The Investigators: Vetting your vet

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Your pet's health, your hard-earned money and your peace of mind are all at stake when it comes to taking your pet to the vet.  So how do you know who you are really dealing with?

A Mid-South couple said their dog was tortured by a doctor they trusted and now they are looking for a new veterinarian.

For 11 years, Dan Mannon and his dog Inky were inseparable.  But last November, Inky got sick and started having seizures.

"She got to where she couldn't even walk," Mannon said.

After all other treatments failed, Mannon and his girlfriend Tina had to make a tough decision.  They talked to their vet about having Inky put to sleep.

"He reassured me three or four times that she's not going to feel anything," Mannon said.  "But it didn't happen like that at all."

Mannon said the nightmare of Inky's final moments began when technicians could not locate her vein.

"She pushed herself up," said Mannon, "and sounded like a wolf howling."

According to Mannon, what the vet did to Inky next was horrifying.

"He flipped her over real quick and he stuck the needle right in her heart," Mannon said.  "Of course she's still hollering and carrying on and I'm thinking, 'somebody kill me,' you know?"

Mannon vowed to replace his vet, which is a task that could take some time.  Here is how to get started:

Click here to research whether a vet has a record of violations and criminal judgments in Tennessee.

Click here to view violation records in Arkansas.

Click here for public records submitted in writing to the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.

When investigators researched Mannon's vet, they found he had a clean record.  That is proof that you should rely on more than just paperwork when picking a vet.

Dr. Chuck Halford, former Director of the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, recommended old-fashioned methods for finding a vet.

"You should ask your friends who they've been going to for years and who has a good reputation," Halford said.  "Reputation is earned."

Get more than one opinion, then call a vet's office and ask for a tour and interview the doctor.  Experts also said use your nose.  If there is an overwhelming stench in the office, move on.  You should also find out if the veterinarian is a member of any veterinary organizations.

"Google your veterinarian's name and see what comes up," Halford said.  "You'd be surprised."

Keep in mind compassion is as important as experience, particularly when a pet has to be put down.

"You rarely hear a bad story ... about that," Halford said.  "That's usually where people just realize my doctor ... really loved me that day."

Mannon did not feel loved the day he lost Inky.  He said his old vet let him down.

"I've taken a lot in my life, but I'm going to tell you what, that right there hurt me bad," Mannon said.  "I trusted him."

Mannon said he will use these tips when looking for a new vet.  He said Inky's passing was more like torture for him and his dog.

"She didn't deserve that," Mannon said.  "She was too good of a dog."

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