70 percent of North Americans are pet owners, and more and more of us are outraged by the grisly mistakes being made by veterinarians, including overdoses of medication and wrong-site surgery – where they operate on the wrong part of an animal’s body. If a doctor makes this kind of mistake on a human patient, it’s considered “inexcusable,” and the doctor can be fined, sued, or lose their medical license. However, according to MSNBC, when mistakes are made on animals, they’re ignored, minimized, or completely denied. In fact, state veterinary boards dismiss 80 percent of complaints filed against their members.
Joyce Tischler is the founder of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. She’s appalled that there’s not enough action taken against veterinarians who make serious mistakes. Why? Because the system devalues the bonds between pets and their owners, and doesn’t hold vets accountable when they make mistakes. In most states, courts only consider animals property, worth their market value. That can be a lot of money for a show dog, but the average household pet is worth less than $100. The truly scary part is that there’s really no way to know how many errors are made – the American Veterinary Medical Association doesn’t keep track. Consider this: 98,000 people are killed every year by medical mistakes. So veterinary mistakes must be close to that. So, how can you protect your pet?