Abusive veterinary, what are your rights and what can you do?

cat_catheter.jpgIn what will be a two part post, I intend on giving some advice to those that have endured serious issues with their veterinary. In light of what happened to Melanie the other day, I thought it would be interesting to review what her options are.

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For those of you who might have missed what happened the other day. Here are the highlights:

  • Melanie noticed that her cat Neo was urinating outside of his litter box.
  • Concerned that there may be an issue, she was forced to bring her cat Neo to a new vet due to the fact her old vet (the vet that I use) had moved his offices far away from her home.
  • While at the new vet's office, (Dr. John Mollard of the Richmond Hill Veterinary Clinic) the doctor inserted a catheter in Neo's private parts without using an anesthetic. Not only did he not use an anesthetic but according to Melanie's account, he was quite proud of the fact that he could perform the torturous procedure without the anesthetic.
  • So to be clear. This is initial blog post that I intend on following up with after I get some returned phone calls from the appropriate authorities.

    On a side note, according to the a pet owner's survey taken in 2004 by the American Animal Hospital, respondents were asked "Who listens to you best?" an astounding 45% of individuals said that their pets listened to them more compared to 30% that said their spouse listens to them more. I bring this point up because I think this demonstrates the importance a lot of people place with their pets. Pets are a member of our family and no one wants to see a family member tortured.

    Getting back to my point now. According to my brief research, there are a few options in Ontario with regards to reporting an abusive veterinary, these options are probably (but not necessarily) similar to most states and other countries but you'll have to research that for yourself. What I can tell you is that the best place to start would be with the governing veterinary medical association in your region. In Ontario, the governing body for veterinaries is the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. Filing a formal complaint with the president or executive director within your local veterinary medical association is a very good way to start the process of reporting a specific incident.

    If you intend on going down this path, I would advise you to make accurate notes of the incident shortly after it happened. We all know what happens to memory with time. Secondly, I would save a copy of the receipt that you used to pay for the treatment. The receipt is important because it should show the procedures performed on your pet.

    Without being a doctor, what I can tell you is that the lack of anesthesia being used in certain circumstances is a hot button within the veterinary community. I found no shortage of examples of vets in the United States and in Canada that had their veterinary licenses revoked for performing procedures that did not allow the anesthesia to take full effect or for not using enough anesthesia. The fact that Dr. John Mollard freely admits to not using anesthesia for what is clearly a painful procedure is very concerning. Again, I'm not a doctor and I'm not a lawyer but this situation presented itself to me and I intend on finding out more information about what you can do to protect yourself from a bad vet.

    It's very interesting to note that (according to my research) there are a lot of bad veterinaries that avoid using anesthesia or don't fully understand the time required for the drug to take effect. As I've advised before, take the time to get to know your vet and ask questions particularly for any invasive procedure. The best vets will take the time to explain procedures to you, the worse ones (like Dr. John Mollard) tend to be more reticent of what exactly they're going to be doing to your pet.

    Within the next day or two, I'll be speaking to a board member within the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and I'll report my findings to you.


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