Dying dog turned away by community veterinarians
A difficult situation for everyone
When Ring called his regular veterinarian, the after-hours answering machine told him to head to Fox Valley Emergency Pet Care 35 miles away in another town. Ring's calls to other local veterinarians yielded more answering machine messages directing him out of town. Ring talked to a veterinarian who said he only came in after hours for his clients. Another veterinarian told him he only did after-hours work for livestock. Yet another local veterinarian who was out of the office when Ring called said he would have euthanized Annie if he'd been in.
A distraught Ring figured Annie would never make it to the emergency clinic, so he called his brother on a farm to stop Annie's pain. The local humane society cremated Annie's ashes, and Ring keeps them in an urn at his house.
A doctor's anger
One veterinarian wrote that she sees all emergencies any time, any day. Others wrote in to explain their reasons for sometimes not accepting emergencies. One criticized Dr. Woloshyn for not considering the clinics' caseloads: Were the doctors in the middle of surgery? Was the clinic short-staffed? Another doctor wrote to ask whether it's possible to see every patient who comes in off the street and still keep a "doable schedule, better patient care, and a happy hospital."
If there's a lesson in these stories and opinions, it may be that every veterinarian should spend some time revisiting emergency care in their area. Is there a 24-hour referral clinic nearby? If not, what happens when an Annie in your neighborhood needs help?
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