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VCA Animal Hospitals / they turned my choking dog away

1 United States Review updated:
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My dog was at home chewing a rawhide when we noticed that she started to choke on it. We opened her mouth and could see the rawhide but when we tried to get out we couldn't because it was lodged so tightly in. Our dog was having a hard time breathing. My wife put her in the car and was rushing her to the vet who is only a few minutes away and is the closest animal hospital to us. I stayed behind with a much shaken up 7 year old and called the vet and explained what was happening and that they would be there soon. I thought that way they could be ready. I was told by the evening manager Sarah that they wouldn't see my dog because they didn't have any appointments left for the day. I told her that it was an emergency, my dog was having problems breathing and she told me again they wouldn't see her. She then tried to refer me to another VCA hospital 30 minutes away. I again told her that my dog was choking and was having a hard time breathing...thinking she must not understand this was an emergency. That my dog wouldn't make it the other VCA hospital that it was too far away. She told me she understood this but they still wouldn't see my dog. I was so upset I hung up the phone. I told this woman no less than 6 times my dog was choking and having a hard time breathing and she kept telling me they wouldn't see her. My wife decided to go there anyway and demand that they treat our dog. Luckily as she was getting her out of the car she coughed it up.

Aside from the obvious what concerns me is: How does someone who works at a vet turn away an animal in an obvious crisis? And yes this hospital is large with multiple vets and able to handle situations like this. Another concern is they told me to take her to another VCA hospital 30 minutes away when about 15 minutes from there was a pet emergency hospital. They know about this hospital because the vet used to be one of a few in our area that took turns working there at night before he sold out to VCA.

When we called back to speak with the vet we were told we couldn't speak with him. Sarah also told us that it was their protocol to send clients to the other VCA even in an emergency situation like ours. Not to send them to a non VCA emergency hospital. How is this right? We were also told had we just showed up they would have assessed our dog. Even though on the phone we were told they wouldn't treat her. So our response was so we shouldn't call you to give you a heads up we should just come in. The woman just laughed. I thank god that our dog was able to cough it up on her own because in the confusion created by Sarah at VCA our innocent dog could have died all because VCA is greedy and there staff obviously doesn't put animals lives first.

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  • We
      22nd of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Amazing isn't it. I once saw a dog get hit by a car right outside of a vets office. It was suffering terribly. I ran inside and begged someone to help. At least put it down and I would pay for the shot. They completely ignored me. I went back out and sat with the dog. It took it 15 minutes to die and it was in pain all that time. Made me sick.

  • Pz
      24th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    As I write, we are dealing with an ill dog hospitalized in our local VCA. I have found the office staff friendly and compassionate, but the VCA culture one of greed. Of the four days our pet has been in the hospital system we have spent more time discussing estimates and fees than the actual condition of our dog. Additionally, we have to call to obtain status updates as we rarely receive calls when they are due and when contact is made we encounter stories regarding the incredible work load and more critical patients in the hospital. Reviews of diagnostics are delayed as the meter continues to run for daily itemized fees.
    As a scientific services business professional, I understand that my clients do not care how busy our personnel are or how understaffed, they expect the best service and responsiveness (i.e., to be treated as if they are our only customer.) Apparently, VCA does not understand this, train their staff appropriately or does not care. After all, vulnerable families are the core of their customer base and do not have many options for advanced veterinary care.
    I do not mind paying premium fees for premium service, but are receiving subpar service. In the end, I hope that the competent and compassionate staff we have experienced will have some positive effect on this company.

  • Bi
      7th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    I go both ways on VCA. I know the one with 'sheer heart' was pretty good.
    Other VCAs Ive regretted ever going.

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