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.dogged~ A memoir of my journey to New Jersey's "Betsy's Law"  by Madeleine Kayser

New Jersey's Betsy's Law   

Speaking for Spot - Courtesy use by Dr. Kay, VMD

Betsy’s Law: New Jersey Veterinarians Must Disclose Absence of Overnight Supervision for Hospitalized Patients – Spot Speaks

Betsy’s Law: New Jersey Veterinarians Must Disclose Absence of Overnight Supervision for Hospitalized Patients

Photo Credit: veganflower, Although I don’t know Madeleine Kayser, I feel certain she is a profoundly passionate and persistent woman. Eight years of tenacious hard work on her part were required to achieve implementation of “Betsy’s Law”. Passed in September 2015, this New Jersey law requires veterinarians to notify their clients if they do not provide 24-hour care for hospitalized animals.

According to Betsy’s Law this notification can be accomplished by placing signage in a “conspicuous location” with the following language: “This veterinary facility does NOT provide supervision for animals after normal business hours by a person physically on these premises.” The sign must be printed in a font of at least 24-point. Notification can also be performed via placing this message in a font of at least 12-point on an intake/admissions from provided to the client.

Who is Betsy?

New Jersey resident, Madeleine Kayser was present when the legislation she fought so hard for was finally signed into law. She was holding a photo of her beloved sixteen-month-old Rottweiler named Betsy who died while hospitalized overnight following eye surgery. Kayser was told that her dog needed supervision so that she wouldn’t harm her stitches. On the basis of such a recommendation, Madeleine naturally assumed that the clinic would provide nighttime staffing. Tragically, this was not the case, and Betsy died from suffocation when the collar used to prevent her from pawing at her stitches became caught on something within her enclosure. No one was there to intervene.

Following Betsy’s death in 2007, Kayser performed some research and learned that 90 percent of veterinary clinics and hospitals in New Jersey do not provide 24-hour supervision. This prompted her to get to work on the legislation now known as Betsy’s Law. “I’m thrilled the law was passed, but I feel there shouldn’t be a need for legislation. Pets should not be neglected especially once in the vet’s care. That’s just the ethical way to look at it. If this law saves one pet’s life, then my hard work was worth it.”

Response of veterinarians

Some New Jersey veterinarians feel that Betsy’s Law protects the animals they hospitalize and also protects their practices from litigation. Dr. Fritz McHugh stated, “I will even have people sign it to the effect that there’s no one that will be watching their pet because my facility doesn’t have 24-hour care.”

Others are less enthusiastic about Betsy’s Law. Dr. Howard Silberman, veterinarian and owner of Tri-County Animal Hospital stated, “I think the whole situation is very sad and unfortunate for both the family and the animal hospital. No veterinarian expects something horrible like that to happen and I am sure they were devastated. However, the number of these horrific situations is minuscule.”

Dr. Silberman went on to explain that, overnight, most animals are generally just sleeping comfortably, and with the technology of fluid pumps, they can safely receive intravenous fluids without supervision.

In response to Dr. Silberman, I say, “b_ _ _ sh_ t!” (I’ve yet to use an expletive in a blog post, but I guess it’s about time!) I adamantly believe that round-the-clock care is a completely reasonable expectation for animals with issues significant enough to warrant hospitalization. Such animals are better off at home under the watchful eye of their human companions than they are left unsupervised for 12-plus hours in a hospital setting.

Unless profoundly ill or heavily sedated, most dogs left alone in a hospital for lengthy periods are not simply “sleeping comfortably.” Many are uncomfortable physically and/or psychologically, and this discomfort results in agitation, vocalizing, pacing, pawing, and/or jumping up at the front of their cage or run. This most certainly was the case for poor Betsy.

As to the notion that the number of deaths of unsupervised hospitalized animals is “miniscule,” Dr. Silberman you must know that such deaths do not feel miniscule to the shocked and dismayed individuals who believed that their pets were in capable and attentive hands.

I understand that Madeleine Kayser is working on a memoir about her painful journey to Betsy’s Law. This will be a must-read for me. Thank you to my reader, Amy who turned me on to Betsy’s Law.

