When Bad Things Happen to Good Pets

If you feel that either you or your pet have been wronged by your Veterinarian or Veterinary staff there are various ways you can try to rectify the situation.

  1. If you have had an issue with one of the Veterinarians, ask to speak to the practice owner or practice manager, or another veterinarian in the practice to discuss your concerns.
  2. If you have had an issue with a member of the Veterinary staff at your vet clinic, ask to speak to the staff manager or the practice manager or owner.
  3. If sending a letter to either of the above, make sure it is either mailed directly to the recipient marked Private and Confidential, or if e-mailed, make sure it is going to the person directly. Most clinics have a general in-box for e-mails and that is usually viewed by a receptionist or technician as they retrieve the daily lab reports. Sending an e-mail is not generally recommended for this purpose. If warranted, spend a few dollars and have the letter sent by registered mail so you know it got there, and to whom it was intended for.
  4. Do not post nasty comments or complaints to the veterinary clinic webpage, Facebook page or send out negative Tweets. This will only get deleted, and not be taken seriously. You will probably also get a letter advising you to seek medical care elsewhere (referred to in the industry as a “We Don’t Need You As a Client” or a “Get Lost” letter). This provides you with no opportunity to have the issue taken care of in a civilized, non-legal manner and you will have to begin all over at a new veterinary clinic.
  5. Get a second opinion on the issue. Book an appointment with a different Veterinary practice to discuss the issues your pet has/had and what they would have done differently. Many Veterinarians do not like to get involved with “bashing” other clinics, but they will provide you with information on how they would have treated the pet.
  6. If you do have a serious and legitimate issue that needs to be dealt with in a legal, make sure you compile your data accurately and in a professional manner. Ranting and Raving in a letter that is being sent out to address your concerns will appear to be hostile and unprofessional. If you are unable to convey your concerns onto paper, have a friend, relative, co-worker or a professional (lawyer, para-legal, advocate, etc.) compile a good letter for you. Make sure it is detailed, to the point, factual and outlines the reasons you believe there was negligence on the part of your pets’ health care provider(s).
  7. Be Professional. Be Precise. Be Prepared. Be Patient. Emotions can certainly get in the way when you or your pet has suffered an injustice. It will take some time to review your complaint – especially if it is found to be legitimate and needs to be investigated.

If you have a serious complaint, you can locate the governing body that oversees the conduct of veterinarians in your area by visiting the VetAbuseNetwork. The VetAbuseNetwork.com website is dedicated to providing you with information on filing a complaint and offers a comprehensive list of the organizations in English speaking countries around the world that oversee the professional conduct of veterinarians and their practices.

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