On June 27, 2019, I took my rabbit Reagan into the Big Goose Creek Veterinary Clinic, 241 Centennial Lane, Sheridan, Wyoming (307-674-4500) because he hadn’t eaten the day before and was still not showing signs of eating anything other than soft foods. I was afraid his back teeth might be bothering him and he had been having digestive problems. | Reagan’s doctor (Caroline Arrott, DVM) was the veterinarian working that day and I was told her appointments were filled but I could bring Reagan in and drop him off. That was the way it was explained to me. As soon as there was a lull in the office, Dr. Arrott could check out Reagan. | I put Reagan in his carrier and took him over to the Big Goose Creek Veterinary Clinic at approximately 1:20 p.m. | Dr. Arrott’s “assistant” (I believe her name is “Miranda”) eventually came over to talk with me. While we were talking, a cat came crawling out from the back work area. His back legs weren’t working, but he was able to pull himself along slowly and seemed to be in good spirits. Miranda asked the staff in the back room to get the cat and keep him out of the reception area. She told them this twice and then, as she was taking Reagan’s carrier, she almost stepped on the cat which had, again, come to the front of the office. (In hindsight, this tells me there was not a lot of responsibility in the office at that time.) | “Miranda” said she would take Reagan to the back until Dr. Arrott arrived. I specifically asked if I could go back with him. She said “no”. She told me they didn’t allow people in the back area because it was so “dangerous” with all the other animals and dogs, etc. I told her the vet had always allowed me to be in the room with Reagan. I was hesitant to leave Reagan alone, but he had been seen by Dr. Arrott several months before and both the doctor and her staff at that time were all very good with him – and I had been allowed to be present at those times. | I gave the receptionist my cell phone number. Since “Miranda” advised it would probably be an hour before the doctor would be back at the office, I told them to call me because I had errands to run and I could be back to the clinic quickly. | “Miranda” told me she was ONLY GOING TO TAKE REAGAN’S “VITALS”. I didn’t see any harm in leaving Reagan there since I THOUGHT he was going to stay in his carrier. | I was dead wrong. | As I was getting ready to drive home to drop off some groceries, I received a call from Dr. Arrott. She needed to update me concerning Reagan. (No one had called me from the clinic until this call.) Dr. Arrott said they were “examining Reagan when he had a ‘seizure’.” I asked if Reagan was alive and she said, “No.” Dr. Arrott claimed Reagan’s digestive system was “impacted” and hinted that may have been why he had the seizure. She “assured” me they tried to resuscitate Reagan to no avail. | Dr. Arrott asked me if I wanted to have Reagan cremated. When I told her I wanted to pick him up, she hesitated. Then she said I could wait to pick him up until I was feeling better. (No doubt she could tell I was quite upset. The last thing I expected was to hear my rabbit was DEAD.) I told her Reagan had never had a seizure before. Dr. Arrott asked if I wanted my carrier back. I told her I did. | When I finally got back to the clinic, the receptionist had me sit in a room by myself. She said either Dr. Arrott or the assistant would be in to see me. I waited. | “Miranda” finally came into the room. Admittedly, I don’t remember everything she said. I was not in a good frame of mine. HOWEVER, there are some details I do remember from her conversation. | The following are comments I specifically remember: | She mentioned “Reagan was pretty spry since he was stomping his feet at her.” (He NEVER, EVER stomped his feet. This tells me he was very upset with whatever was going on.) | “Miranda” made the comment: “I asked the techs if they wanted to try to intubate Reagan. I was in the other room, but they had done it before.” (Reagan had not been having any problems breathing at any time when I was with him.) I have no idea whatsoever what would have possessed them to try to shove a tube down his throat. No wonder he had a seizure. He was an older rabbit but he was not in that bad of health.) | Later “Miranda” commented: “It’s just as well you weren’t here. It wasn’t very pretty to see.” | She also advised me she had closed his eyes. I did not want to look at his dead body at the time. I just wanted to take him home. The doctor had said she would wrap him in a blanket and put him in a plastic bag for me. Later, “Miranda” said she took him out of the plastic bag since it was more ‘environmentally sound’ not to bury him in plastic. | At one point while “Miranda” was in the room with me, I asked her if there was any way I could speak with Dr. Arrott. She said she would check. She came back and said Dr. Arrott was in another room. It was ONLY AFTER Dr. Arrott received my email complaint the following day that she bothered to attempt to contact me. | Before I buried Reagan, I looked at his body. His eyes were wide open and he looked like he had “been through a wringer”. I can only imagine the fear he had after I left him in the hands of incompetents. I wrapped his body in a plastic bag before I buried him. | It appears Dr. Arrott attempted to contact me Thursday by leaving a message on my home answering machine. She later did contact me via my cell phone that afternoon when she advised me Reagan was dead. Again … NO ONE ever tried to contact me prior to Reagan’s death. | I did not sign any paperwork not did I give any approval for anyone to work on Reagan in my absence or otherwise. He was not in critical condition when I left him at the clinic. He was there for a checkup. | After Dr. Arrott received my email on Friday a.m., she called the cell phone and left at message at 12:46 p.m. to advise me I had completely misunderstood what the assistant had told me and she almost chuckled when she said, “Of course, we didn’t use Reagan as a test animal.” She asked me to call back. Her cell phone number is 970-379-4962. (The term “intubation” is hard to misunderstand. Dr. Arrott stated that “Miranda” is “not the best communicator” – but the doctor did not come in to speak with me.) | It is my feeling that the assistant may have over-stepped her bounds with Reagan. I don’t know if the doctor was present at the time of death or not, but she did make it sound as if she was present when he died. | According to the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the American Veterinary Medical Association: | A veterinarian shall be influenced only by the welfare of the patient, the needs of the client, the safety of the public, and the need to uphold the public trust vested in the veterinary profession, and shall avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance thereof. | A veterinarian shall provide competent veterinary medial clinical care under the terms of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), with compassion and respect for animal welfare and human health. | III. A veterinarian shall uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions, and report veterinarians was are deficient in character or competence to the appropriate entities. | These are three of the Principles of Ethics I do not feel Dr. Arrott has adhered to in this situation.
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