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My little dog has died on 14/12/12 bleeding to death just two hours after I have brought him home from a routine biopsy on his thorax. He was tightly wrapped in a pressure bandage and I could not see that he was bleeding to death as the padding under the bandage was very thick. When I went to collect him my vet said that he was fine his blood result were good he was just slightly anemic and the lump on his thorax was just filled with fluid and some blood. After hearing that all was good you can imagine my shock when he just died 2 hours later. Next morning I took his body to different vet and had him send to Royal College for post mortem. I also obtained from the first vet his blood results and was horrified to see that his platelets count was only 14. His blood had no ability to clot. The vet never double checked this. She put it down to platelets clumping, however the idexx lab machine instructions clearly say that abnormal platelets count MUST be double checked before any surgery. RCVS do not think that this was negligent enough to class as professional misconduct and closed my complaint. RCVS . The only way forward to proof wrongdoing is to take veterinary practice to court. Many people think I do not stand any chance against a vet. Any opinions on that ?
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First of all i would like to say I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your little dog.

I am shocked that the RCVS don't consider this serious enough to warrant further action. Did they give you an explanation of why they closed the case? I understand that they have to give you the reasons. Have you appealed against the decision? I also understand that if your case is closed you are entitled to ask for it to be re-assessed
I don't know much about court action, but if you don't get any further with the RCVS it might be worth getting some legal advice. From you description of the circumstances, it sounds to me like you have a case for negligence. The citizens advice bureau might be a starting point.
I am in the process of making a complaint to the RCVS about a vet, and whilst people are supportive, many don't think I have much chance of getting anywhere. I think there is a general perception that it is difficult to challenge a vets actions. This needs to change.
I don't know your personal situation, but If you can get some friends or relatives to support you it would be a big help. I think people need to make a stand against vets otherwise nothing will change. That is why I'm making a complaint.
Sorry if I've rambled a bit.
Please let us know how you get on.
Thank you for reply. I am glad that somebody else is willing to make a stand against vets. At present they are untouchable being protected by RCVS and their big layers. Their explanation why they closed my case was to radiculous for words. Basically my vet said that she has made her clinical judgment on the basis of empty blood stained syringe that she used to take the sample and blood in that syringe clotted fine. The fact is blood behaves differently when cut into tissue. They also said that there was no evidence of clotting issues on the physical examination. The fact is the dog with low platelets count doesn't always show any signs if bleeding is internal . This is their bottom line quote "The decision to proceed with surgery would have been a matter of clinical judgment,based on the presentation of Max and the other information that was reasonably available to the veterinary surgeons. It is important to note that the RCVS in not able to pursue complaints that relate to a possible error in clinical judgment unless they are of such severity that they amount to serious professional misconduct, affecting fitness to practice." What this means that if vet lets say was done for drinking and driving (professional misconduct) he would be suspended but if he kills my dog that is OK by them. They gave me 14 days to appeal but only if I had further or new relevant information. Well yes I did appeal, long story but after 8 months of waiting this also didn't get me anywhere. In my reply to RCVS I said that I found it astonishing that senior veterinary surgeon(the case examiner)of the RCVS thinks that making a clinical judgment by looking at the empty blood-stained syringe when animal life is at stake is appropriate and adequate treatment and if that what RCVS teaches our future vets that God help our animal companions and their owners. I am now waiting for forensic vet report that should be ready on 11th Nov.
May I ask what happened to you that you are making complaint to RCVS?
I find it amazing that your vet would even admit that they used an empty blood stained syringe to make a clinical judgement. It's beyond belief that RCVS thinks that's OK. I also know where you're coming from when the RCVS thinks other issues, such as drink driving, count as professional misconduct but bad treatment of animals doesn't. To me drink driving is a criminal matter and should be dealt with in that context. It doesn't seem to me that it would automatically make them a bad vet.
The complaint I am making is about the treatment of my cat (and me) when I took my cat to be put to sleep. He had terminal cancer. I was literally only in the consultation room for a couple of minutes, there was no consultation beforehand, no sedative was given to my cat who was struggling and growling and I was rushed out afterwards. The vet didn't even bother to check for a heartbeat afterwards. I had to choose what to do with his body without being given any details of the cost/details of the various options, so I left with no idea what my final bill would be. It felt like I was an inconvenience and he was doing me a favour.