Would you like to see legislation similar to Betsy’s Law in your home state?

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

 

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41 Comments on “Betsy’s Law: New Jersey Veterinarians Must Disclose Absence of Overnight Supervision for Hospitalized Patients

  1. Oh no. Cathy, I’m so very sorry. My heartfelt condolences are with you during this very difficult time. Which state do you live in? Perhaps you can orchestrate passage of “Teddy’s Law” there. Take good care. Dr. Nancy

  2. We just recently had our beloved family member pass away overnight while getting treatment for pancreatitis at a veterinary clinic that was advertised as a full service small animal hospital. I had been taking him there for 8 years and I stupidly assumed there would be someone there overnight should he ever have to be hospitalized. An assumption that will haunt me the rest of my life. There is nothing anywhere in the office stating that they don’t have anyone there at night nor was I told. Had I known I would have requested they transfer him to the emergency clinic that is open overnight and transferred back the next day and not at my expense. Our vet said that he would be ok and call him first thing the next day. Guess who wasn’t in the office at 7:30 the next morningwhen I called to check on teddy. Instead their office manager answers the phone I told her that I was checking in and I hear. I’m terribly sorry but teddy died overnight. I couldn’t even speak I was so hysterical. I had a necropsy performed because I needed to know what happened because the vet couldn’t give me an answer. The histopathology report came back with a diagnosis of died from complications of pancreatitis. I.e. an infection which is totally treatable but you kinda have to be there to treat it. When they take their oath it says do everything in their power to prevent pain and suffering and death. I don’t call everything walking out at 730 that night and no one there until 7 the next morning. I will have to live the rest of my life with the image of him being alone, frightened, wondering where are the people I told him that he would be ok. , and where was I especially when he felt his life slipping away. I promised him that I would be there when it was his time too, so all promises were broken. My husband and I are just devestated and I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how to prevent anyone else from going through this. I just need to know how to get this accomplished.

  3. Hi Corey,

    Thanks very much for reading my blog and then taking the time to post Milly’s story along with your insightful comments. I am truly so sorry for your loss- my heartfelt condolences are with you. Kudos to you for taking a stand in your grief, and doing what needed to be done. My heart breaks that this kind of thing happens so frequently. I cannot fathom how veterinarians continue to do this kind of thing.

    In terms of your question of how we make Betsy’s Law happen in every state- I’m not altogether sure. Perhaps Madeleine will weigh in on this.

    Warm best wishes,

    Dr. Nancy

  4. My heartfelt condolences to you Ann Marie.

  5. I want my dog supervised over night after surgery, or if seriously ill. I had a dog who was very ill and died alone over night. I do not want that to happen ever again

  6. I work at a 24/7 emergency vet hospital so I am used to staff being available always. Most of out local vets do not keep staff on overnight shifts to keep the cost low for their clients. I am glad a bill was passed that General Practice Vets need to post whether or not their patients will be supervised overnight. As always, the client should be able to make an informed decision when it comes to their pets care. Transfer to a clinic that is open 24/7 should always be an option to clients. Once again, taking into consideration, the financial aspect. Good job keeping the public informed about the safety and care of their beloved family members!!

  7. I work for a Vet as an LVT, we do not provide overnight care and we do keep animals overnight who are Ill. Many of our clients decline referrals to an Emergency Practice due to financial constraints and honestly quite a few of those people are not competent to provide over night care for their ill pet. I disagree with the contention that they will be distressed an anxious in every or even most cases. I have spent many nights at our practice due to bad weather, or having a late meeting (I live an hour+ away), I have walked the clinic in bare feet and my jammies at all hours and the majority of overnight patients are asleep and quiet if no one is bothering/stimulating them. Are there exceptions, of course and I have also brought a sick patient into the break room to sleep in the cage there to offer comfort and taken (with the owners permission) a post surgical cat home for a weekend because she was waking up slow, she needed a little close watching, and no one would be there for the next 4 hours.

