Duty To Treat Animals Depends On State Laws

Disappointingly enough, the duty of an owner to provide medical care to a pet is entirely dependent upon state law.

How many times have you seen a patient with a serious but treatable condition that your client just refused to treat? Have you ever felt that the lack of treatment bordered on cruelty or abuse? The law may agree with you.

Every state in the union has a statute that addresses animal cruelty. Obviously, state laws differ, but at least some of them require some level of veterinary care for animals. Others do not come out and explicitly require veterinary care, but those laws have later been interpreted to require such care by the courts.

In general, there is no duty to help others under the common law. Certain relationships create a duty of care such as that between a parent and minor child. But without some sort of state “good Samaritan” statute, one is legally allowed to walk right by a stranger bleeding to death on the sidewalk.

Similarly, one can, under the common law, ignore the distress of one’s own animal.

Any legal duty to treat an animal thus arises from state law, specifically the state cruelty statute. For example, Minnesota law states that “No person shall overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat, neglect, or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate, or kill any animal, or cruelly work any animal when it is unfit for labor, whether it belongs to that person or to another person.” 

Interestingly, for the purpose of this law, Minnesota defines an animal as “every living creature except members of the human race.” So, not just horses, dogs and cats, but rabbits, mice and, one can only assume, insects and spiders.

This statute does not explicitly state that failure to provide veterinary care is a violation, but a court could certainly construe a lack of veterinary care to fall under the term “neglect.” To the best of my knowledge, there are no published cases using this law to require veterinary care in Minnesota. However, there are some cases in other states that have addressed just this issue.

In Texas, for example, a woman was prosecuted and convicted under the state cruelty law for failing to treat a dog with a severe dermatological condition. The relevant Texas law states, “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly: fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, or care for an animal in the person's custody.”

The court interpreted “care” to include veterinary care. In spite of the fact that the woman attempted to treat the dog herself with homemade sulfur dips, was living on $400 a month Social Security benefits and had no means to transport the dog to the veterinarian’s office, the court still held that she had a legal duty to provide veterinary care for the dog.

In New York, however, a court came to a very different conclusion. The applicable New York law states, “A person who…deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglects or refuses to furnish it such sustenance or drink…is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”

Using this law, a case was brought against a man who refused to address his dog’s very large mammary tumor. The owner told an investigator that he was not providing medical care for the dog due to his limited finances and his personal views on treatment for cancer. In this case, the court ruled in the owner’s favor, stating that the anticruelty statute was too vague to allow the public to know specifically what level of veterinary care was required for their animals.

The court grappled with the very real question of what level of care is sufficient to avoid prosecution. Did the owner have to have the tumor removed? Did he have to provide chemotherapy or radiation therapy if those were warranted? Would he open himself to prosecution if he did too much and the dog suffered as a result? Would he be required by law to spend more money than he had in order to treat his dog?

In the end, the court did what courts often do and suggested that this was a question better left to the state legislature.

“If we, as a society, have arrived at the point where we feel that the provision of medical care to alleviate or avoid pain and suffering is a duty undertaken by pet owners toward their pets,” the court said, “and that failure to fulfill this duty should be a crime, it is incumbent upon our Legislature to enact a provision that clearly sets the standard for—and gives notice of—the proscribed conduct.”

This uncertainty of where the lowest level of acceptable care lies is precisely the problem that we as a society face in this sort of case. It is very easy to say that owners have a duty to provide veterinary care for their pets. However, it is not so easy to create a law that encompasses all the potential situations in which an owner and a pet might find themselves.

Is routine care enough? Or must one provide advanced care such as chemotherapy? Who gets to decide? Does it matter that an owner legitimately cannot afford care? Should we require some sort of assurance that an owner can afford at least the minimum level of health care before he is allowed to own a pet?

We have all been in the situation where the client driving the Mercedes and wearing expensive clothes tells us she is unwilling to pay for lifesaving treatment for her pet. In this case it might be easy to judge that the client has a legal duty to provide that treatment.

But what of the 80-year-old widow who desperately wants to but cannot afford care for her only companion, a geriatric cat with cancer? Should she also be required to provide that care?

Courts can and do make these sorts of decisions when medical care for a child is involved. To my mind, it is an open question whether they should do so when the patient is a pet.

Dr. Barghusen practices in Bloomington, Minn.


45 thoughts on “Duty To Treat Animals Depends On State Laws

  1. my cat got hit by a car- dislocated his leg. the vet gave me two options 1.$3800 to surgically repair leg. 2. $2200 to amputate his leg. i didnt go with either of them and they made me wait 2.5 hours to discharge him from animal hospital at price of $400. 4 weeks later no surgery, he has regained mobility and almost back to normal. i have taken him to a chiropracturer who has been shifting his leg slowly back into place which will get him back to normal after 6-8 weeks at a total cost of about $250 5-6 sessions. The vets/ankmal hospitals wanted me to cut his leg off so they could make $2200 and leave the cat without a leg- wtf. i am glad i didnt waste the money and will never listen to another corrupt veternarian again. i do not believe dogs should have to suffer through chemotherapy- please dont make them suffer through cancer and watch old yeller again because it is the right thing to do and respectfully humane. it is all a scam. the vets are trained to use your emotional attachment (right side of your brain) to make monetary decisions because we decide on our emotions and not what is best for our wallets or our animals. It was sad to see people that attached to their pets to see people waste $10,000 on a pet that is going to die or maybe not even need surgery. i would be curious to see an investigation where some of these animals may not even be as sick as your vet is saying they are and are completely scamming people out of their hard earned money.

