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Petworth Animal Hosp. in DC: avoid for all but very basic stuff

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  • Petworth Animal Hosp. in DC: avoid for all but very basic stuff

    My best friend had a horrifying experience with her 9 year old DSH kitty at Petworth Animal Hospital in Washington DC. She wants to let others in the area know about this:

    If your animal needs vaccinations or a flea dip, go there. It's cheap.
    Do not go for medical help.
    Dr. Thornburgh nearly killed my cat earlier this month. In the process, he tortured her.

    Facts: I brought her in as an emergency. Thornburgh immediately identified a bowel obstruction (she had swallowed something) and said he'd do a barium swallow the next day. He didn't. When I called, his wife (the receptionist) said I could get my cat Friday. I called the next day. She told me that my cat was dying of kidney failure and I needed to put her down. When I went in, the Dr. snapped at me when I asked how my cat went from healthy on Saturday to "acute" kidney failure, and why he hadn't removed the obstruction. My husband persuaded him to operate, which he waited 24 hours to do-- making it 72 hours with no treatment other than fluids. When his staff refused to tell me whether she had even survived, I arranged to take her to another hospital. They tried to stop me and would not release my cat without my husband's consent -- Thornburgh won't look me in the eye or use my correct surname-- he gave my husband's two years ago. When I asked if she could survive transport, he responded that I had a balance to pay. I finally got my cat away. When I got her to McLean Animal Hosp, the doctor immediately saw that a string was still stuck in my cat's mouth, lacerating the tongue. There was a raging infection on her tongue. Thornburgh's own lab results showed no kidney failure. He made it up. The records and her mouth showed that he also HAD DONE ABDOMINAL SURGERY WITHOUT ANESTHESIA, relying on the mild sedatives he used for the barium swallow.

    It's amazing that she survived. Thank you McLean Animal Hospital for saving her.

    Dr. Thornburgh provides a valuable service by spaying, neutering, and vaccinating alley cats in DC, but he should not be trusted to do anything else.
    The cat is recovering, but is lucky to be alive, as much because of Petworth's treatment as for the obstruction. She turned out to have swallowed some thread, which got wrapped around her tongue as well.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


  • #2
    Holy crap.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow! I live in the area so I'm glad you shared this info. Jingles to your friend's cat.

      Comment


      • #4
        There's an old saying that somebody has to graduate last in their class. And apparently they put their spouses to work at the front desk.

        Comment


        • #5
          I hope your friend is going to report this abuse to the District licensing board. This is horrifying.

          Here is their website. Please give it to your friend.

          http://hpla.doh.dc.gov/hpla/cwp/view...5,q,496989.asp
          I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            guin, I agree with you, but my friend says that this (awful) vet does very very cheap spay and neuters and vaccinations for the feral cat rescue people, and that if she busted him, those cats would have no place affordable to go for very basic care. I don't agree, but I understand what she's saying..... :-(
            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

            Comment


            • #7
              Lori?

              I hate telling this story but I think it fits. I grew up in Cedar Rapids, IA. The local humane society price shopped for the spay/neuter. I happened to already work at a higher end veterinary hospital (we did bid on the project) but I was also still in HS and got a tour through the hospital that was chosen.

              I saw cats tied down getting spayed w/o anesthesia. They just gave them something to get them relaxed enough to tie down...then did the procedure w/o anesthesia.

              As a 17YO, I reported the clinic. But THAT is why they could do the "cheapest" spay and neuters. They were reusing syringes, reusing instruments, and not using anesthesia!!!!

              I'm not sure that "cheap" spay/neuter is a good thing if the basic protocols aren't followed. I worked at my clinic for nearly 10 years and we had case after case come from that other clinic with all sorts of isssues. They are still in business. DON'T GO TO EDGEWOOD ANIMAL HOSPITAL in CR, IA!

