Make Veterinarians Accountable for Murdering our Companions
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I am calling upon the Canadian Veterinary Association to consider following the Canadian Medical Association's model and offer programs for vets to become specialized in administering general anesthesia, and performing surgeries. They should also be prohibited from dispensing medication, which should be dispensed by a pharmacist.
Sometime in 2015 my dog, Batman, slipped while playing fetch and hurt his shoulder. Over the years his condition worsened. He saw many veterinarians, but none were able to fix his shoulder. He was prescribed a list of many different medications, which grew over time. Little did I know that they were not helping but rather worsening his health. I voiced my concern to the slew of vets that were taking care of my Batman, but I was repeatedly told that they were helping and that he'd be fine. One week before his death, one of the veterinarians suggested giving Batman a cortisone shot for his shoulder. I'm not sure why this wasn't suggested earlier. This doctor insisted that he should take yet another pain medication, in addition to the other three that he was taking. I refused, but he insisted. I jokingly said "do you get a cut from the sales" and everyone in the waiting room at the clinic laughed. I trusted in the doctor’s professional judgement. Batman’s cortisone shot was scheduled for the following week. During those seven days he couldn't eat properly or drink enough water. When I called the clinic to ask for help I was told to increase his dose of medications. Meanwhile Batman was crying from being over medicated, not from being in pain. He kept on walking into the walls. When I brought him for his cortisone shot on Friday, he kept on walking under the chair & walking up to the wall and staying there. When I asked his vet about this, she was not concerned and assured me that Batman was just dopey from the medication. And yet, they continued to give him more drugs! I was frustrated by this, as my dog was clearly in distress. I also mentioned to both the doctor and the technicians to please give him an IV because he hadn't eaten all day. They never did, they did not seem to think my concern was valid. When I picked him up the next day, he was extremely disoriented and could hardly walk. Once we got home an hour later, he started to foam at the mouth uncontrollably and his jaw was locked. Extremely alarmed, my daughter and I rushed him to our local emergency animal hospital. The veterinarian there told us that Batman appeared to be overly sedated and he couldn't open his jaw. He stayed there over night on IV. The next day we were told that there was no change in his condition and that he appeared to have gone blind. We were then told that our best bet was to take Batman to the The Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. We rushed him to the airport to go to Saskatoon. In the time that we prepared for our flight, Batman's condition got worse and worse. He kept thrashing around in his kennel in a very unnatural and painful way. We arrived at the airport, but realized that Batman would not make it. We did not get on the plane but instead drove back to the emergency vet hospital and put Batman down to relieve him of the extreme pain and distress he clearly was in. After his death, Batman's vet at his regular clinic said that his pain and untimely death was not due to the overdose of drugs that they gave him, but rather that he had a mysterious neurological condition. Only two days before this there was no mention of any neurological condition, nor did he ever have any sort of illness or complication with his brain throughout his entire life. On March 11th we lost our very best friend and companion due to the lack of knowledge, care, accountability, and professionalism of his veterinarians.
To become a physician in Canada, students are required to obtain a four year undergraduate degree with specific courses and another five years in medicine. If they desire to be specialized in different types of general anesthesia or surgery, that takes anywhere between two to five additional years of schooling. So to become a physician without specialty, it takes about nine years. With specialty, at least eleven years, specializing on one species: human beings. Pharmacists have five to six years of education. The two professionals work as a team to offer the best possible treatment for the patient. According to beadoctor.ca "the journey to becoming a doctor, including an undergraduate degree, a medical degree and residency training, usually takes a minimum of ten years". According to canadianveterinarians.net to become a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) in Canada, six years of university education is required (seven years in Quebec). Less schooling is required even though they must study and learn about different species (cats, dogs, etc). How can six years of school make the veterinarian doctors ready and confident to diagnose, treat patients, perform surgeries, administer general anesthesia, and most importantly dispense medications without a pharmacists involvement?
The reason I am sharing my story is because I have now realized that my experience is not unique. I have talked to many friends and acquaintances about Batman's death and they have shared their own similar stories. Our four-legged family members should not have to suffer the consequences of their medical care-giver's incompetence. The purpose of this petition is to prevent future mistakes that are made by veterinarians across Canada. Batman was not just a pet. Losing him is like losing my best friend, my companion, my son. I feel betrayed by his health care professionals. I want to make sure what happened to our family will never happen to anyone else. I want his tragic death to save others. My complaint is not only against one clinic. It is a systemic problem that exists nation wide.
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