    1. You always have the right to a second opinion.Its sad you paint a profession with personal views on one encounter. I feel sorry for your animals that one day may need perfectly treatable conditions and you have become a vet hater. There are always options. People don’t always choose the right ones and are deaf to others. Our staff were ALWAYS aware of clients wishes and limitations and try to work within them to the best interests of the animals. I am willing to bet you came in the front door with a hostile attitude, you get what you give. You should try another practice more in line with your expectations, Like Dr. Pol of course.

      1. I don’t feel that this gentleman is necessarily basing his opinion on one experience. He is merely decribing a particular incident, and I have certainly experienced similar things. My vet at one point was a neighbor, and I remembering bringing an egg bound patakeet to her on a Saturday only to be turned away by her partner and told that she was in the shower. I had plenty of money at the time and would have paid any amount. The parakeet died and I remember calling her to read ther the Hippocratic oath over the phone later that day. Eventually, I learned to deal with egg bound parakeets myself. This experiece was long ago. We are still friends and I would like to think that this experience changed her. It changed me for sure and since then I have encountered many greedy vets who have not really helped me when I needed the help, and did not seem to care about my pets especially when they were livestock. Of course, there are great, stellar vets out there, but they are extremely hard to find especially in rural areas. They have become just as bad a doctors, in my opinion, more interested in upselling you that healing. I am old but returned to college to receive a BS in Integrative Health, and this has helped me in becoming a lot more more careful about who I choose to treat my animals now.

        1. So you think its ok to show up at the home of a vet and expect them to treat your animal? Smh what a sense of entitlement. I’m out of work & can’t afford counseling I need so you don’t mind me showing up at your door for money to pay for it right?

      2. I have experienced much of the same attitude and behavior as bandoman. There are vets out there that are more concerned about how much money they will earn and to assume that this person went in with a poor attitude is nothing short of being wrong. It seems that you are comparing your staff with someone you do not know and simply because it is another vet you run to there defense. Do you really think that is appropriate? My dog is part of my family and I will defend her with equal passion as if I was defending y wife. There are bad and selfish people in ALL occupations.

      3. I’m sure after his cat was hit by the car he DID NOT come to the vet hostile. He DID arrive worried, anxious and VULNERABLE. Unfortunately, there are drs and there are drs. His made a grave error, rush to judgement, lack of compassion or just lacked medicine 101- when to amputate as opposed to rest and therapy. I’m glad he’s not a medical dr. And I’m sure even with this bad experience, he’ll still see a vet if needed.

    2. I agree. These vets have no high-tech equipment but their prices are higher than medicine for a human being. I personally can get a CAT scan for $285 and that is with the radiologist reading but my cat can not get a CAT scan no pun intended for under $2,200. I have taken my cat to an emergency hospital and it is $500 for the visit and they want the money up front and all they do is give her IV fluids and an entire bag of that would be only $2.00. Even in a human ER you have trained nurses and doctors, ultrasound techs all kinds of high-tech equipment and lab but the animal emergency room has nothing more than an x-ray machine and not even a radiologist to read it. There are no nurses only techs… it is a real scam. For 5 days all they did was watch my cat and give her IV fluids I finally asked them to cut her open and they told me she might die and I said she’s going to die anyway and sure enough she had an abscess from her neck all the way down to her private area which they removed and she was better and still lives today. But they had no ultrasound to see this abscess but she did have a drain in her from the previous non emergency veterinarian who by the way first diagnosed her with a digestive problem and sold me a box of very expensive food. But when I got my cat home and put her on a white towel that is when I saw the drainage and smelled that distinctive abscess smell. When I took her back they were embarrassed and threw a drain in but apparently her abscess was a lot bigger then a little drain can handle. Anyway this drain should have alerted the emergency veterinarian that there was an abscess problems, not a dehydration problem. But the really high tech hospitals prey on people the most. They never let you see them exam in your pets have you ever noticed that they leave you in the exam room and then with your pet away and then come back with a big fat bill. They say you’re not allowed to go back and watch your animal be examined because I’m not sure it’s a room that they takes animals into. When I was a kid we had a really great that and it wasn’t that expensive. Somehow corporate medicine has gotten involved in Veterinary Care. The vet I went to the other day was not there the next day and I was shocked to find out the veterinarians are nothing more than 1099 contract workers and have no investment other than there hourly wage in the clinic itself. This leaves the corporations to run the actual veterinarian clinics and that is the problem. Just exactly like in human medicine the corporations have run up the prices for everyone and most of the people that work there or not even medical personnel they are Administration people counting the money

      1. I can assure you the reason why you can’t go out back into the room and they take the pet out back to examine your pet is because in an ER there is an intake room and a treatment room, that’s where the doctors are. They examine the pet without the owner around in an ER because most of the time, more often than not it is very hectic.

    3. Yotally agree with you. I took my dog to an emergency hospital where the vet said tjat she more than likely had diabetes. Because of the cost of his services i asked him to fax his findings to a vet around the corner from my home and took her there the following morning. She had a starting point with the fax but she totally ignored it and told me that peewee had pyometra which needed immediate surgery. (This was a tue) she scheduled that surgery for fri and sent us home. Peewee was very sick and we got her into a friend of the families clinic to do the surgery that following morning. When they finished they brought me out a photo of peewees heathy uterus and said she probably had diabetes. I was so mad that i took her back there to demand that they treat her for the money i had already paid. Unbeknownst to me at the time the senior vet and partner of the clinic took over peewees care. On his request i took her and dropped her off for a curve stay they following day where they would figurebout how much insulinnshe required. Long story short, he intentionally gave my dog a perscription of a massive dose and killed jer through my own hand. It was horrifying to watch the seizures she had before dying of an insulin overdose. Although these cases are almost always never proven…i had all i needed to prove these quacks are fake. I prevailed by going after them.

