VETERINARIAN ETHICS (or lack thereof!)

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VETERINARIAN ETHICS (or lack thereof!)

Post by John Seiber » Fri, 26 Jul 1996 04:00:00

   My wife and I are currently involved in a battle with a Veterinarian that through his
wonderfully competent care basically killed our beloved 6 year old Terrier TooTles. We
have filed a complaint with The Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine (really just a
farce of a governing body!), there initial results were to find the Vet (by consent)
guilty of "Unprofessional Conduct" specifically "below the standard of care" a violation
of the Louisiana Veterinary Practice Act. The entire story of what happened is much to
long and detailed to post here but I can assure you that it was the most emotional
wrenching event of our lives, if you would like to read the whole story just drop us a
note and I will be glad to send you a copy via E-mail or Snail Mail.
   The purpose of this post is to let it be known that the Louisiana Veterinary Practice
Act is a document that is so full of loopholes that it is practically useless. It has
little to no rules that address ethics, and those that are addressed are almost always
ignored by the Board itself in disciplinary actions. I suppose that could be expected in
a forum that is "Of the Vet, By the Vet, For the Vet".We believe that Nobody in this
world is above reproach and if you do wrong you should pay the price for your
wrongdoing. The Board and Act both speak of routine inspections to be done at clinics
and hospitals(another Farce!) though the director of the Board openly admits that they
are rarely if ever done at all.
    When we speak of changing the Practice Act to close some of the loopholes that are
costing the lives of pets everyday we are told that we are wasting our time that any
changes to the Act will be lobbyed against by the Veterinarians and their respective
Associations. Just what the Hell is going on here, why would honest ethical people not
want a change for  higher standards so that those "Bad Apples" in the field could be
weeded out???
    In our case we had to turn to the internet to get any assistance at all in proving
what was done and not done for TooTles, the local Private Sector Veterinarians stick
together like rats on a sinking ship. The local talk in the Vet community now after the
Board found the Vet guilty of poor standard of care is "Now we have to explain
everything to our clients because of these people". Well folks If you are a caring,
honest professional then you should have been explaining everything to your clients all
along!! Furthermore when lives are at stake there should be no use of "slang terms" or
candy coated explanations, they are deceptive and will be misleading. What happened to
TooTles in a nutshell is that we brought him in for a sore leg(limp), the Vet examined
and told us he would give him a "Sedative" for X-rays, that "Sedative" turned out to be
TELAZOL (a potent dissociative anesthesia). The Vet was aware that he had eaten 3-4
hours earlier but gave him the I.V. injection anyway(non-emergency). TooTles
regurgitated while unconscious, developed Rt. Lung Crepitus (as diagnosed by the Vet 4
hours later), and was sent home with us 8 hours after the injection of TELAZOL breathing
60-70 times per minute. No tests were done by the Vet, only tretment given was a shot of
LASSIX(a diuretic), the Vet swore to us that there was no way he could aspirate and if
any gastric contents entered his lungs he would "hack it up". His explicit and repeated
instructions to us were to just "Leave him alone, all he needs is rest, bring him back
in the morning". He rested all right, after breathing 60-70 times per minute all night,
he slipped into shock around 5 a.m. and died in my arms on the way to the Vets office.
The only explanation the Vet offered was "I don't know. I'll do a necropsy and find
   Like Hell you will was my second thought, right after invisioning my***going
through his head for the suffering that TooTles endured for 17 hours, not to mention
what he had done to my wife and family.
   After the Board released its findings (which ammounted to some form of plea bargain
between them and the Vet, at no time were we allowed to know his responses to our
charges(more Crapola!)) the papers in our area ran a story about the case. In their
story they called it like it was stating "Malpractice" instead of "Unprofessional
Conduct" and "shabby" instead of "poor standard of care", we weren't exactly pleased
with the articles but we didn't write them and had very little input on them, the papers
were in possesion of the official documents (consent order) before they wrote and
published the articles.
   Now the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine is demanding a retraction from the
papers, in their letter to them they state that the storys were written from our point
of view (I wonder why that is, could it be because the Vet and the Board aren't talking
much, too busy sweeping things under the rug I guess!). They also had the nerve to point
out that the cause of death cannot be proven(although they state in the consent order
that it was either aspiration or a drug reation(more KaKa!)and that an autopsy was
offered and refused (No Chit Sherlock, like we would have let the man who killed TooTles
do an autopsy on him after too!). My first though was What a cold-hearted bastard could
have brought that up!
   Well I know I'm rambling on but my point is that the Louisiana Board of Veterinary
Medicine is obviously remiss in its responsibilitys both to the Ethical Vets and to the
Public in general. Their form of discipline even in the most disturbing of cases
ammounts to nothing more than a hand slapping for the offender and a great
disappointment for the victim. We have an appeal hering with them for Aug. 13, 1996, (at
which we are not even allowed to speak!-sounds like Kangaroo Court dosen't it),they
foung him on one violation of the Practice Act, we feel that he violated at least 5
statutes in the Act. The Louisiana Veterinary Practice Act is really a joke, it needs
some serious revision or possibly to be replaced altogether with an Act such as the
California Practice Act. If you must govern you must have good laws to enforce, if you
must enforce you must do so with no tolerance for abuse of the rules. If you can help or
have any ideas or comments please drop us a line. Thanks for taking the time to read
this and please forgive my ramblings.