    I don’t think this bill is a bad idea, I never lie to clients about there being someone at the clinic all night, and I do think an informed choice is a good thing. I object to the demonization of veterinarians in general made in some of the comments above. As a side note I had the joy of being a party to an investigation by the Veterinary Board of Governors and named in a law suit by a client who took their cat home against medical advise, refused treatment at an ER practice and rained the afore mentioned fun on us when her cat with a newly applied splint staggered off her second floor balcony and died. It was “our fault she died, we should have not let her take the cat home”. She lost her suit, I lost about 40 hours of work time and the cost of a lawyer which almost bankrupted me.

  8. Madeliene so very sorry this happened to you and your poor Rotie. Thank you for fighting so hard for this law I can not imagin how painful it must have been for you. When I lived in San Diego one of my dogs had an emergency surgery at a 24 hr emergency clinic they called me at 12.30 am just after the surgery so I could go see her and stay with her. Another one of my girls needed emergency surgery they let me stay with her after the surgery they were big dogs in large kennels big enough for me to sit with them every dog should have that kind of care they said the animals were calmer with thier person with them. Were I live now there”s a 24 hr emergency clinic about 7 miles away. Don’t be afraid to ask questions I had one vet tell me not to feed a raw diet oh that’s not healthy he said I said I have done this for years, you just told me how healthy what a lovely coat he has for an older dog.

  9. What a horrible tragedy for Betsy & her family. I’m grateful theyve turned their tragic loss into something that will help other families avoid such tragedy. My Vet here in Phoenix now has a sign up about NO overnight monitoring. They used to have someone come in once in the middle of the night but that person left the practice. Such an important message!
    Love & biscuits
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  10. I have no idea if this is a law in my state (Washington). I plan to find out, even though I have never left my babies overnight . It seems only conscientious to me that a vet would inform clients if there is supervision, when they are recommending the patient stay overnight. In fact, how are there vets anywhere who think it’s OK to leave them alone after surgery? Such a person would never be my vet, guaranteed.
    Thank you Betsy, I’m sorry you had to lose your life for this law to be passed. Thank you Madeline for never giving up on getting it done. And thank you, Dr Kay, for bringing this to the attention of so many. I’m sure the information has or will save lives.

  11. Thanks to Madeleine for pushing through this law!

    It has always shocked me that vets would even consider leaving sick animals unsupervised and shocked even more when they try to argue that it is best for the animal. I pick up the pet and take them to an overnight emergency clinic if I feel that the animal needs more professional care than I can give them at home. I always inform the vet that my animal needs to have surgery early in the day so that they are recovered enough to go home with me at the end of the day. I have never left a pet unattended at a clinic. I barely trust them when the dogs ARE supervised. In today’s world we need to question everything and advocate for our pets the same way we advocate for human family members. Never leave your dog is the advice I give my friends and students.

  12. My question has been answered…..to ask the vet about supervision and to be prepared to take the dog home for supervision even if against their recommendations.

  13. This is a good law. This law just requires disclosure – it allows the pet owner to make an intelligent decision about the care for their pet. I can’t for the life of me imagine how that can be a bad thing. It protects the vet as well as the owner. Personally, I would not choose to leave my pet unattended if he or she were so ill that they could not come home. I would choose to take them to an emergency clinic with 24 hour staff. The only reason to oppose this law is if you wish to deceive owners into believing their pet are being supervised in the clinic when they aren’t, which is unacceptable.

  14. First let me say that I’m so very sorry for the loss of your girl Betsy.On March 21, 2014 I brought my 5 year old German Shepherd Milly to the Calumet Animal Clinic for a spay surgery. I had asked her Vet and his staff several times if I could please bring her home after her surgery. I was told she needed to stay for observation. I asked if someone would be there and I was told not to worry that my girl would be well taken care of. Someone would check on her periodically through the night. On March 22, 2014 I recieved a phone call from Milly’s vet Dr. Matthews that Milly died. She had bled to death. I told you left her alone didn’t you! His response to my was “If I had to pay someone to take care of these animals all night your bill would have been $1000.00 instead of what you would have paid”. Milly was taken from that Animal Clinic and Brought to another animal hospital where a necropsy was performed. 2 hemo clips were found floating in her abdomen. Clips that were too small for a dog her size. They also found she had been dead 8-12 hours which meant she was never checked on. I filed a Civil Lawsuit right away. We had found out during court depositions that this vet had taught his receptionists how to do surgeries. It was one of them that killed my Milly. Milly has her own Facebook page called JUSTICE FOR MILLY DAFNIS. Through that page we have found out so much more about the neglet and abuse that went on at the Calumet Animal Clinic. 2 of my gials were to see the clinic close their doors for good and that Dr. Matthews give up his Veterinarian License. In April 2015 the Calumet Animal Clinic closed their doors . By the request of the Illinois Department of Financial and Proffesional Regulation Dr. Matthews surrendered his License never to practice again. There is so much more to Milly’s story. My fight continues. You’ve fought long and hard for Betsy and because of your fight you and your girl have saved so many others. Betsy’s Law needs to pass in every state. How do we make this happen?