  2. So i took my 1 and1/2 year old Chihuahua Kylo to the emergency vet hospital to get checked i knew she was hurting and knew i was too emotionally envolved to make a diagnosis on my own even though i have taken care of many dogs through the heaven can wait program. Once there they looked at my sick puppy and i heard the worst words come out of the drs. Mouth…I THINK ITS PARVO. SO HOW ARE U GONNA PAY. ITOLD THEM I WOULD NEED TO GO HOME TO GRAB MY CHECKBOOK COULD THEY TLEAST START TREATMENT… THEY SAID NO AND ILL HAVE TO TAKE MY DOG AND BRING HER BACK…. I KNEW I WAS PUTTING MY DOG IN HER CARRIER FOR THE LAST TIME ALIVE. HER HEALTH DETERIORATED FAST. SHE NEVER MADE IT HOME. I couldn’t believe they could watch me leave with her knowing they could have helped. It was devastating. I live in Nevada can they just refuse treatment here? Please help. dutchesshaberkorn@outlook.com

    1. If it was Marco and that advanced she wouldn’t have lived anyway, was she up to date on her shots? If she was it probably wasn’t park if she wasn’t up to date on her shots shame on you!

  3. I took my Bella into the vet (Pioneer Animal Clinic) as the vet previously mentioned that she could have allergies and wanted to do a blood test so we did this on March 29th. The vet said she would call me when the results came back, which she did a week later and left a voice mail as I wasn’t at home. She said if I had any questions to call her when I got the message so we can discuss a treatment plan. She was with a client so I left a message for her to call me back. On April 16th I still have not heard from her so I called and was told she was busy and I left a message for her to please return my call. On April 18th I called again and was told busy so left another message to call me, I want to discuss a treatment plan. On April 20th, I called again and left another message to return my call. On April 25th, I stopped by the vets office and asked to speak to the vet and was told she was out off the office. I told the receptionist that I have called several times and I have yet to get a call back and was getting getting the feeling I was being ignore and getting upset about it. I then later got a call at home and was told it would be better to make an appointment to come in and see her (the vet), so I made an appointment for a couple days later. On April 27th I met with Dr. Heath. She explained that I could give Bella shots or drops. She said I would have to give either one, once a day. I declined the shots and opted for the drops. She explained the dosage and that we would see how they would work and I may or may not have to continue with them the whole five months. I asked costt and she told me around $180.. I told her I couldn’t afford that and she said that if she ordered them that day I would get a discount that woulld bring the cost for the first batch to about $120. and the next time would be full price. I said okay order them and she said they should take 3 to 7 days to get them and she would call when the came in. All set and waited for the call. On May 11th I call the v ets office to find out the status of the drops. I was told they did not see anything regarding drops for Bella. She said she would do more checking and call me back. I did not get a call back so on May 14th I called again and was told the same thing. Then was put on hold for 5 minutes while who ever answered the phone went to check further. When someone came back on the phone it was another vet and was told Dr. Heath was on vacation and she would try to get hold of her and find out what is going with the drops and she would call me back. On May 17th, I called again to see what was found out because never received a call back and was told that the drops were ordered but the company failed to ship them and I would get a call when they came in. That raised a red flag along with no return phone calls. Finally on May 21st I got a call saying the drops were in and I can pick them up anytimes. I went in today May 23rd to get the drops and was told they came to $199.00. I told her that was not what I was quoted and she said she would go check with Dr. Heath. When she came back she said the vet told her she didn’t know anything about a discount. I told her I will pay what I was quoted and that was all. She said her office manager was at lunch so she couldn’t get her and said she needed the whole amount and I told her I wasn’t taking them and I walked out. A couple hours later I called the vets office to speak to the Office manager. The girl (ray) said the office manager was getting ready to leave and could she help me. I stated I really needed to talk to the office manager and she said the office manager was leaving and she woould be taking over her duties for the rest of the day and could she help me, I then asked to talk to an owner and she said could she help me so at that point I told her the same thing I have stated here and she said that they never know how much meds are going to cost until they get her so I asked why was I quoted the orignal cost and then a cost with the discount. She repeated that they don’t give quotes and maybe the vet was estimating costs and I told her the vet should never quote prices if that is the case and that I can’t afford the full price. Shy (ray) said what we need for you to do is come in an pick up the drops and pay for them. I explained again that I don’t and can’t and won’t pay the full amount when I was quoted a different price, so she can throw them away or send back that I won’t be in to get. She got nasty and said they can’t send them back because they were made specfie for Bella and told me I will have to pay for them. I told her I understood they were specifically for Bella but I can’t afford them therefore I won’t pick them up. She told me they will send me a bill and would have to pay that bill. I then told her to go ahead that I wasn’t paying it no matter how many bills they sent me. She kept saying I will pay and finally I told her that I would have to get a attorney and that I would be taking my business elsewhere and she said fine and I hung up.