There is also an issue about my cat having an operation (for an unrelated problem) a couple of weeks before he was diagnosed with cancer, where the vet noted a significant weight loss and took enough blood to do tests for thyroid problems before doing the operation. I knew my cat had lost weight but didn't know how much. I was a bit concerned but thought it might just be age related. I believe the weight loss should have been investigated before putting him through an operation. I wasn't told the weight loss could be a sign of a major problem until after the operation had been done. Then the weight loss turned out to be because he had cancer and he was pts just over 2 weeks later. I feel like I took my cat to the vet for their professional knowledge/treatment and he ended up being given a pointless operation. Did they just do it to make money ? (£300). I know I won't get very far with this issue though. so I am focusing my complaint on the euthanasia treatment.
Anyway, I will let you know what happens with my complaint. Please let us know the results of your forensic vet report - if that's OK with you.
Take Care
What had happened to you when your cat was put to sleep is awful. This is most stressful and dreaded time that we animal companion's owners have to face at some point. The way your vet acted is unforgivable, but I would not focus your complaint on this. I once read most dreadful account of dog owner when the vet arrived at her home to euthanasia her injured dog and I cried it was that bad how he went about it. Her complaint to RCVS fell on deaf ears . However if I were you I would very much focus on the operation your cat had prior to being diagnosed with cancer. They did pre-op blood test and a lot can be learned from this test.They are not difficult for lay-observes like us to read. If you are going to make complaint to RCVS you must get all your cat's clinical records and most especially his blood test results. They cannot refuse you this.
The loss of weight in your cat is one of the symptoms of thyroid problem and also cancer however thyroid is first treated with drugs and not operated on first diagnoses. Has your cat been on drugs to stabilise his condition for some time before the op? How did they diagnose cancer? through an other blood test? and what cancer did he have? You will be able to get answers to these questions once you get all you cat's records. I will tell you how when you do get them. Trust me without doing this just your words on complaint form to RCVS will be waste of time. I have a strong feeling that your cat's thyroid op was just to make money and to put already sick animal through that is just horrible.
Get these records and I will help you as much as I can. After 10 months of research I have learned quite a bit.
Hi Candice,
Thanks for your reply. I think I've confused you a bit in my last reply. What happened with my cat was that he went for an operation to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from the end of his nose. He had the op - which was actually done by a different vet to the one that saw him at the pre-op consultation (I didn't know it was done by a different vet until afterwards & I don't have a problem with this vet as he works for the other one & was probably just following instructions). It was after the op that I was informed the weight loss was significant and told it could be a thyroid problem. Enough blood had been taken pre-op to check for a thyroid problem. This test was done and was negative. It was then that I was told to monitor his weight and if he kept losing weight scans could be done. He had a follow up appointment a couple of days after his op and had put on a little weight. I now think this might be because he had painkillers for 4 days after the op and was eating a bit more. However it was only a couple of weeks after this that he started having real problems breathing He then had a chest x-ray and was found to have lung cancer..My opinion is that the op shouldn't have been done if they felt the weight loss was significant enough to warrant a thyroid test. Surely they should have investigated the weight loss first if they thought there was a problem - any problem. Also, once lung cancer was diagnosed the vet initially told me my cat wasn't in pain, but a couple of days later said he could have a steroid injection to help with inflammation and give pain relief. This was very confusing and now I think the poor cat must have been in pain and could have had pain relief earlier. I think when you take your pet to the vet you are paying for their expertise and guidance. I'm going to put all of this into my complaint. I have got the clinical records from the vet which back up my order of events. I do want to put what happened during the euthanasia procedure in my complaint as well because I think that the way the vet behaved was appalling. To be honest I'm really not very optimistic about getting very far with the RCVS, but I feel I've got to do this anyway.
I hope I've explained what happened a bit more clearly.
Thank you for helping. I really appreciate it.
Anonymous.My opinion is that the op shouldn't have been done if they felt the weight loss was significant enough to warrant a thyroid test. Surely they should have investigated the weight loss first if they thought there was a problem - any problem.
I absolutely agree with you. Why putting your cat through all this pain and stress and investigate for further problems (which his significant weight loss proved he had) afterwards ? The answer is perhaps in that £300 you paid them for the op. This is not even negligence It is just putting money before animal welfare which I think far worse. In my opinion you should make a complaint about it and the treatment during euthanasia. Yes you right you won't get very far with RCVS but at least you will rattle your vet's cage. Emotion: smile .
Hi Candice,
Thank you for your support. It really helps to know that other people understand. I am working on my complaint and I'll let you know when I've sent it. Please keep us informed on here about how you get on with your case.
Hi Candice,
How are you? I was wondering how you got on with the forensic vet report. Has it been of help to you? - I hope so.
It would be good to hear from you. Take care