  15. I worked in the veterinary field for 21 years though not in
    private practice (service dogs). When a dog needed to be watched overnight, we took it it the local emergency clinic, which is only open at night.
    I knew of a local private practice vet who told clients their pet needed to stay overnight for observation – and no one was there to observe their beloved pet. One of the vets there told me the other vet kept animals overnight (which pads the bill), he lived 2 blocks away & would supposidly check in. Those animals are NOT under observation and need to be watched at the Emergency Hospital.
    Clients need to be clearly told (& perhaps sign off acknowledging they were told).
    Never leave an animal overnight unless there will be a vet on-staff and that it can be guaranteed.

  16. I am so sorry for Madeleine’s untimely and unnecessary loss of her beloved Betsy. What a horrifying and heartbreaking story. I am truly sorry for your loss.

    I am glad to see this law and I would certainly welcome it in my state. Or any state, for that matter!!!

    IMO, to not inform clients that nobody is on site and that no care will be provided is an abuse of trust, since the implication of “overnight hospital” is that there will, indeed, be on site care. Further, it’s unethical to patronizingly pressure clients to leave pets overnight by implying that they will get superior care over home care when there is, in fact, nobody at all to care in any way.

    It is fairly common around here to not staff after hours. It’s an added personnel cost, while the overnight hospital is a $$$ profit center. I understand that’s business, and that’s fine, but be honest about it and up front. And if there’s no staff, don’t try to BS clients that the hospital is going to provide better care. If there isn’t someone there to so much as potty my dog, I’ll never be convinced that my dog is receiving superior health care.

    To be fair, in my experience, the heaviest pressure has come from the front desk. Vets might consider training their front desk teams to interact honestly and cooperatively with clients, and not just on this particular issue. Of course, they could simply fork over the cash and hire an overnight attendant.

    The response of the vet who supports unattended overnight care made my skin crawl. Can I reach through the computer and slap him somehow? Why is that man even a vet?

  17. I echo your sentiment ““b_ _ _ sh_ t!” , Dr. Nancy. You are a trailblazer! Thank you for disclosing this issue and inspiring so many dog parents to properly protect their beloved pets.

  18. Thankfully I had your book, “Speaking for Spot” prior to having my Cavalier King Charles, Lily, spade. I adamantly told the vet she would not be staying overnight. We picked her up and brought her home. She always needs to go out in the night. She had a belly band covering her stitches plus the cone on her neck. We took her back the next morning to have her stitches checked again and the belly band taken off. All was well. We are lucky to have a 24 hour emergency hospital which is connected to Iowa State Vet School in our area that we can use for other situations.

  19. Until a few years ago, I assumed that someone qualified would always be present when animals were left overnight in a veterinary setting. I don’t understand how it can be otherwise. This law is a positive step in the right direction. Everyone who has a pet owes a debt of gratitude to Betsy’s person for pushing forward on this. We now need to ensure that this becomes the law in every state! Thank you Dr. Kay for sharing this story. Your reaction to Dr. Silberman’s comment is what I would hope every caring veterinarian would express.

