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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I'll keep this as brief as I can. 13 MTH old lab went in for spaying,had concerns beforehand due to nesting behaviour,licking vagina etc. Vet said ok to proceed with op. Picked up after op with "all went well" feedback. However difficult recovery virtually straight away, leaking from incision wound and discharge from vagina. Concerned I rang vets only to be told she was a "nasty" case as when opened up they found pyometra. I wasn't told this upon collecting her and her medical notes don't say this either. I'm looking to claim on insurance as she's had to have had a further operation to rectify the weeping wound as well as courses of antibiotics and sedatives,which they have suggested was due to her overactivity caused by my aftercare routine. My concern is trying to prove pyometra with the insurance company when her medical notes don't have this recorded. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks(y):)
 

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Two things spring to mind. Was the Pyo real, or an excuse for mistakes made during the op?

Nobody is infallible and some vets are more skilled than others, as in any job. Things do sometimes go wrong.

It does certainly sound like the vet is trying to wriggle out of their responsibility. Normally anything happening as a result of an operation is covered as part of aftercare. I once had a problem with my Dalmatian after castration. Around 10 o'clock that evening he started dripping blood quite heavily from the wound. I phoned my vet who came and took him back to the surgery and operated over night, telling me that a tie had come off one of the veins. When I went back the next day I was told he had developed an infection and they were keeping him in. All in all he spent 3 days at the vet all with no extra charge. This is the after care I would expect to happen.

I would not expect insurance to pay for spaying, because it is elective surgery rather than necessary surgery. Normally spaying because a bitch has developed pyo will be dearer because of treating the infection as well as the spay. But then if the pyo had developed far enough you would know, lethagy, sickness and (possibly) discharge. If a pyo was found at the time of spaying then I would expect it would be reflected in the charge. Remember, I'm not a vet, but this is the way my vet works and I would expect to find a similar charging structure at other vets. (Thats not to say the price would be the same. For example, a London vet would have considerably higher surgery overheads than a country vet, so their charge is always going to be higher.)

Trouble is, you cant prove anything. I'm guessing you will eventually have to pay up. I just know that if it was me then I would be finding a different practise in future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Two things spring to mind. Was the Pyo real, or an excuse for mistakes made during the op?

Nobody is infallible and some vets are more skilled than others, as in any job. Things do sometimes go wrong.

It does certainly sound like the vet is trying to wriggle out of their responsibility. Normally anything happening as a result of an operation is covered as part of aftercare. I once had a problem with my Dalmatian after castration. Around 10 o'clock that evening he started dripping blood quite heavily from the wound. I phoned my vet who came and took him back to the surgery and operated over night, telling me that a tie had come off one of the veins. When I went back the next day I was told he had developed an infection and they were keeping him in. All in all he spent 3 days at the vet all with no extra charge. This is the after care I would expect to happen.

I would not expect insurance to pay for spaying, because it is elective surgery rather than necessary surgery. Normally spaying because a bitch has developed pyo will be dearer because of treating the infection as well as the spay. But then if the pyo had developed far enough you would know, lethagy, sickness and (possibly) discharge. If a pyo was found at the time of spaying then I would expect it would be reflected in the charge. Remember, I'm not a vet, but this is the way my vet works and I would expect to find a similar charging structure at other vets. (Thats not to say the price would be the same. For example, a London vet would have considerably higher surgery overheads than a country vet, so their charge is always going to be higher.)

Trouble is, you cant prove anything. I'm guessing you will eventually have to pay up. I just know that if it was me then I would be finding a different practise in future.
Hi,
Thanks for your reply. I'm a new dog owner and my lab was demonstrating odd behaviour which is why I raised this concern on the day of her spay. She did have discharge etc,off her food. But like I say,the vet was happy to operate. They've been very good and her latest operation to "fix" her leaking incision site was cheaper than the original op and if I'm honest the stitches look a lot neater( I've photographed everything) I don't want to mention claiming on insurance until I know my girl has fully healed so I can see the total cost. They do have a disclaimer for complications occuring after surgery and all my return visits/check ups have been free but paid for any subsequent procedures/medications. I'm aware my insurance won't pay for elective surgery but I figured spaying would be the best procedure to remove the pyometra and as they agreed to go ahead with the operation I guess only time will tell if they are willing to say the spay was a necessity due to her condition therefore becoming non elective surgery. I'll keep you posted.
Thanks again
 

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I’m confused, if it were suspected pyometra there surely wouldn’t have been any question that a spay was the correct option, assuming your vets were aware you wanted her spayed anyway? Or are you suggesting your insurance will only cover if it’s surgery due to pyometra and the vets have no record of pyometra? If you booked her in for a spay with no suspicion of pyometra it’s hardly the vets fault if they found pyometra when they operated. I have had one that had been under the care of my vet for months, regular bloods and antibiotics and under investigation for a skin disorder and it was only by chance that my vet did an ultrasound (because it had been requested by our skin specialist) that he discovered she had pyometra. She had no symptoms.

