After a trial testifying against practices that took place at her former employer, All Creatures Veterinary Center, one of the few 24-hour veterinary clinics in the Santa Clarita Valley, Wendy Hand offered a number of tips for pet lover concerns.
Hand, who has been a trained vet for 11 years, said there are a number of steps that can be taken to verify that the vet you are taking your pet to is one to trust.
And while there are a number of great veterinarians in the SCV and the vast majority are trustworthy, Hand wanted to make sure that people know what to look for when looking for a veterinarian. (Hand has been a practicing registered veterinarian since 2009, which means there are essentially only four things she cannot do regarding treating animals that a veterinarian can do: prescribe medication, perform surgery, an official diagnosis put and a forecast.)
The first thing someone can do when responding to a friend’s referral or publicity is to check the status of the prospective veterinarian’s license with the Veterinary Medical Board. This is listed on the Department of Consumer Affairs website as the DCA oversees the VMB. The search page is: search.dca.ca.gov.
Hand also cautioned the importance of reviewing for any concerns listed under Actions on Public Records. A place could be in danger of losing its license for alleged violations, but still has “primary status” on its list.
For example, the All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall has an “up-to-date” list. However, a closer look at the online status list reveals a number of complaints filed under “Public Documents”. The “Documents” tab lists a number of active complaints against the site, as well as a complaint from the veterinary clinic, the resolution of which is expected to take place well into next year due to the lengthy legal process associated with handling complaints.
Dialogue with your veterinarian
It is also a good idea to develop a relationship with your veterinarian so that you will feel more comfortable entrusting him or her with such an important patient, and this can also help a pet owner identify any concerns.
“If you are taking your pet to the vet for concern, you may want to ask the vet what the exam found and what diagnoses they recommend to diagnose the real problem and what treatment … and what you expect a response to Treatment, ”remarked Hand.
If a vet can’t answer any of these questions or refuses to answer them, “you should be concerned,” said Hand.
Location and accreditation
While the onset of COVID-19 and subsequent health protocols have made on-site visits difficult in most locations, taking a tour of the facility is not a bad idea under normal conditions, Hand said.
Since this could be a challenge right now, it is also a good idea to check a veterinary practice’s accreditation. When a facility is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, it has passed more stringent inspection and a higher standard than just the state licensing agency, according to Hand, which should provide some security to pet owners.
She also wanted to reassure pet owners that, based on her experience with a number of different facilities, by and large most places will not have any problems or procedural issues. However, because resolving such issues can be a long and difficult process – and generally not until a problem arises – it is important that pet owners are aware of potential concerns and are familiar with any procedures being performed.
“You can ask to speak to the person who will be performing the treatments on your animal,” said Hand. “You can ask them to explain what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it.”