  4. Wow, what a nightmare. You were right not to fall for their extortion. A lot of vets use people medicine and they read bottle it and charge you hundreds more. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told them not to give my cat Pediatric medication because she hate anything sweet. But here they come with that bottle of sugary sweets bubble gum flavored pediatric medication. That’s how lazy they are. It’s not even medication for animals they don’t care whether this animal likes it or not and all they do is charge you hundreds of dollars more for something you could have gotten for $10 at the pharmacy yourself. That would be like giving a pediatric patient some fish flavored cough syrup and charging the parents $200 more Thor veterinarian medicine which they pulled the label off and put their own pediatric label on it and tell you they had to special order it. I don’t know what has happened to veterinarians but they all seem to be the same way now they’re just a bunch of scam artists and they seem not to know very much veterinary medicine.
    If your pet has an infection you can try people amoxicillin. The dose is 10 mg per pound every 12 hours for 10 days. The easiest way is to give it to your pet and liquid form that way they can spit it out. You can go to the pharmacy and ask them for an empty dropper bottle usually they are about 20 Ml. The Dropper itself may only be 1 ml. So get you a cup of water and measure 20 dropper fold and put them in the bottle now you have 20 mL of water in the 20 ml bottle. It’s easier if you have an amoxicillin capsule because you can just open the capsule and pour it into the bottle but if you have a pill just grinded up to a powder and then pour it into the bottle. Remember to always shake it up before you draw up any medicine into the dropper as it will tend to settle to the bottom. This is good in the refrigerator for 10 days. Throw it away after 10 days. If your amoxicillin is 250 mg per tablet then grind up to tablets and pour it into the bottle. if it is 500 mg then put only one in the bottle. Now you know there are 20 mls of liquid amoxicillin in the bottle. 500 mg of amoxicillin into 20 mL of water equals 25 mg of amoxicillin per ml. Speedos for your dog or cat is 10mg per pound. So if your dog or cat weighs 13 lb multiply that times 10 and that is 130 mg of amoxicillin necessary for the dose…so if each ml is now equal to 25mg of amoxicillin then you would take the daily dose of 130 mg / 25 mg and it will come out to 5.2 milliliters. In other words each milliliter now has 25 mg of amoxicillin in it, so it takes 5.2 Ml in your pet’s mouth to give them their dose of 130 mg and give them 5.2 ml every 12 hours and do this for 10 days. There are lots of other antibiotics your pet can take like for skin, upper respiratory or urinary tract infections, or Levaquin for upper respiratory infections or Tobramycin eye drops for their eye infections. There are also antibiotics that are for animal only you will need a prescription form your veterinarian but they are cheaper if you order them online with that prescription. You are vet will try to talk you out of that because they want to talk on their own price on top of the antibiotic when they hand it to you after they order it online.
    I am by no means anti veterinarian. In fact I am a people doctor but I am old school and medicine was never supposed to be a calling for those who have a higher calling to be filthy rich at the expense of another’s pain and suffering. Most people’s pets are literally their best friend it is sad to see your best friend suffer because you cannot afford to take them to the vet and then pay the high price of the medicine too. These antibiotics have been around for years they used to be two to three dollars for a 10-day Supply now they are over $100. Medicine has become so unaffordable for the average person even with insurance it’s unaffordable. Most veterinarian clinics are not even owned by a veterinarian they are just like hospitals they are owned by a corporation and the veterinarians only get an hourly rate and they have no say so in anything and in fact they can lose their job by not following policy to make you come in for every tiny thing just so they can charge you an office visit. The doctor does not reap the benefits of all this money so I’m not judging them. And just like people medicine putting the government in charge is definitely not the solution that is what made things even more expensive. The solution is to take government out and therefore reduce the cost by reducing all the regulations and allowing the customer to decide whether they want to go to a place which is highly regulated and therefore more expensive or go to there doctor or veterinarian do you know their medicine but cannot afford to buy all of the electronic hardware and software which nowadays are a government requirement. There are also regulations which the many middle man have made up to make sure the regulation they have lobbied for which allows them to keep their jobs and stay involved, therefore they work to make sure the regulations stay in effect. Medicine used to be between two people the doctor and the patient, and they decided what the bill would be and what type of payment would be accepted. Sometimes it was a trade ..ie..veterinary or medical care intrade for so many eggs from the patient chickens or $10 a month until the bill was paid. Because most doctors do not work for themselves anymore or they must pay the heavy cost of all the regulations put upon them to run an office, they are not allowed to extend this type of payment plan anymore. In fact they can find themselves swiftly kicked out of the clinic and unemployed if a patient writes a complaint stating “they were not friendly.” A patient may perceive them to be unfriendly because they are being rushed out the door. They are being rushed out the door because the doctor has been told they will see a patient every 20 minutes and if not they are fired. That is Corporate medicine. So if your pet is sick and you have some people antibiotics and you cannot afford the high price of medical care for your animal use the above calculation.
    Is that guy took my cat to the vet for a UTI and he gave her a Veterinary form of amoxicillin. I gave it to her but after watching her unable to urinate for an entire day I could not take the suffering anymore. It was the weekend they were not available to write her another antibiotic since this one was not working. I had some azithromycin of my own and I looked up the appropriate dose online and found it was not water soluble so I cut the pill into the appropriate number of little blocks and gave her the appropriate dose period within two doses she was able to urinate. This did help her suffering and she also did not die because she was unable to pee but the underlying cause was really stones in her bladder which he ultimately had to have 8 major abdominal surgery to remove the stones out of her bladder. That was two years ago and she is a happy little cat today and has never had another UTI either and my veterinarian who did the surgery was fantastic. She did not own the clinic and the cost of the surgery was over $4,000 but the thing that got me the most was they did not send her urine off for a culture and sensitivity to see what exactly was the real bacteria causing this problem. Personally I thought it was malpractice but the vet had no control over whether the clinic under corporate management would send off the specimen.