              Sick. Just sick.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                You're right, BuddyRoo, I'll talk to her again about it.
                I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                Comment


                • #9
                  Buddyroo, you are creeping me out with this. My mom adopted two of the litter I fostered for our no-kill, and while fostering I took three of them up to a clinic doing very cheap speuters for the shelter. One became ill with fever/malaise within a couple of days. He recovered, but now that same cat, age 5, has had a bout of terrible oral disease - there's talk of FIV possibly, though the cat has never been outside and his littermate is fine. Now I'm wondering about the actual procedures at that place.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've seen male cats neutered under just IV/IM sedation with mask gas anesthia. Most of the local places here that do low cost spay/neuter are actually animal shelters as well and having been to both to help with spay/netuer-a-thons even they follow basic protocol. All dogs and female cats get IV premed sedation and then trach tubed and put under gas anesthia. All of them also were monitored with at least a heart rate monitor/SPO2 lead. They always used new surgery packs that were autoclaved.. dirty instruments went into a soaking bucket until they could be cleaned and the unused/clean stuff set aside to be repacked. Dirty trach tubes were placed in cleaning solution after being removed. Nothing was ever reused for another patient unless it had been cleaned/sterilized in any of the multiple times I have been to local places.
                    The male cats occasionally just get IV sedation as it takes about 5 minutes to neuter a male cat... they may have also been tubed, but honestly can't remember. That said unless I was tight for cash I don't think I'd ever take one of my own animals for them to do, not that I've ever seen anything wrong done at any of them. Also as a note most of them, as far as I know, do not send home any pain medication though some is given prior to the procedure. Yes occasionally there are some animals that have something come up wrong, but they are doing 30-40/day where most day clinics only do between 2-4 surgeries/day... the numbers of complications probably come out to about the same percentage.

                    I would definitely report that clinic... just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's right.. it's cruelty to the animals. It CAN be done cheaply, efficiently, AND correctly.

                    MizzouMom- were the kittens ever tested for FIV? Usually you can't test until kittens are 6 months old. Although apparently mom can have FIV and not transmit it to the kittens. If there is talk about FIV then why don't you just test for it so you know.. they have 3DX snap tests (just like the dog HW test kits) that will test for heartworms, leukemia, and FIV. Generally I think it costs anywhere from $38 to $45 in my area.
                    Custom Painted Brushes: spcustombrushes@gmail.com
                    http://www.facebook.com/pages/SP-Cus...75042339173555

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are TONS of ways to anesthetize a cat (or dog, horse, cow, pig, person, etc).
                      Injectables are common, and ARE anethestics. And there are lots of combinations and options available. Do I agree with all of them? No. Do I use some of them? Yes.

                      Trust me, you can NOT spay a cat with just a a sedative and "no anesthesia". No way, no how. It is not possible.

                      When I was doing my residency I had a cat that had something broken in the back end (pelvis, leg, something). Otherwise healthy cat. Surgeon wanted to do it with just an epidural. You know, like in people. I was a 2nd yr resident and this sounded like a really cool idea!! The epidural was perfect. However the cat was awake (mildly sedated) and wanted no part of this crap of laying still on a table, tied or not. He couldn't feel a thing regarding the surgery so that was not the issue. He just had no interest in staying put. Wound up having to anesthetize him, in the OR, while the surgeon was still doing surgery.

                      So tieing down a sedated cat to a table and cutting its belly open and pulling out a uterus, etc, is NOT going to happen. Trust me.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                        There are TONS of ways to anesthetize a cat (or dog, horse, cow, pig, person, etc).
                        Injectables are common, and ARE anethestics. And there are lots of combinations and options available. Do I agree with all of them? No. Do I use some of them? Yes.

                        Trust me, you can NOT spay a cat with just a a sedative and "no anesthesia". No way, no how. It is not possible.

                        When I was doing my residency I had a cat that had something broken in the back end (pelvis, leg, something). Otherwise healthy cat. Surgeon wanted to do it with just an epidural. You know, like in people. I was a 2nd yr resident and this sounded like a really cool idea!! The epidural was perfect. However the cat was awake (mildly sedated) and wanted no part of this crap of laying still on a table, tied or not. He couldn't feel a thing regarding the surgery so that was not the issue. He just had no interest in staying put. Wound up having to anesthetize him, in the OR, while the surgeon was still doing surgery.

