The accidental death of a family pet that was anesthetized during surgery is causing Colorado to take a closer look at the state's policy of not requiring veterinary assistants to be licensed.

According to Colorado news station CBS4, the death occurred when a mobile veterinarian performed a routine neutering procedure at a family's home. The veterinarian's 16-year-old daughter performed anesthesia while acting as a veterinary assistant during the procedure, CBS4 reported.

Everything was reportedly going as planned until they removed the monitoring equipment and discovered that the 3-year-old Yorkshire Terrier named Buster had passed away. Buster's family told the news that a subsequent necropsy on the dog found no pre-existing conditions that would have caused his death during the operation.

Now Buster's owners have asked the State Board of Veterinary Medicine to look into the matter.

Maulid Miskell, program director of the State Board of Veterinary Medicine, said the board will take the matter seriously during its investigation.

"What we've heard so far, what has been alleged, is concerning, and once the board receives a complaint it will look at it," Miskell said. "It's unfortunate a pet died while this happened."

When asked to comment on the story, Colorado Veterinary Medical Association President Peter Hellyer, DVM, reportedly told CBS4 that anesthesia needs to be monitored by a knowledgeable and well-trained veterinary technician who can recognize problems and take action under a veterinarian.

Comments (3) -

ValarieUnited States
11/16/2013 6:12:23 AM #

We can continue to ignore the elephant in the room if we want to, but it's clear, he's not going away.  In fact, he's settled down and moved right in.  When will we acknowledge the fact he's here?  When will the dialog ensue?  How many more decades will we wait?

Sandy Paige
Sandy PaigeUnited States
11/18/2013 3:25:19 PM #

I work for one of the best AAHA vet clinics in the Mpls. metro area.  Even as a receptionist, I try to caution clients/non-clients to be very careful and ask a lot of questions especially about anesthesia and monitoring like we do here.  I also do that in my personal life when a friend or neighbor is thinking of going to any low-cost surgery clinic, mobile or not.  It's just good to educate people about how important this is, most of the time they change their minds and don't want to take any unnecessary changes with their beloved pet's life

Lesley Robb
Lesley RobbUnited States
11/21/2013 8:45:29 AM #

Much like anything else, you get what you pay for. If you want the cheap surgery, you will get an untrained 16 year old monitoring your pet under sedation. Pay a little extra and you get a trained professional, with years of school and experience, and a living dog at the end of surgery. Maybe it's just me, but I think it is worth it. Would you let an untrained nurse monitor you under anesthesia? I think not. Why is it okay for your dog, whom you love so much?

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