    1. For a “people doctor” you are grossly misinformed. Im not sure which veterinary hospitals you have visited but almost all (save for some small privately owned general practices) if not most animal hospitals have nurses, radiologist, cardiologist, anesthesiologist, oncologist, opthomologist and surgeons just to name a few. The techs that you mentioned in your previous post are actually the nurses that you seem to think we dont have. Techs are paid less for the same or a even heavier workload than most nurses. You claim not to be “anti-veterinarian” but you seem to be just that.

    2. Kitty, I doubt you are a “people doctor”, old school or not. If you were, you would know that giving medical advice, which you DID just now telling people to use human antibiotics, is illegal. You can never EVER give medical advice to a patient you do not have a personal relationship that has been examined by you. Only an idiot would try to diagnose a pet and recommend medication like that.

    3. You do understand its illegal for you to give veterinary advice? Even a vet can’t comment on dosing if they have never seen an animal and I don’t know what vet you use but my vet charged me 10.00 for a quart of pediatric amoxicillin and they use that because of an animals digestive tract & the absobtion rate but I’m sure you learned that in vet school.

  5. I talk to vet my dog wadieing of mask cell tomorrow cancer not a thing they could do so I took him home for few days to spend time before I had to put him to sleep was on weekend called after hours also calLed more vets. I told them what’s was. What was going on and I needed to have him put down on Sat day he Carly made it .. office ho to vet I get there he was laying in vet floor during in his pain while I was watching they told me couldn’t help me. I beg them walk away. Took him to new vet to late to put him down the fud on the scales . In pain .. they treat Ed me like trash and it’s not over all I wanted put him out of his pain

    1. I am so sorry for your nightmare treatment i know there are lawyers that would love nothing more than to take your case please report them to the board of veterinary medicine and name the office and the people you spoke to it is best if you write it all down first and then have that notepad with a chronological order of what happened my dog was ill and i called so and so this person urged me to bring dog in and my dog wss so ill i carried him to the car and once at the office arrived at ? Am/pm without assistance i carried my dog inside i waited 45 minutes again told by so and so where i was told to carry him to weigh him first as my dog was in pain this staff member watched me struggle both emotionally and physically and the serious severity of pain my dog experienced at my most gentle touch felt like i was failing him and suddenly so and so this person stated i must leave immediately i begged them i was distraught and in great mental anguish my mental stability now my emotional stability under great distress and out of nowhere now i was being emotionally battered and verbally abused by the very people i trusted and it took its toll on me physically this was a private moment of suffering for us both and the negligent and horrific lack of empathy lavk of professionalism and complete disregard for reasonable care and medical attention to us both at that point was the most degrading humiliating devastating harrowing abusive cruel cold sadistic experiences ive ever experienced to be abused in a crowded lobby .to be abused during the most gut wrenching moments me on my knees begginh for them to help my dog to please help me but to ask me to take my dog and leave is against the board of veterinary medicine in every single state and there is also consumer affairs as well as better business bureau also yelp it..when you list the vets office and put in your comment you get to rate them and tell the public what they did to your dog and to you. Abusing someone during a devastation is unthinkably cruel especially when this is their specialty also it is considered animal abuse cruel inhumane treament of a suffering animal and failure to provide reasonable medical treatment including euthanasia or at the very least pain medications or sedatives is an act of abuse and is a violation of the terms of consent committment the office will be closed while they do an investigation.through consumer affairs also call the aspca ….

  6. I have had both good and bad experiences with different veterinarians. I once had a cat develop kidney stones which blocked resulted in a block urethra and I had to take him to an unfamiliar vet due to where we were located at the time- I went in with my roommate at the time whose vet it was. I admit, I was freaking out because I didn’t know what was wrong and unfortunately I believe that the vet involved took advantage of that. She insisted that she couldn’t treat Charlie without a $400 deposit- I didn’t have the money as payday was still 4 days away and I had just paid rent(yes, this while I was still in school) so I ended up having to take a loan from my roommate. The vet FINALLY cathetered him to relieve the pressure and said that he would have to stay at least overnight for IV fluids and observation. 2 days later, she told me that something else was wrong and that it was too late to do anything else. She then told me that I should be there when they put him to sleep and I got to see her mess up putting my cat down and hear him cry in pain and struggle. She then proceeded to charge me an additional $300 after originally telling me that the $400 would be enough to cover everything that would come up. Unfortunately, I don’t think this experience is limited to only this vet practice in that city- money seems to be more important than the animal’s well being.
    On the other hand- my current vet practice and the one that, after Charlie, I made sure that even if it was a 2 hour drive- I’d call them first is the best vet I’ve ever worked with. I have since moved closer to them and they are the only vets my family really works with any more. I had a cat that had a genetic condition that I worked with them over the course of 2 years when he was going down hill and they tried different treatments that helped and in the end we knew it was just a matter of time but they made it so Ox wasn’t suffering and had a good last 2 years. When the end came, they were right there with me and made it a calm and peaceful passing. Not only with my cat, though, when my brother’s dog was a pup and played in his tackle box and got a hook through her face at 1030pm on a Sunday night- he called the local vet and got told that because she was a pitt mix (3 months old even)that there would be a $150 dollar fee just to see her- not including any treatment and that it would be at least an hour before anyone would be at the office to see her. He called our current vet which is about 15-20 minutes away and was told bring her in and the vet would be there when they got there- sure enough he was there. He anesthetized her, removed the hook, medicated her and gave my brother a bill for $30. He didn’t care what kind of dog it was or how late it was or that it was a weekend- he came in and helped an animal in distress. That is why they are the only vets we work with and will travel to bring them our business.
    There are good and bad vet practices out there and sometimes it just takes some searching to find one that will work with you and cares as much for your animals as you do. I wish everyone could find one like ours.