                                     John & Anne Seibert

                                     Slidell, Louisiana
Quote for July 96'-"Your mind is on Vacation and your Mouth is working Overtime"
                         -Van "TheMan" Morrison

P.S.- Want to know more about us? Visit our homepage at:


VETERINARIAN ETHICS (or lack thereof!)

Post by lisa ker » Tue, 30 Jul 1996 04:00:00

This brings up a point that I want to make because it recently
happened to me, but my animal survived.

Please, have a good relationship with more than just one vet in
your area, or at least keep track of another one that your friends,
relatives, shelter and training contacts, etc. have used with good

If you have an animal with a problem, and the treatments assigned
by your vet just don't seem right to you, and you can't get
answers from your vet that make you feel comfortable, by all
means, seek a second opinion. Vets are humans and make mistakes,
and sometimes a second opinion is in order. Your instincts will
guide you in this matter.

This is not to say that you should keep seeking opinions until
you get one that makes you happy, but if my dog was very ill and my vet
was not showing concern, I might take my dog straight on to a second vet
that I use as well. Go with the insticts you have - that this vet may be
wrong - he just might be.

My very old (28) mare developed an abscess in her hoof a few months ago,
which is rare for her. The regular vet prescribed some normal things, and all
was OK except she was getting worse. Even after a second visit, he had
little else to offer, and his treatments were making her otherwise sick.

Within two weeks, she was unable to stand at all. I called in another vet
I had used that, I felt, had more experience in this area. Turns out my
mare had a broken coffin bone (small bone in the hoof) and an out-of-control
abscess. Nearly required surgery, and we are very lucky we were able to
correct it with a heavy bombardment of ***, as the surgery would have
likely done her in.

In my opinion, I waited too long to call in the second opinion, and
if the broken bone had gone undetected by the first vet for just a little
longer, I would have had to put her down. I could just *tell* that the
first vet was clueless, and you;d think he would admit it and call in
his senior partner, but I was the one who had to step in and say
ENOUGH! Now I pay a little more attention.

If it doesn't feel right to you, seek another opinion. Forget all that
loyalty and trust - you're not being disloyal by seeking another opinion,
and it's your pet's LIFE after all.

And, by the way, if you must visit an emergency clinic with your dog,
get an appointment with your own vet the very next day as a follow up.
They should tell you this, but do it anyway if they don't!



VETERINARIAN ETHICS (or lack thereof!)

Post by LeeK » Wed, 31 Jul 1996 04:00:00


> This brings up a point that I want to make because it recently
> happened to me, but my animal survived.

> Please, have a good relationship with more than just one vet in
> your area, or at least keep track of another one that your friends,
> relatives, shelter and training contacts, etc. have used with good
> success.

Have to admit there can be an advantage to going to a vet who has more than 1
partner, especially if they seem to work well together. My sister and I go to
a vet who knows what he is doing usually. He also usually has a new vet in
his practice who is really a new vet. He also has a 3rd vet who has been
there a while. Admittedly he will not handle certain things, but will refer
to specialists if needed. My sisters very old doxie had cancer and he did not
feel up to operating due to the age of dog, and also fact that dog had had
problems with anesthesia in the past. He referred her to the state's vet
school, and they did surgery, and he did live until a little over 18 years of
age,when arthritis was causing a lot of pain,and with the cancer coming back,
it was just too *** the dog.

The vet also referred me when my dog was quite young for some advanced dental
work.....bottom line is he seems to have a good pipeline into the vet school,
gets the latest in technology info, and will even ask his associates in to
double check his diagnosis on occassion.  Basically I have a dog who does not
like kennels and although she does not normally chew on toys, gummy bones,
etc.....she will very energetically try to chew out of plastic kennels or
wire crates. Her first damage to a tooth was when she got fixed and tried to
chew on the metal kennel bars. Have to admit it is hard to believe a doxie
can actually manage to get enough of her jaw between bars, to chew with her
back teeth. She does not know it yet, but a new kennel will be in her future,
a kennelaire or something which has very little spaces between bars so she
cannot get her jaw in there. She does seem to be doing a little better but I
dont want to risk further injury do to her not liking crate.