Lexi Was By No Means the First Cat to Be Lost by Woosehill Vets Any More Than Angel Was Their Last Victim of a Botched Sterilization
"But I don't think she (Brown) should question our competence because we have been performing this kind of surgery for many years and never had any problems. We are trying to run a successful and first-class clinic and people are happy to use us."
-- manager of Woosehill Vets
For individuals who dearly love their cats Woosehill Vets in Emmview Close, Woosehill, Berkshire, is an establishment to be avoided like the plague. Within just the past year, for example, it has allowed at least two cats to escape through open windows in addition to badly botching at least two routine sterilizations.
The unbelievably slipshod practices and intolerably poor level of care dispensed by the practitioners at Woosehill recently came to light when twenty-four-year-old Maria Brown of nearby Woodley dropped off her two-year-old cat, Lexi, to be neutered and his sibling, Angel, to be spayed on June 2nd. (See photo above of Lexi.)
For starters, the vets inexplicably allowed Lexi to escape through an open window and, although there have been several recent sightings of him, he to this day remains among the missing. Adding insult to injury, Woosehill had the bloody cheek to attempt to fob off on Brown a rabbit in place of Lexi when she returned the next day in order to collect him.
Since Brown has been too distraught to speak to the press, her friend, Julie Bobb, has been serving as her spokesperson. "Maria is very upset," she told the Daily Telegraph on June 7th. (See "Cat Flees from Surgery to Avoid the Snip.") "To be honest, the vet was very vague and we were there about three hours. They were dithering around and didn't realize that the cat was missing."
The vets also neglected to fit Angel with an Elizabethan collar and as the result she removed one of the sutures and began to hemorrhage. That forced Brown to rush her to another surgery in order to have the wound properly closed.
Despite losing Lexi and nearly killing Angel, the unidentified head honcho of Woosehill has remained unbowed and unrepentant. "But I don't think she (Brown) should question our competence because we have been performing this kind of surgery for many years and never had any problems," he swore with a straight face to the Wokingham Times on June 3rd. (See "Cat Owner Left Distraught after Vet Loses Pet.") "We are trying to run a successful and first-class clinic and people are happy to use us."
If subsequent revelations are any indication of the level of care that cats receive at Woosehill, the only venue that their owners are going to want to meet these vets in is a court of law where they are standing in the dock! For her part, Brown already has reported these two incidents to both the RSPCA and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
Malheureusement, if Blaydon Burn resident Heather Irwin's ordeal with the RCVS is representative of the lax oversight that body exercises Brown most likely is wasting both her time and money. In that horrific case, Silke Birgitt Lindridge of Consett Veterinary Center in Consett, County Durham, nearly killed Irwin's seven-year-old cat, Felix, by improperly setting his broken left leg.
Yet when Irwin complained to the RCVS it suspended Lindridge for only three months and that was for neglecting to pay her dues! (See Cat Defender post of June 17, 2010 entitled "Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues.")
As far as it is known, Angel survived her close call with the Grim Reaper and since has recovered. Sadly, the same cannot be said for one-year-old Oscar from Crowthorne in Bracknell Forest.
On June 21st, his owner, Kathryn Ryan, dropped him off at Woosehill Vets in order to be neutered. A few hours later she received a telephone call from the surgery informing her that he had died on the operating table.
"I did not find them competent -- when asking how this had happened, looking for an explanation..." she told the Wokingham Times on June 24th. (See "Pet Owner's Fury after Another Cat Escapes.") "'I don't know' was all that was repeated over and over."
The good-hearted vets did offer, however, to give her another cat. Apparently they were fresh out of rabbits that day.
Whereas the air outside generally is purer than that indoors, the vets at Woosehill apparently place a higher premium on fresh air than they do on feline safety because Lexi was by no means the first cat that they carelessly have allowed to scamper through an open window. Par exemple, an identical fate befell six-year-old Buffy in July of last year.
After she was bitten by another animal, her owner, seventy-five-year-old Muriel Horsnell of Heelas Road in Wokingham, took Buffy to Woosehill for treatment and that was the last that she ever saw of her beloved companion. She did extensive fly-posting and searched high and low but her efforts were all in vain.
"She was there for a couple of nights," Horsnell told the Wokingham Times in the June 24th article cited supra. "Early morning we received a phone call from the vet to say he was very sorry. He was cleaning out the cage and our cat escaped through an open window."