  7. Right now I’m watching my dog of 7 years dying at home. She has puppies stuck and needs a c-section I don’t qualify for care credit or any other credit for that matter and I get my deposit on Monday literally a couple days away and none of the 5 clinics I went to will accept a deposit plus a post dates check or my credit card number to run first things Monday morning. Instead they all turned her away and now I’m watching her die at home. The money has become the priority and the animals second. Vets are heartless people

    1. So…let me see if I have this correct Marcelina Fraticelli.

      You are poor enough to be living paycheck/benefit to paycheck/benefit but didn’t bother to get a low cost or no cost spay, depending on just HOW poor, of your precious puppy when she was an actual puppy age-wise you love so much. You know, the surgery that would have insured you were never in this position to begin with.

      Then you failed to keep her away from an intact male dog (or two, or three) one of the 1-2 times a year she could get pregnant.

      When she did fall pregnant, you didn’t elect to get that spay better later than never to to the right thing and not allow puppies to be born into poverty with uncertain futures that the statistics say end more often than not at the end of a needle in an animal shelter.

      Instead you decided to let the pregnancy continue but you didn’t do any prenatal care, which would have more often than not picked up the dystocia risk before labor so you had time to plan for it.

      And when she did go into labor and become dystocic, you didn’t surrender her to the local shelter or humane society. Or elect for a quick and painless humane euthanasia.

      No, you decided you’d show them all by letting your dog die a horrible death at home from septicemia due to the dead puppies while posting about it on your smart phone or computer with internet connection.

      There are ALWAYS options; you were just too selfish to pick the one that did not benefit you directly and instead used what time you had left with your dog, not to be with her, but to whinge online.

      Got it. Bravo.

      1. DRM you are a judgemental bitch!!! The veterinarinarians choosing paycheck over humanity are the ones to blame for this dog suffering by refusing to honor their oath!! Atleast the owner tried, not one vet did! So you want to be so crude…Fuck you too for leaving all the vets contacted innocent in this as they are most guilty of refusing to treat a suffering animal!!!

        1. I agree John I took my cat in to her vet but I didn’t have the $54 office fee but they refused to see my cat she just gave birth 2 days ago n is not well at all I’m am basically watching my cat dying n she is my best friend my partner in crime I love her very much n it broke my heart that her vet didn’t not want to see her knowing it maybe life threatening.. I thought vets lived by a oath to help animals that’s why they got in the business for the love of animals n I understand we all work to get a pay check but all I asked if they can see my ill cat n I would be able to pay them on Friday n all I got was a no and was told I’m putting my cat at risk and it be my fault if she dies but I that is the reason I made an appt for her to be seen not only that but I took her in yesterday just for them to turn us away because I had no appt with them so they sent me home and told me call us took make my car an appt for today….$54 vs treating an animal with a life threatening illness

      2. Thank you, DRM.

        And shame on you, Marcelina Fraticelli.

        YOU did your dog wrong. It isn’t the vet’s fault you put your dog in a situation like this. Totally preventable and on YOU.

    2. So…let me see if I have this correct Marcelina Fraticelli.

      You are poor enough to be living paycheck/benefit to paycheck/benefit but didn’t bother to get a low cost or no cost spay, depending on just HOW poor, of your precious puppy when she was an actual puppy age-wise you love so much. You know, the surgery that would have insured you were never in this position to begin with.

      Then you failed to keep her away from an intact male dog (or two, or three) one of the 1-2 times a year she could get pregnant.

      When she did fall pregnant, you didn’t elect to get that spay better later than never to to the right thing and not allow puppies to be born into poverty with uncertain futures that the statistics say end more often than not at the end of a needle in an animal shelter.

      Instead you decided to let the pregnancy continue but you didn’t do any prenatal care, which would have more often than not picked up the dystocia risk before labor so you had time to plan for it.

      And when she did go into labor and become dystocic, you didn’t surrender her to the local shelter or humane society. Or elect for a quick and painless humane euthanasia.

      No, you decided you’d show them all by letting your dog die a horrible death at home from septicemia due to the dead puppies while posting about it on your smart phone or computer with internet connection.

      There are ALWAYS options; you were just too selfish to pick the one that did not benefit you directly and instead used what time you had left with your dog, not to be with her, but to whinge online.

      Got it. Bravo.

      1. Proof positive that veterinarians are far worse than doctors. DVM, if it was YOUR dog, you had no veterinary knowledge, & YOU WERE POVERTY-STRICKEN or EVEN LOW-TO-MIDDLE CLASS, you wouldn’t be able to afford surgery because everyone will be trying to take advantage of you. You would be just as screwed & you would sit there & spend time withh your dog.

        And don’t even get me started on the gross lack of pain management–some veterinarians are great, yes. I’ve met some. But they’re the exception. There are so many out there that don’t care about an animal’s pain (even when owner is paying top $$$) & don’t use sufficient anesthesia. God forbid you follow basic common sense in your practice, right? It’s much preferable to just let your patient suffer (even when owner pays you all the required fees & has no issues with paying the fees), right. Disgusting.