                        So tieing down a sedated cat to a table and cutting its belly open and pulling out a uterus, etc, is NOT going to happen. Trust me.
                        Curare?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sounds like a vet that was in Alamogordo NM when I lived there. He misdiagnosed my Cocker with pneumonia, when she had Congestive Heart failure. I later found out he had 8 complaints with teh State vet board and 3 criminal cases pending for veterinary malpractice. He was performing surgeries using only a paralytic, with no anesthetic. He also botched a crypt neuter on a Boxer, and had him fall off the table suring surgery, then removed 8" of intestine, and used barbed staples internally to reattach the intestine to each other. The dog got peritonitus, and the vet refused to tell the owner what happened, and just kept telling him the dog wasn't ready to go home.

                          On the 4th day, the owner basically forced his way into the back of the vet clinic where he found his dog practically lifeless, laying in a pool of blood. He raced the dog to another vet who told him the dog had a raging infection, and he needed to do surgery to see why, but didn't think the dog could survive the surgery. So he asked the owner to try to get info from the vet that performed the neuter. That''s when he was told about the intestine/drugs used. Second vet operated and found the barbed staples. Dog didn't survive.

                          OP- Tell your friend to file a formal complaint with the State Vet Board.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            CarolinaGirl, though the cat was at the shelter past 6 months of age, I doubt he was tested for FIV five years ago. They have always tested for feluk, and now do test for FIV, as it has increasingly been on the radar.

                            I'm getting the report on this kitty second hand through my 83-year-old mom, and my own searching turned up the FIV connection with oral disease. I told mom there was a test for it, but when she inquired of the clinic they implied that they had done some testing, the test was "not clear" and started talking FIP to her instead, which I don't think is as suspect with oral problems. So God only knows what's going on. At least the cat is doing well post extractions.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                              Curare?
                              Ok, that will let them tie the cat down. However, unless the cat is intubated and ventilated, the cat won't live!!
                              ;-)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                He was performing surgeries using only a paralytic, with no anesthetic.
                                I hear this bit about only using a paralytic all the time. If the vet is as incompetent as the rest of the story implies, then using just a paralytic is more than they can handle!! It means having to intubate them and ventilate them to keep them alive until the drug wears off. Too much time, too labor intensive.

                                More than likely the drug that being used was ketamine, not an actual "paralytic".

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                                  I hear this bit about only using a paralytic all the time. If the vet is as incompetent as the rest of the story implies, then using just a paralytic is more than they can handle!! It means having to intubate them and ventilate them to keep them alive until the drug wears off. Too much time, too labor intensive.

                                  More than likely the drug that being used was ketamine, not an actual "paralytic".
                                  You could be right. It was about 17 yrs ago, so my memory is foggy. The paralytic only was based on testimony from his trial, but I don't remember the drug. I just know that it didn't offer any pain relief.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Guin View Post
                                    I hope your friend is going to report this abuse to the District licensing board. This is horrifying.

                                    Here is their website. Please give it to your friend.

                                    http://hpla.doh.dc.gov/hpla/cwp/view...5,q,496989.asp
                                    Yeah, this is a bigger deal than warning pet owners even on the internet. Some officials need to know about a situation this fubar.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I am about to throw up after reading this.
                                      I worked for a small animal vet for awhile and know they gave IV anesthesia for all surgeries. but I remember they did neuters in one room which was more an exam room, and spays in a real OR. ??? Our low cost spay/neuter is affiliated but not in the same place as the Humane Shelter but both are generously funded and oh my LORD I hope they give proper anesthesia. I have taken five animals there and all seemed very above board, they all did great and I've never heard of any horrible experiences related to the facility, other than tales of kennel cough. Now I am totally freaked out. Damn the vet at the place the OP spoke about and I invoke the Rotting Pustulous Testicle Disease on him.
                                      SPAY/NEUTER/RESCUE/ADOPT!
                                      Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
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                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        This is terrifying and sounds like it's out of a horror movie. I cannot. imagine.

                                        Jeezzzzzzuz

                                        Now I want to be in the OR when my retired male finally gets his brain surgery... it may be worth a drive and $$$ to get it done where I really know the staff and can be in the OR.

                                        I'm going to have nightmares now.

                                        Comment

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