wrenching for you. Have you asked about palliative care and pain reduction? Did the vet out and out say no to euthanasia, or are you afraid to ask?

I'm not sure the blindness is a compelling issue by itself, although it certainly makes things more difficult. Sounds like he trachea problem is #1, followed by her joints. Refusing the surgery is an act of kindnesss on your part.

Is there a veterinary hospital you can call for advice? I wonder if there is a "doctor on demand" sort of service for pets. Maybe seeing a video of the dog struggling and having you fax the current vet records would be enough to let them prescribe something? If not, I would consider some way to make the trip - perhaps with anti-anxiety meds for the dog or whatever is needed to get her to your destination. She's suffering no matter what you do.

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answers from Portland on

I just noticed that you said your vet " may refuse" to euthanize your dog. Geez! So call and ask him. Seems like borrowing trouble to me. It must be painful to put him down. Focus on that pain instead of what your vet may or may not do.


We've euthanized 2 pets over the years. Both vets gave us information and told us he would do whatever we decided. Bpth of them did suggest we take the animal home to be sure that is what we wanted. Did your vet say why he wouldn't euthanize him? It's possible that he doesn't euthanize, therefore finding another vet is necessary.

Remember, you own the dog and have the responsibility and authority to decide what to do. I might call the vet and say you're sure this is the right decision for your pet and see if he will euthanize him.

I agree to not doing surgery. Surgery would add to his pain and discomfort. And...there is no way of knowing that surgery would help him live a better life.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I don’t see how old the dog is or when the last evaluation was. What has the dog been treated with recently? Antibiotics, bronchodialators, antibiotics, or steroids? What treatments for the joint problems. Dogs do very well with diminished vision. My dog has had one eye removed (at 2) and he won’t have his second one forever.

Please make an appointment for an evaluation and take your options seriously. Easy fix to euthanize but I hope you see what non-surgical options are available for the quality of life.

** Yes, the veterinary clinic I worked for refused some euthanasias. Especially when the still had control of their bladder/bowels. We really tried to educates the clients if there are options.

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answers from Washington DC on

i guess he could. it's unlikely that he will. even if he shakes his head and tuts disapprovingly at you (which sucks) my bet is that he will accede to your wishes. while WE know that a 'no' from him wouldn't mean you abandon or shoot or starve your little dog, few vets will risk that will happen when confronted with a client requesting euthanasia.

i'm so sorry you're facing this. we're lucky enough to have a mobile vet in this area who will come to your home. i wish you had that option.

getting a judgey eye when you're already grief-stricken is no fun at all. but i think you're probably buying trouble- your jackwagon will almost certainly do what you want. but i'm sorry you'll have his jackwagon-ness to cope with on top of your mourning.

i wish the best for all of you in this difficult circumstance.

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answers from San Francisco on

It didn't happen to me but it happened to a neighbor. Neighbor was pissed and went to at least two other vets who also refused euthanasia. Basically my neighbor didn't like watching her dog suffer with what was mostly old age.
Your dog sounds sick but not sick enough to be put down. I assume she is still eating and drinking and being responsive in other ways, even with her struggles. No vet is going to put down an animal before it's time.
Sometimes we need to see our fur babies through to the bitter end, just like our human loved ones.

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