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Old 07-22-2008, 12:27 AM
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A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

I'm not sure this is the appropriate place to post this, but I just have to put it somewhere. My best friend calls me this morning, hysterical, crying, telling me that her conure has just been shut in a door. He had been flying after a guest in the home who freaked out and tried to run into another room and accidentally caught Sunny in the door. Needless to say, it was very bad. We rushed him to the nearest avian vet with hazard lights on as fast as we could. The vet comes into the exam room and rather than let my friend get the severely traumatized Sunny out of his travel cage herself, takes a towel and wrestles with him until he gets him out. This was very fast, we are too shocked to stop him, which is my fault I know, I should have done something. He gets him out and looks him over for about 15 seconds and states that his beak is broken, skull fractured and fluid/blood filling up his air sac, and he has lost an eye. He states he will put him in an oxygen tank but it is likely that he won't make it. He is edging towards the door with Sunny as he tells us this. My friend has to stop him to ask if Sunny is suffering because she does not want him to go through pain/suffering if he cannot be saved. The doctor says he is and that the best thing to do is to put him down. He was not going to offer this option at first. My friend then tells him, through her tears, that we need to put him to sleep. The vet says ok, he will go get the shot. My friend states that she wants to hold him and tell him goodbye while this happens. The vet is gone for about 45 seconds, comes back with the shot, takes Sunny from my friend, and literally stabs the needle into Sunny. It was not the peacful exit into sleep we expected. Sunny cried & cried and I will never, ever forget that sound. My friend did get him back from the vet before he passed, which only took seconds, but it was the most shocking, heartless euthanisia I've ever heard of. Not because it broke our hearts and this vet was completely lacking in bedside manner, but because I truly believe he hurt Sunny when he did it. I was appalled. And now I am just sick that I stood by and didn't say anything to him. We paid the bill, took Sunny and left. But we have discussed it since then and cannot believe how it happened. I am kicking myself for not being a better human on Sunny's behalf and for not being a better friend at a time when my friend was too stunned to function. I have kept Sunny during every vacation my friend has taken and any other time she needed me to. I was with her when she bought him when he was just a baby. I loved the little fellow too. I guess I just wanted to know if anyone has any experience with ever having to have a parrot put to sleep and hear any suggestions on what I should do from here. I just cannot bear the thought of this happening to the next person or parrot who has to use this vet. Euthanasia is a gut wrenching decision as it is, this was just the worst outcome I could have imagined. Thanks for listening.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:39 AM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

Sorry for your loss, and for your and sunny's suffering.

Have you spoken to the vet since then? I doubt you will get very far if you go in with accusations, but if you go in expressing how traumatic it was for the two of you he will hopefully take the time to talk. Perhaps the vet did behave inappropriately and you should be able to confront him on that. However you must also be able to question your own perceptions. You were undoubtedly agitated and scared. If the vet could see this he may have felt that he needed to take action for Sunny first, then figure out how to explain the details for you.

As far as dealing with what is now. There are many services now for pets who have passed away - memorials, burial/crematory services... It seems you may have been close to sunny, but your friend may have been much closer. Parrot's are life long companions, much more like having a child than a pet. Mourning their loss can be extremely difficult, and made more difficult by the fact that most people (who do not have birds) cant understand the significance.

If your friend hasn't made plans for something for Sunny it may be good for you to bring it up. If she has, encourage her; as other people may not get it. Her friends or coworkers may not see it as any worse than loosing a fish (though this shows my bias against fish.) Make sure she knows its healthy to mourn sunny in the same way one might mourn a family member.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:18 PM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

i am soooo sorry to hear of the tradgedy and the loss for both you and your friend.
i think the previous reply is bang on, and there are things to think about before possibly approaching the vet to discuss what happened.
although a vets primary concern should always be the patient they are dealing with much loved pets and if theres a chance of possibly saving they often offer that route before broaching the euthanasia option.
as you were both stressed and upset its possible he took over and handled sunny to get him out the box thinking it was the best thing to do or to try and prevent more pain than neccessary in handling.
please dont think im standing up for the vet here, it was obviously a very traumatic experience for all. im thinking back to when i lost my beloved little dog a short while back, and i know how i felt.
once again i am sooo sorry for your loss and i hope the questions in your mind over it get put to rest. i had some over my dog which were answered (but this isnt the time to talk about that) so i know how important it is to resolve them.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:12 PM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

I'm sorry about your loss.

I've never experienced a bird being euthanized (and I hope I never do) but I have had other pets put to sleep. We've had to make that decision for 2 ferrets, 2 dogs, and just recently a cat (not all the same vet). I can tell you that for every single one the vet has been very gentle, explained EVERYTHING, and took it at our own pace. Sometimes they even go through it too slowly because ours were never emergency injuries and we had made up our minds about it and didn't want to drag it out any longer. For the dogs and ferrets, they gave two injections in an IV. The first was one to put the animal to sleep without stopping the heart/breathing. The second injection stops the heart. It was really like the animal had fallen asleep. For the cat, it was a little different. They gave an IM injection to sedate her into a deep sleep and waited 10 minutes. Then the vet came back with a large needle and made an injection into the area around her heart. That was a little disturbing to watch just because it was such a big needle but my cat felt no pain. Every single vet asked us if we wanted to spend more time with our pet before and after.

I know birds are a different species so they probably can't do the same technique they use on mammals but you'd think there would be some way for the vet to at least sedate the bird so it isn't so traumatic.

One thing you can do is contact your state veterinary board and find out if this is appropriate and if you should file a complaint against the vet. A vet that causes severe and unnecessary pain to an animal shouldn't be allowed to practice.

Julie
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:47 PM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

Awww....I am sooo sorry Mdog. Lots of love from the forum!
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:24 PM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

So sorry to hear what happened. I have never had to euthanize one of my birds. Good luck in what you plan on doing with this vet.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:57 AM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

i'm so sorry there are many heartless vets out there I know from personal expereince. I can't even imagine.
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:42 PM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

My deepest condolences on what happened. Sadly it will likely haunt you for a very long time. The images, memories and guilt have got to be horrible.
But it was an accident. Most likely from the initial impact Sunny was in a state of shock that kept him from feeling alot of the pain and the fear. Its natures way. In the wild conures are preyed upon by a number of predators and if the predator is young and inexperienced the death can be ugly and prolonged. I truly believe that when such a traumatic injury is sustained the bird loses most of its consiousness almost immediately.
You and your friend dont have that. You will relive the disaster over and over. I'm sorry. I carry similar memories. It hurts like hell.
You will say to yourself, "If only......." a million times.
As far as the aparently heartless vet, remember that you and your friend were very sensitive at the time. You wanted to protect Sunny from any further hurt. Although the vet was quick and callous there was no happy ending to be had. Almost every vet I've ever known has been a true animal lover. They see death way too often.
The three of you will be in my prayers tonite.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:30 PM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

So sorry for your loss......
I have had a similar sad story such as yours.
Take all the time you need to mourn.......
REMEMBER ALL THE GOOD TIMES.......
Be Strong
My prayers are with you
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:38 PM
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Re: A Horrible Accident, A Horrible Decision to Make

I too had something like this event with a kitten that had a malformed liver. I will never forget the way the vet handled the supposed "gentle death" process. It is very traumatic when it happens from an accident and we tend to make decisions quickly. I wrote a letter to the organization that the vet worked for and to this day will never return to him. We feel the loss and hope for a recovery free of anger and pain. SB
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