Top Guidelines on How to Report a Veterinarian Effectively
Have you ever faced any veterinarian malpractice or negligence such as misdiagnosis, injury, or wrong treatment because of incompetence, carelessness, or wrongful judgment? If so, how did you deal with that?
There are many ways to handle such a negative experience. The most effective way is to behave like a consumer and file a complaint against a veterinarian. How to ensure that your complaint is made properly? This article will shed light and explains the steps you need to take before filing a vet complaint.
Annually pet owners spent about 17 billion dollars for vet care in hospitals, clinics, and food based on the Animal Hospitals and Veterinary Clinics: Global Market Insights 2015-2030 found on GlobeNewswire.com. Since the hit of the pandemic, this number has grown even further.
Given the huge amount of annual spending, vet services are really sought-after in the United States. Demand breeds supply. There are more than 107,000 veterinarians in the United States according to the American Veterinary Medical Association statistics.
But not all vets are really good. According to over 4.6K reviews left about veterinary clinics and pet medicine on PissedConsumer.com, the provided treatment and services raises many pet owners’ concerns, from financial issues to even poisoning. Therefore, if you believe veterinary wrongdoing has taken place, it is advised that you report a veterinarian and warn other pet owners.
First of all, you should make sure that your particular situation with a veterinarian is reasonable for complaint, and only then you should go and report your issue about their services.
Where You Can File Complaints Against Veterinarians
State Veterinary Medical Associations
Some State Veterinary Medical Associations have peer review boards responsible for resolving a number of issues. But their role varies by state. Contact your state vet med association to check this information. If it is feasible, you can report veterinary malpractice or negligence there.
Such vet associations serve as an advocate for the veterinary profession. They protect and evaluate the quality of veterinary care and treatment serviced. State Veterinary Medical Associations adopt regulations to carry out laws governing veterinary practice in the United States. They could take disciplinary actions against those who violate these laws. So, keep that in mind first when facing a conflict with a veterinary clinic.
State Veterinary Licensing Board
Licensing Boards are Member Boards of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. They bear full responsibility for establishing procedures to identify and, if it is necessary, sanction as well as remove unethical and incompetent veterinarians. Their mission is to protect the well-being of citizens within their jurisdiction.
Truth be told, licensing boards are the only body with jurisdiction over a veterinarian’s license in the United States of America. So, if your visit to a vet clinic was followed by serious consequences due to unprofessional treatment, you may submit your vet complaint to the State Veterinary Licensing Board for their consideration.
All veterinarians who practice on the territory of the United States must have a valid license. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards provides a list of jurisdictions to verify a license. In addition to veterinary malpractice cases, licensing boards accept complaints concerning unlicensed individuals practicing veterinary medicine. If you want to report veterinary malpractice, start with the American Association of Veterinary State Boards to check out the possession of a license.
Please note, that while filing a complaint, it is necessary to provide personal information because there are states where licensing boards do not investigate anonymous complaints.
How to Report a Veterinarian Effectively
- Find your state board contact information on the official website of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Download a formal complaint form on the board’s official website or obtain a copy by calling, writing, or e-mailing the board office. Here is an example of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association Client Complaint Form.
- Follow the instructions on filing the complaint. Provide as much information you have as possible (names of all persons involved, specific dates, performed treatment, comprehensive description of the event, all your pet’s medical records, expert testimony, etc.). Fill out all applicable blocks in full detail. If necessary, include additional information.
- Verify if your vet has a valid license.
- Submit your complaint in writing.
- Do not forget about deadlines. In most US states you are entitled to report veterinary malpractice or negligence within 1-3 years of the incident.
As a rule, upon the receipt of a written complaint, the board assigns an investigator. This person will keep you informed about the progress of your case in accordance with the specified deadlines.
Following the investigation of your complaint about a veterinary clinic or veterinarian, you will be informed about the result. If there is a violation, the board will undertake corresponding actions from a reprimand to license revocation.
Do remember that licensing boards are disciplinary authorities that cannot recover damages. All fee disputes are resolved through civil proceedings. There are no statistics on veterinary malpractice cases, but it is fair to assume that they are not rare. The high cost of some vet procedures induces filing lawsuits against veterinarians by pet owners.
Many complainants opt for hiring a lawyer to help them resolve their veterinary conflict. If you’ve decided to hire a lawyer to find out how to report a veterinarian effectively, assess the situation rationally. Even if you win the case, the amount of your compensation won’t be considerable.
You should always bear in mind that in the United States, a companion animal is considered to be an item of personal property under the law. So, your recovery will be limited to the cost of replacing your pet with another one. Unfortunately, your loss, all the stress, and time wasted during the process might not bring the expected closure. Thus, you can pay more in legal fees than you recover.
On the other hand, you can report veterinary malpractice trying to prove that your pet is unique with reasonable sentimental value to you. In case of a positive result, your recovery will be much higher. For example, in February 2004 Marc Bluestone from California was awarded $39,000 in a veterinary malpractice suit.
He sued veterinarians for negligence and proved that his Labrador Retriever had a special value of $30,000. Moreover, jurors awarded $9000 more to Marc Bluestone for “unreasonable” payment to Animal Referral Center.
There are different scenarios on how to handle the issue with a veterinarian clinic. The worst situation is when you avoid further investigation, never complain, and forget about a conflict. No matter how bad of treatment or big of a loss you’ve experienced with any vet service, the first rule is not to be silent about your issues. As seen from dozens of online reviews, speaking up can help others avoid the same situations. So, by venting your dissatisfaction with a veterinarian clinic, you not only alert the problem, you can even save some pet’s life.
Finally, neither a complaint to state veterinary medical associations or licensing boards nor civil proceedings will return your companion animal or inner peace. But you can restore justice and protect other people from incompetent veterinarians having reported vet malpractice or negligence.