  8. Y’all realize that veterinarians have to make a living, right? And that their staff wants to get paid on time? Vet clinics have tremendous overhead. Very few veterinarians make anything close to what human doctors make, and the lay staff is grossly underpaid in most cases.

    It is almost a daily occurrence for someone to walk in with a sick pet and a sob story. If vets helped every one of these cases pro bono, as some of you think they should, they would be out of business in a week. Now, no veterinarian I know would just let an animal suffer. If you can’t afford the best treatment, there is always option B…and C…and D…and humane euthanasia is always better than letting them suffer and die a slow, painful death.

    Veterinarians have the highest suicide rate of any profession…mostly caused by “compassion fatigue” And, frankly, it is because people like some of you expect veterinarians to do everything “for the love of the animals” with no regard to paying the bills or buying the high tech equipment you claim no veterinarian has (ironic, huh?). No veterinarian likes to deal with the “money” side of things. We all wish we could do everything for every animal. But it is just not possible.

    My policy is to help the animal first if it is suffering or in pain, then lay out the best option in my professional opinion. If that is not feasible for the client, then we go to option B…then C and so forth. There are always options. I don’t pressure anyone into doing things they can’t afford. But if I provide a service, I expect to be compensated for it. Just as you expect to get a paycheck at your job. How many of you would do your job for free? That is what you are asking us to do.

    Of course there are bad veterinarians. Unethical veterinarians. Greedy veterinarians. But I can tell you those are by far the exception. There are bad apples in every profession. If we were in it for the money, we could have spent those 8 years of school (and generally over $150K in student debt) studying to be an MD, or dentist, or lawyer…all much higher paying jobs.

    Now get on with your vet bashing and shaming.

    1. And I spend 14 hours one Saturday a month doing spays and neuters FOR FREE for The Empty Shelter Project. These surgeries are provided free of charge to client-owned animals, regardless of financial situation. No questions asked. The last event, we spayed and neutered over 400 dogs and cats in one day.

    2. Very well said! Bravo! If you can’t afford an emergency with your animal don’t own one its that simple. I must have been very blessed to only have good vets, large & small animals for the 40 years of not just owning but also breeding & training both horses and dogs. Anyone who got an animal off of me had to already have a vet in place before picking up their animal, I contacted the vet to make sure the buyers were truthful and my contract also had a care clause, if you didn’t provide regular and/or emergency care the animal returned to me and the buyer was out their money. I only ever had to take one dog back.

      I appreciate the service all you vets provide, thank you.

  9. 1 year ago my cat was diagnosed with diabetes and the vet said the amount of money it would cost was an amount that I couldn’t afford. He said to take my cat home and just give him the quality of life and then after I would know when it was time. The time came and I took him in to the vet and signed papers for him to be euthanized. Now one year later I am looking on websites for adoptable cats and I swear I am seeing a cat at one of the no kill shelters that is my cat. Is this possible? Could the vet have treated him successfully and then turned him over to that shelter? Why would he not do that for me if he thought the cat could be healed?

    1. It is doubtful that is your cat, Kathleen M Doyer. Cats typically do not “heal” from diabetes. It is an ongoing and sometimes progressive disease. If that cat truly was your cat, it would be marked as “special needs” due the continuing costs for daily medical care for a diabetic cat.

  10. Someone please help me find an animal advocate or lawyer or investigator
    My dog aspirated food after I was told I could feed him after having a dental procedure and anesthesia
    He was in respiratory distress I took him to the neighborhood emergency center they did everything but intubated him

    They did not have a ventilator to oxygenate
    They had no transport to another facility when I was referred it was an hour after the fact and the doctor said this
    You can go to another hospital and spend days there it might cost you $10,000
    I was not told they did not have the capabilities to intubated my Mike
    And when the f Conversation to refer her out came it was an hour later after I was so upset that I was beside myself I never would’ve made the hour and a half to the hospital that could save him because he was already too far gone in respiratory distress I am asking if anyone knows of a lawyer and investigator an advocate that could help me investigate this
    I am not looking for compensation I’m looking to see if there was any mail practice done and if the practice of both vets needs to change in the future please help

  11. I’m so Thankful, for my Veterinarian, I have now; they’re one of the best Vets, in the world! They’re nice, kind, and very intelligent; that makes a lots of difference, in anyone! I couldn’t ask for a better Veterinarian; they’ll do their very best, to help our pets! I Love and Appreciate, my Veterinarian very much!❤️

  12. In late January, my sweet kitty Claire started not acting like herself. We took Claire to see her doctor. The doctor said a tooth had cut into her gums and needed to be removed. Her doctor didn’t have dental service at his practice, so we found a place that does everything. The new doctor showed us that the tooth needed to be removed. The doctor did complete exam and blood work before the tooth removal. He said everything was fine and Claire was good to have the tooth removed. Claire was fine after and even was back to being our beloved Claire again. 3 weeks later, Claire was back to not being herself. We took her back to the doctor and a different doctor saw Claire. This doctor claimed to have taken an x-ray and blood work. She then tells us that we have to let Claire go. We are now left wondering what happened to our Claire. If she was dying all along or sick then why didn’t anyone say anything to us? What happened?

  13. If the State is going to pass a law that requires people to go to a vet; yet, the vet requires a deposit or money upfront even in emergencies, then it is the RESPONSIBILITY of the State Government to provide State assistance, such as Medicaid, for domestic animals. If they start taking your animals, they are violating your rights to pursuit of happiness. If people really cared about animals the way they say they do, we would have programs in place that treated emergencies and gave vaccines for free, like the public health clinics. It’s not giving poor people a free ride, it’s disease control.

