Bad Vet Clinic Experience

I want to apologize for this long post but I wanted to share a very unfortunate experience I had with a vet clinic in Seoul (Gangnam) recently. Two months ago, I adopted a beautiful 7 month old Golden Retriever from a shelter in Pohang. The vet clinic I took him to (not the particular doctor who treated my dog) came highly recommended from members of ARK. I’m writing this as a warning to all pet owners to please be vigilant about the treatment recommended by your vet and to seek a second opinion if at all in doubt.

About two weeks after receiving vaccination shots, my dog developed a lump at the vaccination site on his back. Panicked, I immediately took him to the vet and she wanted to keep him overnight and surgically remove the lump the next day. She told me that while the biopsy results wouldn’t come in for 10 days, it was necessary to remove the lump immediately. Along with being neutered, he had his lump removed. The fee for the lump removal was 400,000 won.

Soon after, I discovered that a couple of friends I had had similar lumps develop in their dogs after vaccinations and their vets had recommended no course of action be taken as the lumps would most likely go away on their own, which they did. I called a different vet clinic to see what they generally do in this type of situation and was told that typically, vaccination lumps are not removed as they go away on their own, sometimes months later, so they take a “wait and observe” approach recommending massaging the lump.

I wanted to trust that my dog did not have an unnecessary surgery leaving him with a 6 inch wound and since I’m not a vet, I thought perhaps there was something about my dog’s situation that prompted her to think immediate surgery was necessary. I told the vet about the conversations I had had. She responded with “in small dogs, lumps can be massaged but in big dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, they must be removed immediately (a complete fabricated lie), I informed her that my friends’ dogs were both large breed dogs.

She then says that I didn’t tell her about the injections he had received when in fact, I had told her twice. I even called her less than 5 minutes after I left the clinic to tell her again that he had received shots in the same area because she seemed to dismiss it the first time I told her. She responded “I have considered that already”.

At that time, I thought it could be coincidence that the lumps were at the injection sites but I was really worried and wanted to make sure she had any and all information that might be useful in determining the nature of his lump. When she said that I never told her about the injection she had received, I reminded her of the conversation we had on the phone replaying it word-by-word because it was clear to me that she was trying to squirm her way out of any responsibility. She then tried to absolve herself of the responsibility saying that it really wasn’t her sole decision to do the surgery. It was an unbelievable exchange of untruths and excuses.

Shortly after his surgery, my dog developed an identical lump to the one he had removed by this vet. His new vet confirmed what the other vets had said; that it was a vaccination lump that does not require surgery. However, the area where he had surgery is not healing properly. He developed severe seroma at the surgical site and has had to have 3 drainage tubes inserted because the area has blown up about 15 times the size of his original lump and was filling up with fluid.

We have been going to the vet daily for the last 2 weeks to have it drained. As I wait for him in the waiting area, I hear him crying and yelping in pain. It is now infected and he may have to undergo a third surgery if they can’t get the infection under control. He is now hospitalized. I have so far paid over 800,000 won for pain and suffering the little guy should never have had to deal with in the first place.

Angry and disgusted doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now. Please watch over your pets because while I still believe most vets have the best interest of your animals at heart, I learned the hard way that some don’t or perhaps are not competent enough to do so.

Tags: vet clinics, warning, vaccinations


clare_bell's picture

Ugh!! This is horrible! Yes, my dogs have had the same thing. The vet always tells me to massage the area after vaccinations every day for a week. I hope your baby will get well soon :(

chrisc's picture

Thanks Clare, I appreciate your kind thoughts :)

Karen's picture

Thanks so much for sharing your story as a warning for others. I'm so sorry your dog has had to go through all this.

I wish I knew of a lawyer to recommend so you could discuss a malpractice lawsuit against this vet. It might not be a fight you want to go through right now, but I'd seriously consider presenting the first vet with the current bill you are facing for cleaning up the infection. I really hope your pup won't need to go through another surgery.

chrisc's picture

Hi Karen, thank you :) My past dealings with this vet tell me that anything I present to her will be met with more spun stories and excuses. I've had so many thoughts going through my head these past few weeks about this and I have no idea what to do at this point other than to focus on getting the little guy better. I never met Dr. Choi, the vet who runs this clinic and comes so recommended here on ARK, and am considering going to see him about what has happened to my dog at his clinic. Wowser, what a mess :(

Amanda-n-Leeloo's picture

I'm SO sorry you are dealing with this situation and that your furbaby is suffering as a result. :o(

I would ask your current vet what they recommend in terms of taking action against the previous vet. They may be able to give you some ideas.

chrisc's picture

Amanda, thank you... and my pup thanks you for your thoughts as well :)

linhorobin's picture

I'm so sorry this has happened to you and your pet, and thank you so much for sharing your story! You are handling the situation admirably!

chrisc's picture

linorobin, I was an avid reader of this site long before I actually joined and I was always so impressed with the heartwarming efforts so many members of this site (you included!!) put towards helping and caring for our little friends in need. Thank you so much for your thoughts :)

linhorobin's picture

What a nice thing to say!! The ARK community to pretty amazing alright (you included!!)!

MGE's picture

How terrible! Can you tell me who this vet is? I want to make sure that it isn't the same one I've taken my cat to!

chrisc's picture

Hi MGE, I wasn't sure if putting the name on an open forum was the best thing to do so I thought it might be better to send you the vet's name via private message.