I’ve had 3 with pyometra spays and 2 with regular spays and there was little or no difference in cost or aftercare. One of the 2 with a regular spay had discharge post surgery, as did 1 of the pyometra emergency spays.
 

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I would have thought if they had found she had pyometra when they did the procedure they would surely have told you?
 

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I would have thought if they had found she had pyometra when they did the procedure they would surely have told you?
I think the bottom line (it seems to me) is whether the insurance will pay. If they did a scheduled spay and found pyometra then it’s a scheduled spay and no cover. If it was a pyo spay (aka a treatment or emergency situation) the insurance will cover.

Discharge from vulva is relatively normal post spay and weeping wounds, well, that’s either down to the skill of the surgeon or aftercare by the owner or just bad luck. Neither, in my experience, can be put down to whether the dog had pyo or not.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi, thanks all for your replies. All very helpful. Her spay was elective however she developed some behaviours before the date of the surgery that I thought might be early season or phantom pregnancy an infection didn't enter my mind. I brought these concerns to the attention of the vet,they examined her and said she was ok to be operated on for the spay surgery. I picked her up that day and was told all went well. Almost immediately started having problems and as a rather neurotic new single father I called the surgery and raised my concerns. The vet who did the surgery said she was a "nasty" case as when they opened her she had a lot of infection. Told me to keep an eye on the leaking. I called back again due to the leaking being constant and explained and the receptionist organised for the vet to call me back however she checked my girls' medical notes and again stated "all went well". So I guess the insurance is one issue but my other concern is why they didn't record that she had pyometra on the notes and why they didn't inform me when I collected her that potentially her recovery may be more difficult due to what they found. I'd expect her medical notes to be full and factual. If her recovery went well but something were to develop later I'd have no record of her infection. Seems ethically wrong not to inform the owner as how am I supposed to give the best care I can if I don't have all the facts. If something became an ongoing issue that requires medication I'd find it hard to prove if her medical notes aren't correct or am I overthinking this?
Thanks again
 

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I think you need to get written confirmation from your vet that she did have pyometra to forward on to the insurance company. It may be that they will pay for any ongoing treatment, but will not pay for an elective spay operation.
 

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I think you need to get written confirmation from your vet that she did have pyometra to forward on to the insurance company. It may be that they will pay for any ongoing treatment, but will not pay for an elective spay operation.
It was an elective spay as the OP stated and that will not alter with the fact they found pyo. No insurance company will pay out unless the vet “doctors” the notes to say it was an emergency spay, which it wasn’t. Doing so would be fraud. It’s a sad fact that insurance companies will do anything to get out of paying any claim but acting fraudulently is simply not worth the risk, especially as there will be records of appointments made, surgery booked in, follow up procedures. I’d concentrate on getting the pup well.
 

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It was an elective spay as the OP stated and that will not alter with the fact they found pyo. No insurance company will pay out unless the vet “doctors” the notes to say it was an emergency spay, which it wasn’t. Doing so would be fraud. It’s a sad fact that insurance companies will do anything to get out of paying any claim but acting fraudulently is simply not worth the risk, especially as there will be records of appointments made, surgery booked in, follow up procedures. I’d concentrate on getting the pup well.
When I've had treatment in the past, if they found something that required further treatment because of a previously undetected problem they have let me claim for it. But that's going back a few years now as I don't have insurance. My understanding was that the elective part of treatment wouldn't be able to be claimed, but the further treatment and costs resulting from the pyometra might well be claimable, hence suggesting the OP ask his vet for written clarification. It will depend on the insurance policy and terms and conditions but might be worth trying if they wanted to go down that route.
 

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But how can they identify what additional treatment was due to pyometra? As you know, I’ve had more than my share of experience with pyo and, from what the OP has said, all the things they’ve experienced could easily occur with an elected spay too. All the more difficult if the vet hasn’t even noted that the dog had pyometra.


The recovery and aftercare for a dog with a pyo spay (for me) was exactly the same as an elective spay. I’ve had 2 elected spays and 3 pyo spays. 🤷🏼‍♀️
 

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But how can they identify what additional treatment was due to pyometra? As you know, I’ve had more than my share of experience with pyo and, from what the OP has said, all the things they’ve experienced could easily occur with an elected spay too. All the more difficult if the vet hasn’t even noted that the dog had pyometra.


The recovery and aftercare for a dog with a pyo spay (for me) was exactly the same as an elective spay. I’ve had 2 elected spays and 3 pyo spays. 🤷🏼‍♀️
That would be for the insurance company to decide, they may decide none of it is covered by the insurance, depends on the input from the vet I would have thought.
 
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