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When the Vet Doesn’t Know Best

Written by PETA | June 24, 2010

Here’s a reminder of why it’s so important to question authority when it comes to our animal companions’ well-being: Recently, a distraught woman called PETA for help after a veterinarian sent her terribly injured cat home with only a prescription for antibiotics, claiming that this gaping wound would heal on its own:



No one knows how this poor cat was injured, but it doesn’t take a degree in veterinary medicine to realize that the wound was life-threatening—it was necrotic and the muscle tissue had been exposed—and that the cat clearly needed further intervention immediately. PETA’s Emergency Response Team helped find another nearby vet to assess the animal, who determined that the cat was indeed in dire condition and that euthanasia was the most merciful option. She was able to peacefully end the cat’s suffering.

We owe it to our animals to be proactive if we suspect that they are suffering as a result of inadequate or downright bad advice or care from a veterinarian, groomer, trainer, or anyone else. Trust your own instincts and seek a second opinion. In this case, the cat would have suffered prolonged pain and a slow death if her guardian hadn’t known better and persisted on behalf of her kitty. Of course, animals are much less likely to suffer catastrophic injuries like this one if they are safely confined indoors or kept under constant supervision when let outside on a harness or in a secure fenced area.

Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post

Commenting is closed.
  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    As a former veterinary assistant one of the vets I worked for was so inexperienced that when surgery was scheduled she would panic and mutter to herself for hours “If this goes wrong the owners are going to sue me.” And yes a lot of her procedures “went wrong.” As far as I know nobody sued probably because they were not told of the panic attack that took place that morning. Occaisonally she would consult more experienced collegues but not often.

  • Michael Whaley says:

    As a 4th year veterinary student it is not clear if the wound in the picture was indeed treatable or not. Before anyone jumps to condemn the veterinarians involved it is important to gather more information. For example did the first vet really just glance at it and send the cat home with pills or did the vet give a full treatment plan that the owner could not afford? It is sad but this is reality. Also just because the picture shows food with the cat’s head down it does not mean the cat was eating. The picture gives no indication one way or the other about that. Other questions would include duration of the injury age of the cat FeLVFIV status was there myiasis was this injury acquired outside or in the house etc.? And I agree in most cases cats are happier and healthier indoors. comments

  • Rottsrus says:

    I think this wound is treatable. Of course the cat should stay indoors to keep the wound cleaner. As it should have been in the first place! So her guardian saw the cat was suffering and decided to get a second opinion where was she when the animal got wounded? How long was it like that before her “guardian” took her for treatment?

  • Omer Polansky says:

    I disagree with both vets I am a veterinary assistant and by the looks of the wound i do believe it is treatable especially if the cat is still eating which is what the picture describes.

  • Shian says:

    Im almost into veterinary school i feel like whoever sent this little guy back with only antibiotics missed a few days of class and definately needs to have his license reevaluated.

  • Dave Bernazani says:

    I am a licensed veterinary technician and I can’t imagine ANY vet sending this cat home with just antibiotics. Surely there is more to the story perhaps the woman couldn’t afford more treatment? Anyway if the vet really did commit negligence why don’t you post his name and the practice name? That would certainly be only fair I think. And heshe should be reported to the state board for malpractice.

  • Erin says:

    Kudos to the cat’s owner for following their instinct. It doesn’t take a veterinary degree to see that that cat was suffering. I’ve seen my own cat suffer I know what it’s like. I am so glad that this cat had a peaceful dignified death like all human and nonhuman animals deserve!