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Veterinary Malpractice

Veterinary Malpractice is the number 1 cause of harm to companion animals (quote from the ISAR).
 
Pet owners don't know this because the problem is hidden.  The press seldom covers it and the veterinary industry covers it up.
 
In fact, in spite of the fact that veterinary malpractice is the #1 cause of harm to companion animals, veterinarians are consistently ranked by the public as one fo the most honest and trustworthy professions.  A look behind the veil of secrecy shows otherwise.
 
Malpractice takes many forms including:
 
  • Outright abuse:  hitting, deliberately injuring or killing animals in their care.  (Did you know that practicing veterinarians are exempt from animal cruelty laws in most states?)
  • Unnecessary and even experimental surgeries, procedures, and drug regimens, often without owner knowledge or consent.
  • Failure to take the necessary steps to achieve an accurate diagnosis, sometimes resulting in wrong and even contraindicated treatments with serious consequences, up to and including death
  • The widespread use of unqualified, untrained or inadequately trained and unlicensed staff to perform medical functions, such as anesthetic induction and monitoring, administration of drugs, and other invasive procedures
  • Failure to provide your pet with the "standard of care" including failure to adequately treat disease.  This may also include failure to do bloodwork (pre-anesthetic screening) before surgery, failure to check for drug interactions, use of improper or old x-ray machines and other diagnostic equipment that do not yield any useful information
  • Unsanitary conditions that can lead to infections including MRSA
  • Incompetence, such as failure to suture properly after a spay resulting in internal hemmorhaging
  • Negligence, such as failure to monitor a patient who is recovering from surgery, or leaving a critically ill animal alone overnight
  • Failure to refer a pet to a specialist when the pet's medical problems are beyond the vets clinical abilities (such as failing to refer to an experienced specialist for a type of surgery that the vet has never or rarely performed before, and doing the surgery themselves)
  • Medical errors such as those committed in human medicine
  • Failure to disclose to the pet owner risks associated with procedures or drugs
  • Failure to provide adequate or accurate instructions to the pet owner

Each year in each state, many veterinarians are disciplined by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine for such violations.  Yet, for every vet who is disciplined approximately 9 more have had complaints filed against them by distressed, often grieving owners, only to have their cases dismissed by these boards, made up of veterinary cronies.   Moreover, in those few cases where State Boards do take action, the results are rarely publicized, and the pet owning public remains dangerously unaware of the dangerous vets in their midst.  Most states do not make vets' disciplinary histories public on the web, and those that do often seem to go out of their way to make it hard to find, access, or understand. 

Aside from the State Vet Boards, the only other recourse for these aggrieved individuals and their pets is the courts.  But bringing a veterinary malpractice lawsuit is out of economic reach for most pet owners, and few lawyers have experience in bringing these kinds of cases.

The Companion Animal Protection Alliance was formed in part to help make the public aware of the problem of veterinary malpractice and to push for reform of a system that does not protect our pets .

...to be continued