  20. KT, you’re misunderstanding Dr. McHugh.
    He has supported me from day one. He’s been my primary vet since that happened in 2007, because I had to stop going to my primary vet at the time if I didn’t want that poor guy dragged into court. He truly is as good as gold. I asked him to be at the bill signing. He’s a great vet- he proudly displays that picture which I gladly gave to him, he has “Betsy’s Law” in a frame off of the NJ Legislation sight,proudly displayed next to the picture, and has the sign up as it is required by law and it’s on his sign in sheet. Truly- he is the most honest and caring veterinarian I’ve ever met. I’m grateful that he backed me. You need to watch the CBS News clip. He got a HUGE from me… He truly is first class. I promise!

  21. Vets should also be required to inform you if your pet will be transferred for overnight supervision. Our trusted vet had recently retired, and after surgery, our cat was left at the clinic overnight as directed by the new vet. In the middle of the night, we received a call from an emergency vet clinic, one that had a terrible reputation in our area, that our cat had pulled out his catheter (great supervision, right?). Our vet clinic, which had discontinued overnight supervision without telling us, had shipped our cat to another facility for the night without our approval. Of course, I was glad someone had caught the problem & I was happy to authorize and pay for the correction, but really? I asked the vet and he said it was appropriate. I found out later, he was a co-owner in the emergency clinic.

  22. I believe that this should be a law in ALL states, plain and simple. In my opinion, Dr. Howard Silberman’s quote is callously frightening. Why do people like that get into this field in the first place?

    Quite honestly, until Dr. Nancy Kay’s book, I had always ignorantly assumed someone from the staff would be there overnight. I believe it is misleading and an abuse of position, if it is not posted prominently somewhere in the facility, in addition to informing the patients guardians of this most pertinent information. Once again, thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    To Madeleine, I am truly sorry for your loss. Betsy did not pass in vain. Many countless animals may now avoid suffering due to your diligence and compassion in getting this law passed. Thank you on their behalf.

  23. I again commend you Dr Kay for bringing this particular subject to us. I have never had a pet have to stay overnight at my vet’s, but since reading your book where you bring up this very topic, I did question my vet about if someone was present for overnight care. I was told “no”there was not
    someone there 24/7 although someone was there after hours and early to feed and clean, etc. This is a very well run,well staffed clinic with many assistants too! I think the vet was somewhat surprised with my question and him having to admit there was no one there all night. I so agree with what you also said in your post. Most animals will not just sleep in comfort. Besides being in a strange smelling place with other strange animals, they are feeling ill or recovering from something which already makes them uncomfortable.. Everyone should have your book and be an advocate for their animals care. We need to do this for ourselves with our own medical treatment and we most certainly need to do this for animals in our care.

  24. Although no amount of comments, condolences and/or responses, could ever undo or relieve the pain these poor people are going through over the un-necessary loss of their beautiful puppy, I do feel so, so, very sad & bad for them. I am lucky enough to have a vet that stated CLEARLY that there are no vets and/or vet techs on duty at night and in most cases, feel the pet would do better at home over night with their owners but if that is not a viable option, they STRONGLY advised when they close to bring your pet to the nearby emergency vet, where it could be monitored all night until they reopened in the morning. This is what SHOULD have been done in the case of this poor Rottie. Although, it is an added expense, I feel worth the price. Just my 2 cents worth. :-/

  25. The clinic where I work does not provide overnight care, period. We refer anyone who has to leave a pet overnight to one of the emergency clinics in the state that do have personnel on board all night. All of our post surgical patients go home with their owners by late afternoon each day with written and verbal post op instructions and the numbers to the emergency clinics. I can’t imagine leaving any pet, but especially a dog unsupervised. Mine have all been restless and confused the night of their procedures, and I’ve always been with them. So, yes, I feel it should be made perfectly clear to clients that a clinic does not provided supervised care overnight.

  26. Not only are there medical emergencies when pets are left unattended. Several years ago in upstate South Carolina, a large number of pets left “hospitalized” at an unattended vet’s office ended up perishing due to a fire. If a staff member would have been on hand, this would not have happened. Betsy’s Law should be the law of the land.

  27. When I found out years ago that my Vet has no one there over night, I never leave a sick pet. There are to many things that can go wrong with no one there to watch. If my pet is to sick to come home then I transfer to the local ER Vet. My Vet knows I am capable of taking care of my pet and know when to go to the ER if my dog came home for the night. All Vets should transfer to an ER Vet if they don’t have overnight help and the animal needs to be watched.

