The lobby group for animal welfare said pet owners must do the following:
* Look for a skilled and caring veterinarian (ask for references from trusted friends and humane organizations, and call proper government agencies and veterinary medical board to check for complaints).
* Seek a second or third opinion about your animal’s diagnosis before proceeding with surgery or treatment, and carefully monitoring your animal’s stay and treatment at veterinary clinics.
* Never hesitate to ask questions about your animal companion’s treatment, and never leave your animal overnight at a veterinary hospital unless you are convinced that it is necessary and in your animal’s best interests to do so.
ADDRESSING MALPRACTICE & GROOMING ACCIDENTS
PETA recommends several steps that pet owners can take when they suspect that veterinary malpractice has led to their animal companion’s injury, sickness, or death.
* First, send a concise, accurate, and factual written complaint (including what happened, when, and where) to the state veterinary licensing board asking for an investigation and a response. Follow up on your written complaint by calling the licensing board. You should also submit a complaint to your local veterinary medical association asking for an investigation. Any veterinary clinic should be able to provide you with the addresses for the state licensing board and veterinary medical association, or you can search the Internet or look in the phonebook under state agencies. File copies of your complaints with the proper government agencies and humane society as well.
* File a suit against the veterinarian. Be sure to have copies of all your animal’s medical records (including the results of the necropsy, if performed), statements from other veterinarians who examined your animal after you suspected negligence, and copies of your veterinary bills. You can also hire a lawyer to help you bring a malpractice lawsuit against the veterinarian or negotiate a settlement.
* Consider contacting the media to get your story out and help protect other animals from harm in the future.
* If you can't groom your pet yourself, try to hire a groomer who makes house calls so that both your animal companion and the groomer are under your supervision. If that’s not possible, ask to be present during the grooming.
* Check to see whether the groomer you are considering is a graduate of a training program and a member of any trade organizations. Evidence of participation in industry seminars is also a good sign.
* Find a groomer with experience. Groomers who have many years of experience working with animals will be more confident in their skills and know their limitations and should be more comfortable with animal behavior than those who have less experience.
* Request references from other clients. Ask if any animals have been injured or died in the salon’s care.
* Be sure to alert the groomer about any health issues that your pet may have.