VCA Animal Hospital / suspected veterinary malpractice
The VCA hospital I am complaining against is located in a state in the southwestern United States, and that is the only location information I wish to disclose. I was a long-time customer, bringing in several pets for about a decade, being loyal to one doctor there. I made the mistake of completely trusting them with my pets' care. I can't say too much about the one experience that has turned me against this practice, because I MAY eventually want to take legal action against them. One of our pets died as a result of complications with anesthesia after dental surgery. I'm not sure they hire the most skilled vet techs who work behind the scenes doing the dental work that is supposedly supervised by the doctor in charge. Like most veterinary practices, they push very hard for pet parents to buy dental cleaning and tooth extractions (if needed). Yet, I feel they don't adequately explain the risk of the anesthesia associated with the dental cleaning, which is, in fact, a surgery, with all the complications of surgery. The dental cleanings under anesthesia are spoken of in a matter-of-fact fashion, as if it's a procedure with minimal risk. Actually, it's a very risky procedure because the animal is under full anesthesia, and the vet techs handle a good portion of the procedure; that's the way it was explained to me by a doctor AFTER my pet was already hospitalized with severe complications that later caused its death. Had I known a vet tech (who is supposedly a licensed professional with special training/certification in anesthetic techniques and dental procedures) would probably be the one doing most of the work, AND NOT THE DOCTOR, I would NOT have elected this procedure that was strongly encouraged by the doctors at this practice. The vet in charge will not admit any wrongdoing or on the part of his technician who performed the bulk of the dental work. He would only say that he himself performed the extractions and that he monitored his vet tech's actions the entire time my pet was in surgery. He would not admit who was responsible for inserting the breathing tube, but he explained enough for me to infer from the conversation that his assistant was the one who intubated our pet. Now, our pet is dead, and I have read that it is almost useless to file a veterinary malpractice lawsuit, esp. in the state of TX, which has a poor record of defending pet parents who suffered a pet loss due to negligence. Negligence is hard to prove in this state and elsewhere in the USA. Make no mistake, many vets are only in practice for the money and very few pet parents actually lodge a complaint. Many complaints are dismissed by the state, and you can't even get the state board to say whether a complaint against a particular dr has been submitted. Only if a vet has been investigated and been formally disciplined can you, the consumer and pet owner, find this information out. My family learned these painful truths after we went through much grief over the wrongful death of our beloved pet. I hope my truthfullness in this review will help someone make a more informed decision about choosing a vet and will empower someone to fully investigate all the risks associated with any veterinary procedure that is suggested.
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