  28. Hi Madeleine. Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts with my readers. I know it has been several years, but I don’t think it is too late to tell you that my heartfelt condolences are with you. Perhaps the silver lining is that Betsy will be a catalyst for empowering people to become better medical advocates for their pets. This has certainly been a mission of mine through my writing. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in your endeavors to educate. Dr. Nancy

  29. Hi everybody, and thank you Dr. Kay for this blog on Betsy’s Law. The truth is I was called after her procedure by the veterinarian that afternoon telling me that she needed overnight supervision. I had a bad feeling (always follow your gut) about leaving her but then thought, well, he’s the doctor, he knows what he is talking about. He lied to me. He has closed his business and went to work for another veterinarian- like most people, probably didn’t check him out. He was recommended; no different than MOST people that ask friends and family, “Who is your veterinarian?” or even, “Who is your pediatrician?” Let’s say you bring your beloved pet in for a neuter or spay and told, “Pick him/her up tomorrow morning.” Most people think nothing of it. I’ve gotten countless messages by veterinary technicians telling me that IV lines strangle pets, catheters get ripped out and they bleed to death. Betsy didn’t have to die, especially so painfully. She was just sixteen months old. See, beloved pet owners just don’t know. However, this law is only as good as those veterinarians that comply. It’s against the law to drink and drive but people still drive drunk and wipe out innocent families. However, now I am finding out there is that loop hole where suddenly vets are now “boarding”. The law doesn’t cover that. I plan on getting it amended. Pets die EVERYNIGHT due to lack of supervision. Why? To collect a fictitious overnight fee. My fee would have been $150.00. Let’s say Betsy’s vet housed 10 pets that night. That is $1500 bucks. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, once a veterinarian has chosen to take the case and take care of the pet, the pet is not to be neglected (italicized with emphasis). My Betsy was neglected. If vets enjoy collecting that extra revenue, why can’t they give somebody a job to oversee their “BOARDED” pets? I would be interested to see how many folks disagree with that concept. Thank you Dr. Kay, speakingforspot.com for sharing my story. You can contact me at anytime. Respectfully, Madeleine Kayser, “Betsy’s owner”.

  30. I agree any animal needing to be hospitalized needs to have competent staff 24/7. When my previous vet wanted to keep my Sheba overnight, he explained that no one was in the building, but that he monitored via video cameras and lived close by & would come in if there was a problem. I respectfully told him that she would only be spending the night where there was 24 hour care & where I could call at 2:00 am to get an update if I felt the need. At my request, He agreed to refer me to the ER & specialty clinic who did have 24 hour care. He agreed that was the gold standard of care and understood my position. That was in Arizona. I currently live in SC. I do not know the state of the law, but all of my vets have signs posted that they do not have 24 hour care. So, my dogs will either always come home with me or we will go the ER & speciality clinic where there is overnight care. I can’t believe people who own boarding facilities do not have overnight staff, which is also why I use pet sitters that spend the night at my house when I am gone.

  31. I have not left my dogs overnight at our vet because I feel like I can best watch them myself when they are in familiar surroundings. After surgeries I have the cell number of the vet who did the surgery, that’s how the clinic that I go to handles it. It’s a bit scary to take a dog home that was spayed which means abdominal surgery and the closest animal ER is over an hour away. If there ever was a time when one of my dogs truly needed hospitalization I would leave them at the Veterinary Referral Center that is open 24 hours and if any of my dogs needed orthopedic surgery again I would probably leave them there as it was physically almost impossible for me to deal with a 120 lbs dog and a 140 lbs dog the first 24 hours after their knee surgeries.

  32. This is awful. I’m still crying while I write this. Nancy, I was already at WTF moment reading Dr. Silberman’s statement wondering how you were going to handle this. I’m not surprised at your cursing as I was doing the same.

