Vet Panorama Program – It shouldn’t happen at a Vets

I’m not looking forward to Thursday’s vet Panorama program  ’It shouldn’t happen at a vets’ .  The headline ‘Pet owners who take best practice on trust are in for a shock’ makes my heart sink, most pet owners do take best practice on trust but I believe they do so with very good reason. The overwhelming majority of vets and vet nurses  I have met are caring, professional and passionate about the science and best practice of veterinary medicine and surgery.

Throughout my career, in which I’ve worked in a variety of different types of vet practices, I have seen colleagues going far beyond the call of duty to help patients and clients on a daily basis: from nurses popping around to a client’s house to administer eye drops every day to vets dropping off bags of food and medication to clients without transport; vets sleeping on dog beds to keep checking on a critical patient throughout the night, charging only for routine hospitalisation and countless puppies, kittens, wild animals and birds nursed through the night by nurses without charge. Sure there have been times communication has broken down, staff have been less than charming to a client with a similar attitude, animals have not recovered etc  but I honestly can’t think of a single time I have seen a vet or vet nurse treat an animal carelessly or harshly. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon receive 700 complaints a year, that is one complaint for every 15 years of practice for each vet. Considering how many patients a vet will treat in that time and that only a fraction of these are upheld it certainly doesn’t paint a picture of  a profession deserving of such a general headline.

Maybe I will be pleasantly be suprised by the balanced reporting in the Panorama program but I am concerned at the sensationalist way it is being advertised.  Medivet released a statement a few days ago indicating that they are the practice in question.  They have not been allowed to see any of the footage and have several complaints about the way in which the program was filmed. They claim that the Panorama journalists harassed their clients and have some interesting letters and video footage from some of the clients involved on their website.

Watch this space…

  • Sue Armstrong says:

    Just to say thanks for the alert and like you I am dreading it. We have been with Medivet (Twickenham) for over 10 years and I have nothing, absolutely nothing, to fault them on. Only praise – we have had Boxer dogs, and some heartbreaks along the way. But the medical help, and the human support, has always been good.

    Who knows what Panorama will bring. Let’s hope that even if they choose to display negative reports, they will be balanced out by positives. Might be one to tune out of!

  • Tabitca says:

    My old cat had to be put to sleep last year. My local vets at Crook Co Durham , especially the vet nurse, were fantastic. They did everything they could to ease my pain and his. I took the kitten and cat I got from the animal sanctuary to them as the kitten was quite ill. Again they were wonderful and obviously cat lovers. Having been a pet owner for 33 years I can honestly say that I have never found a bad vet. Even when I was living on the Black Isle in Scotland up a cart track, the local vet was marvellous and came out with both elderly cats and saved the life of one and he lived for another 6 years until he was 21.

  • Dawn Bladen says:

    Im sure the TV program will be highlighting the bad points they find, however, there is good and bad in everything, balance is the key.

    With regard to my personal experiences of Vets/Nurses etc, I was with the same practice for over 20yrs, I trusted them implicitly. I never had a moments concern or worry from either Vet or nurse. In the last few years a “change” came about, expansion and then more Vets, but most if not all were recently qualified and I doubt most of them had even owned a dog or cat themselves, let alone had any “practical” experience of treating them.

    Money took over as the main priority, client/vet relationships fell apart, I certainly wasnt standing there being told I wasnt doing best for my 15yr old cat when I was told he probably had a chest tumour, yet was displaying signs of heart failure, and had a murmur as many as two years previously. A general anesthetic to tell me he had something that would kill him and they couldnt do anything about, seemed totally pointless and bad practice to me, so that took me to my new practice. Delighted with them is all I can say. No newly qualified Vets, all very experienced and dont dictate, the cost is massively less too and I honestly cannot fault them so far. Incidently, the Cat the previous Vets told me had a chest tumour (and also called me to say he might have blood clots in his legs!) is still going strong at 18yrs old last week! Yes he has mild heart failure, but nothing more.

  • I imagine that in all professions, there are some vets, and vet nurses, who let down an honourable profession. I am happy to say I have never had the misfortune of encountering any, in more than 30 years of animal care both as a pet owner and as a former owner of a riding centre and later manager of another.

    Of course I have had slight differences of opinion, as with one dominance theorist vet who said my collie was snapping at me to assert dominance and needed castrating when he actually had fly catching syndrome. But there was never any question of my animals being treated anything less than courteously and considerately. Knowing how fond the British are of their pets, I can’t imagine any vet staying long in practice if they got a reputation for bad care.

    I have an enduring memory of the lovely Archie at Rase Vet leading my adored collie Meic away for X-rays saying to him, “Come along, darling”, which is just what I would say to him myself!

    And I’m happy to report equally positive experiences with vets here in France. The French adore their toutous and minous (doggies and pussies) – 40% of French households own a pet – and although health and pharmacy costs here are eye-watering in comparison to the UK, vet bills appear to be very much on a par, possibly even slightly less.

    My current collie is very nervous, especially of men, and is always handled sympathetically and calmly and, most importantly I feel, I am always consulted about the best way to approach any procedure with him.

    As an ex-journalist myself, I fear a remark made to you Twitter is very true – stories of positive experiences don’t make for very rivetting television. No more than do the gentle, though lengthy, training methods of non-dominance based dog behaviourists, hence the public’s slavish adoration of the so-called Dog Whisperer.

    I hope as many people as possible will watch the Panorama programme and if it is truly a biaised and unbalanced piece of television journalism will register their complaints through the proper channels here http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/homepage/

    Many thanks for your very helpful and encouraging posts on Twitter and thank you for drawing this programme to our attention.

  • carley says:

    I dont know if i will be able to bring myself to actualy watch the show tomorrow. As its my worst nightmare leaving my beloved pets with people that abuse the system and trust.
    I have a very good vet whos been in the business for years but he wasnt the first practice i took my kitten too and i had a horrid experience with a vet who didnt seem to care at all. I soon changed vets and all i can say is get recommened by friends and family to a vets you can trust. Its a shame these places let it down for all the many wonderful vets out there.

  • Lou Johnston says:

    the Medivet programme was pretty damning wasn’t it, though they did mention very briefly that most of the time secret filming they saw only good practise. Blink and you’d have missed it though!
    Happy, satisfied customers and people doing a good job doesn’t make good news unfortunately.
    In any profession you are going to get good and bad people. I use a very good single practitioner vet at Medivet, Radlett. I feel he really cares and does not cost the earth

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