Fiona Brackley of Twyford, also in Berkshire, is another dissatisfied former client of Woosehill Vets. In December of last year, she took Samba to the surgery for treatment of dehydration and kidney trouble.
Although it is unclear what transpired during those visits, Brackley soon became disenchanted with Woosehill and took him to another vet in Woodley who later killed him. (See photo above of her holding a picture of Samba.)
"I was deeply distressed about what happened to him," she told the Wokingham Times on June 24th. "I had Samba for thirteen years."
If the regulators were doing their jobs, Woosehill either would have been shuttered long ago or placed under close supervision. As far as it could be determined, the only action ever taken against the surgery occurred on February 25th of last year when the RCVS struck off Janos Nemeth for forging a Certificate of Good Standing from the Hungarian Veterinary Chamber in order to be allowed to practice veterinary medicine in England.
In the RCVS's press release announcing his suspension, Nemeth's place of employment is identified as the Woosehill Hospital for Pets in Emmview Close, so it is conceivable that is an altogether different establishment from Woosehill Vets. Nevertheless, that is unlikely in that Woosehill Vets appears to be the only veterinary surgery located in Emmview Close. (See PR Newswire, March 2, 2009, "Berkshire Vet Struck Off for Fraudulent Registration.")
So, perhaps there is some glimmer of hope that Brown yet may receive a tiny measure of satisfaction from the RCVS after all. Still, it must be borne in mind that most regulatory bodies function as pimps and whores for those that they are supposed to be monitoring and as a consequence can seldom be counted upon to do the right thing.
As the Lindridge and Nemeth cases have more than amply demonstrated, the RCVS is primarily concerned with ensuring that all practitioners pay their membership dues and have their paperwork in order. Consequently, it could care less how many cats veterinarians misdiagnose, kill, and lose.
Responsibility for doing something about Woosehill consequently falls by default to cat owners who should avoid that practice at all costs. If other pet owners wish to continue availing themselves of the surgery's services that is their business. After all, it must be remembered that there are not any dog and rabbit owners on record as having complained about the quality of treatment that their companions received.
That raises the specter that the vets at Woosehill dispense a level of care to cats that is grossly inferior to what they mete out to other animals. That glaring level of discriminatory treatment could be attributable to the fact that because there are so many of them that the vets feel that their owners care less about them than dog owners do about their companions. Woosehill's offer to give Ryan another cat in place of her beloved Oscar is an example of such thinking.
It also could be the case that most veterinarians simply hate cats. After all, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is on record as proclaiming to the world its virulent hatred of the species. (See "Free Roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats" at www.avma.org.)
Apologists for the veterinary establishment, such as the American Humane Association (AHA) and Tribune Media Services' columnist Steve Dale, like to spread the sophistry that cat owners care less about their companions than do dog owners and that is why they take them to the vet less frequently. A more plausible explanation is that they are put off by the poor quality of care that their cats receive and the antipathy that some vets display toward their companions.
It also is well established that in addition to losing cats and botching sterilizations that veterinarians administer unnecessary vaccinations that sometimes lead to sarcomas. Others, such as Sophia Yin of San Francisco, dope up cats with mood-altering drugs just as if they were treating neurotic teenagers.
Veterinarians also rake in a pretty penny surgically implanting microchips in spite of the fact they they have been linked to cancer and provide cats with absolutely no protection against the machinations of ailurophobes, poisoners, motorists, and others intent upon doing them harm. (See Cat Defender posts of September 21, 2007 and May 25, 2006 entitled, respectively, "FDA Is Suppressing Research That Shows Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer in Mice, Rats, and Dogs" and "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats.")
It accordingly would not be unfair to characterize the practice of veterinary medicine as it pertains to cats to be principally concerned with whacking off their private parts and pumping them full of drugs (vaccinations included) and electronics. Moreover, some veterinarians cannot be trusted to successfully perform even routine procedures.
It thus seems clear that it is precisely the veterinary profession that is responsible for the poor level and quality of treatment that cats receive and not their owners as Dale and the AHA falsely allege. Of course, sucking up to the Establishment for financial gain is every bit as ancient as the demonization of cats and their owners.
Finally, the astute readers of the Wokingham Times are to be commended for bringing the abuses at Woosehill Vets to the attention of the public. The paper likewise is to be thanked for having the courage to publicize these outrages as opposed to sweeping them underneath the rug as most other publications have done in the past.
Photos: Daily Telegraph and INS (Lexi) and Wokingham Times (Brackley and Samba).