    As a vet tech for one year, in the mid 70’s, I was shocked that there was no overnight care and that vets actually encouraged people to leave their pets overnight. I’ve also come in the next morning w/ iv’s ripped out and dogs so agitated that there was saliva all over the floor and why at that moment, I quit and never left my dogs overnight. Who could care for my pet better than me? Unless it was a 24 hr care facility where pets are monitored no one should leave their pet. Transferring them if they need overnight care would be best.

    This is tragic and yes I would be up for that in very single state. Still reeling from this story and wished I hadn’t read it before I go to bed. :(

    Thanks for your courage to put this out there and the courage of Betsy’s mom for doing what’s right and making a huge difference at large.

  33. “round-the-clock care is a completely reasonable expectation for animals with issues significant enough to warrant hospitalization. Such animals are better off at home under the watchful eye of their human companions than they are left unsupervised for 12-plus hours in a hospital setting.”
    Why would any capable person leave a dog in need of care at a place where no one will be present for 12-15 hours??? I can only assume that most of these people do not realize that they are paying for their pet to be neglected.
    I remember decades ago, when my dog needed emergency surgery late in the afternoon. After she woke up, my vet had me take her to a 24 hour hospital where she would be cared for 24 hours a day; and the young vet who took over the practice after he retired does have a notice on the hospitalization form that there is no one there at night. It is unconscionable NOT to clearly notify a customer that there will be no care in a “hospital”…in fact, I cannot imagine why any vet without 24 hour staffing would recommend keeping an animal overnight, unless the pet parent was incapable of caring for an injured pet.
    I would NEVER leave my animals unsupervised overnight!!!

    Any vet who keeps ill animals overnight should either have someone there all 24 hours, or have the pet parent sign a statement that they know there is no one there at night. A sign somewhere in the office is NOT sufficient.

  34. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments Ellen. As your pet’s medical advocate, it is super important to ask the right questions (why I wrote a book called Speaking for Spot!). I think that where people get confused is when veterinarians discuss overnight “hospitalization.” They make the unfortunate assumption that the term hospitalization involves supervision.

  35. I think it’s incumbent on responsible owners to *ask* before agreeing to leave an animal overnight at any facility. I’m very happy with my vet, but he does not provide overnight supervision for animals left in his care. I understand this because I asked on my first visit, and he understands that I will not leave an animal with him overnight. I’m happy to sit up all night if necessary to provide care and supervision to my animals, and the vet is willing to send me home with any needed equipment or medications. This system works for me, but folks who aren’t comfortable doing post-op care should keep asking until they find a facility that provides 24-hour care.

  36. The short answer is yes, I would like to see such a law enacted in my state (Kansas). But I would take it one step further. Any facility, be they veterinary clinic/hospital or boarding facility that houses pets overnight should be required to have trained overnight care in place. I would define “trained” as staff having background in animal care and basic first aid. I can’t imagine leaving a healthy animal in a place with no overnight supervision.

  37. Wish this law was in my state Texas. Volunteering with rescue, we know first-hand that round the clock care makes a difference and can be the critical component to life or death. If no one is going to be there, take your pet home!

  38. Since reading Speaking for Spot, my dogs get 24-hour TLC from M.O.M. after surgery. I there will be no more Betsy’s dying alone and afraid in clinics.

  39. After using a vet who had her office in her home, but drastically scaled back her practice in recent years, I have finally given in to using a veterinary clinic that is also a regional emergency clinic. They have a business model of “always being available,” so if my animals need to stay, they are watched through the overnight hours. They cost a bit more, but the peace of mind is priceless. This law should be everywhere! People need to know this about there vet & if they are a 24/7 office & not assume.

  40. Crikey! I cannot believe what I’m reading. There are vets who recommend their clients pay for a medical board because of a need for observation/supervision and then do not staff someone overnight to do that observing/supervising? WTF? Every single one of them should be sued for malpractice.

    Liz, I hope you find another vet immediately.

  41. My dog had to had to have a lump removed. After the surgery was complete the Vet called to tell me the surgery was finished and that she wanted to keep my dog overnight for observation. Well, luckily I purchased “Speaking for Spot” so I knew to ask who would be on staff overnight to watch my beloved pup. To my horror the vet said, “No one”! I took my dog home that night and slept in the same room with her.

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