  14. My friend has a dog who has seizures she can’t afford to get the dog medical attention so she just watches n horror when the dog has seizures it’s heartbreaking I think she should surrender her dog so it can get the medical attention she the dog desreves

    1. It’s terrible what’s happening in this country. In Massachusetts, you have to get veterinary treatment or you will be charged with animal cruelty. Financial need is not an excuse. So, do you have to go within one day? One hour? Certainly not one week – my friend is currently in court for waiting one week. It is a felony here, which means upon conviction you can forfeit a professional license, have a permanent CORI record, a probation record, not be able to vote, and so on and so on. That is without even having had a traffic ticket in the past. Of course, it’s best to have a criminal defense attorney. Be prepared to spend at least $15,000 for that. If not, you can have a public defender but you have to qualify for that. If you make a little too much money, you have to do it “pro se” which means you will lose. As brutal as it sounds – and I am an attorney and animal lover – if you somehow can’t take your dog in – for whatever reason – and it goes beyond a couple days or so, I would say keep the dog home and try to make her comfortable. You never know, maybe God will intervene and there will be healing. I wish God would intervene in this country and provide healing for all of use.

      1. So your condoning letting an animal suffer? If you can’t afford an animal don’t own it its that easy. If you could afford it when you got the animal and circumstances change and you can’t now surrender or place your animal with someone who can. Have you read Dante’s Inferno? Cuz I can’t wait till your standing in crap up to your nose for eternity for that heartless comment, animal lover my a**.

  15. Animals are animals not humans therefore they don’t have the rights of humans. I personally would never pay an absorbent amount of money to treat an animal. I would weigh how much the animal means to me to what I can afford. If I cant afford I will do my best at home with what I have. Dogs/cats/bunnies are animals just like Hogs, deer, chickens, and cows. People have no problems letting these animals die but dogs and cats are taboo. Where does this stop I cant use roach spray either? Not to mention if you all of a sudden cant afford or are unable to care for these animals and take them to a shelter most places euthanize these animals people don’t care about that.

  16. So our mare has a baby and is very protective . The baby does not seem to be nursing and must nurse in the first 24 hours. We need to sedate the mare and milk collostrum out of her and give to the foal. The state will not allow us to purchase the sedation drug or administer it, only a licensed vet can. We call 5 local advertised large animal vet clinics to have this done. All of them refuse to stating that they are scared of getting hurt and wont work on horses any more.We try everything we can with what we have avalible but it does not work. By the next morning the foal is dead. My idea is that the state and the vets are liable for the loss and should be charged with animal abuse. The state for preventing us from properly careing for our animal and the vets who are licensed by the state to administer the drugsthat we are prevented from useing. If they agree to be licensed to do this then they should be require to or lose their right to control the drugs.

  17. And to give some back round I own a livestock farm and have raised large stock for over 40 years, It aint my first rodeo! The state keeps taking more and more of the drugs out of our control and giving it to the vets who have no financal intrest in the life of our animals.

  18. I think the woman that took her piir dig to the vet with a hurt leg . didn’t exsoect to be told it be 3000.00 which sheboribably wasn’t prepared for. Really who is unless you have a large bank account with money to fork out. Which not to many do. I think she loves her dog and she went a different way.and it worked out for her and her dig and the dig recovered with out the surgery or having to have his leg cut off. . probably in part she didn’t want Hus leg cut off and I dont blame her . just because she went a different way don’t mean she is a bad let parent. . sometime things happen to pets that we are not prepared for like a dog gettingvrun over . maybevshevdud figure that the vet would be more compassated to get luttlevdig and fact he got hit by a car… But still . I took my cat u got just had got to a vet the kitty was sick and I have a young daughter that we dudbtbrealize the kitty was sick the woman that gave her to us didn’t meantiin anything was wribgvwith the cat bit a work she was beautiful cat and I wanted her. When u seen her picture in the vet walk. I call and sh said come get her andcgavevusvher carrier SBD exspenive litter box wglhich was in. Didn’t be elect that but . now lookibgbvack the cat I think was alreadybill and I think thatvwinan knew it . she had stuffed her in the cat carrier . we dudntbgetbti liik at her till we got her home and niticedcshe was over weight… Still we kept her and then one night I heard a sound thought it was the kid next diir . went dienbstairs the cat was onbthevfkiir with her leg over her head and I coukdvtelk then we had a sick cat. I took her to the vet . . my daughter 8 yes old standing there u said I said there anything you can do for her . he said we could give her s iV and antibodies . not knowing what it cist I said I have a credit card he was so glad and change his tune from kitty going to die anyway to OK I treat the cat. . but the credit card failed. And he pretty much almost threw the cat at me. Yes the first opineiin of a vet Dr if animal.medisin should be to car for animals ..it seem that how muchbylu have in your purse or babk card if the biggest facter to is my cat or dog going to live or die. So she found a vet that does natural medicine chargerd her way less is the thing that the patient got wells . there should be there hit there triumph moment should be that the patient got better he didn’t loss his leg .. Can’t say the same for my cat..but more times then not there don’t . work out that way ..the dog got to keep his leg what hit joy for the dog and the pet owner..joy for the dog can still walk and run. Praise the Lord. And it didn’t cost own a arm and leg. I am glad the gentle men for a mother way. That didn’t exist him a arm and a lg or his dog..

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