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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Paying the price for an uninformed decision

I always enjoy reading your magazine and wonder if you can help me.

Quite recently we sadly had to have our 11-year-old Westie put to sleep.

She had dermatitis on and off for almost four years and was prescribed steroid tablets, and in the last months, injections. She became very poorly and I was as she had been given steroids long term it had brought on diabetes.  At no time was I ever told this would happen. Perhaps there was no alternative to steroid treatment?

I do feel more information should be given by the vet to the owner about this problem, and that by not asking questions that I have let her down.

Please can you give me any information about this problem?

Many thanks.


Barbara Beard, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

Alison Logan, vet, advises...

Your vet would have been fully aware of the problems which can occur with long-term steroid treatment. Westie skin disease can become so difficult to manage that steroid treatment is the only way to offer some relief. I would imagine your vet had tried all manner of treatments before resorting to steroids, which would have been kept to as low a dose as possible to control the skin disease to minimize side effects.

Treatment is often a matter of weighing up the positive and negative effects, with the overall aim of improving and maintaining the patient’s welfare. Indeed, it may be that, without the steroid treatment, you may have made the decision to part with her sooner because of her skin disease.

I do not think that you let your Westie down by not asking your vet more questions. Your vet was acting in your dog’s best interest, and would have told you as much as you needed to know.

My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

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