August 5, 2010

Animals First Trust

You can read more about this exciting venture at:

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers


  1. Kia ora That's great news
    Have a good weekend with a bit of sun hopefully

  2. I dont want to pour cold water but this article is a publicity stunt at the expense of all vets. Mr Ross is not experienced enough to make such outlandish claims having only worked in one local clinic. As a professional person one would expect a slightly higher standard of conduct towards his colleague vets.

    This article is an appalling distortion of the truth. Emotive statements like "is it acceptable to leave a cat on an IV drip overnight unobserved for 13 hours?" create a false image of reality. There would be few clinics that are unattended for 13 hours and the incidence of problems is so low using modern equipment and pumps that the risk is miniscule. The cost of 24 hour care is horrendous, does this mean that Mr Ross will donate his services at "not for profit rates", I dont think so. A critical patient would never be left in our clinic, they would either go to the afterhours clinic or come home with us.

    Has Mr Ross never left a cat on a drip unattended? - hypocrisy.

    This proposal is ludicrous and spending this much money to duplicate services already in existence is misguided. Would the millions of dollars not be better spent helping pets, rather than on another clinic? We have an after-hours clinic and setting up a transfer service or utilizing onsite vets during the day make much more sense. Very few pets need critical care day after day after day - if they do you need to look at your treatment program.

    Not for Profit - does not mean free

    Good luck to the funders, looks like a very good way to blow a whole pile of $$.

  3. Dear anon, Firstly did you mean there are few clinics that are staffed overnight?
    I can think of maybe two max here in christchurch.
    Secondly not all clinics have modern effective pumps and when drips occlude the machine screams a warning all night, in which other sick animals around have to put up with, unrested and dealying good healing.... or would that be silenced so its vein could be blown quietly.
    No one is there to hear the alarms, reset the drip, check the animal for fluid overload, rebandage a leg that has been ripped off etc.

    No one is there to monitor pain releif needed after a major surgery, turn the animal regulary to avoid pressure sores, give stat meds in a fitting animal.
    Other countries do this (monitor critical or sick animals) on a 24 hourly basis.

    Actually if a clinic closes at 7p.m at night on a Friday and opens 10 a.m on a Saturdy then that is 13 hours in which a sick animal is unmonitored is it not?
    How would you feel as a patient in a *real* hospital and all the nurses and doctors went off home, "because they have pumps they'll be right" I am sure you would object watching Mr Joe blogs having a coronary right beside you and no staff around.

    Medicine is medicine whether it be an animal or human, the same level of competant and efficent practice should be employed, because we are doing to animals what we do with humans, therefore we must follow the same standards.

    Its not all about speys and neuters which are day cases, there are real emergencies which need intensive based overnight care. Thats why they have these high tech clinics around the world. Its called umm, A good level of care.
    I agree with the idea of this clinic.

    Vets should not be threatend by this happening, in the U.K the S.P.C.A runs a free hospital and no Vets have missed out because of this. The whole point has been missed, this isnt about profit this is about good, no great medicine.

  4. P.S Yes we do have a good after hours service ...however we dont have an ambulance service to transfer these animals do we?

    Some critically injred animals need oxygen and yes low and behold even suctioning (you know to avoid airway occlusion)they may need imobilising and sitting in traffic for ages going from clinic to afterhours then uplifting the animal again into a cramped cage is not ethicaly humane, the animal is traumatised, in pain and confused.
    So are their owners watching their animal fretting, fitting or arresting beside them.
    Change and progress is a great thing, unless your ideals, values and ethics are mainly $$$$ orientated.

  5. dear medical booboos

    you need to get a grip on the size of this problem and differentiate between critical and overnight patients. The number of critical cases who need intensive 24 hour care is hardly justicifation for a dedicated hospital. The sad fact is that most critical patients never make it to a clinic. They are either pass away before getting to a clinic or die from injuries at the scene.

    You also turn to the same old bastion, emotive statements - "their owners watching them fretting..". You humanize animal pain to try and add weight to your statements without looking at the facts. If you think medical care for pets and animals is the same come to the hospital and talk to an amputee. Recovery can take years whereas a pet can walk out of the clinic the following days - why is this?. And when you have a critically ill pet how long do they take to recover? A human, once again can take months, again a pet receiving the right treatment should be stable in a matter of hours. In the vast majority of cases, if they have remained critical for 24 hours then you need to look at the treatment, they shouldnt need this level of care for that long - treatment/surgery/medication should be targeted to firstly stabilise a critcial patient.
    You reinforce this point your self when you talk about a spay being a day surgery - this is a major surgery. Compare to a human. The difference in recovery time is not because someone gave that animal 1 on 1 care during recovery but because animals and people are different. Will pets have a buzzer they can push to get a nurse?

    Suction for an airway occlusion?? - I think you are confusing critical care with an accute condition, a tracky tube does not need suction every 5 minutes!. A critical patient is in imminent danger of death requiring immediate treatment or surgery to preserve life. A dog choking is critical but only until the blockage is removed.

    Going into a cramped cage is ethically inhumane?? - if a pet is "critcal" then it will most likely already be immobilised and why would they be in a cage that was too small? So all travel cages are "ethically inhumane"?

    You may not be aware but the specialist group is now in the same building as the afterhours and would it not be more realistic to have an agreement for daytime care for "critical" patients or even have a vet and nurse employed during the day?

    So some clinics may not have super modern equipment - hey, why dont we then have a not for profit clinic who may be cheaper because of donations, who will lower the cost of medical care (artifically) so that the other clinics are even less likely to be able to afford new equipment. While you are at it, close a few clinics down (who cant compete), discourage new vets from training and then wonder why the standard of care falls.

    If you have seen the operating costs of this proposed clinic you would probably understand that this is a crazy proposal. And hang on, "unless my ideals values and ethic are mainly $$$$ orientated", isnt what this proposal is all about, not for profit? What is the point of cheapening the veterinary profession under the guise of this proposal. If this service was needed and affordable then it should be able to operate as a normal business venture, not a charity. The $3 million for this proposal would do a lot more good if it was directed in a direction where it would actually do something new and effective.

    This is not progress and will cheapen and lower standards.

  6. You seem to miss my point and need to stop falling to the bastion of emotive statements to back your point. A "critical" patient is highly unlikely to be in a condition that allows them to fret or distress from being in a cage. A truly critical patent requires immediate treatment/surgery to stabilise and in the vast majority of time this is relatively quick. You need to be careful with the word critical - this means in imminent danger of death. How long can an animal stay critical before stabilising or passing away? Not that long, minutes, a few hours. Can a stable patient be safely left overnight without risk of death - absolutely. Can a pain management strategy be developed that will last overnight - yes.

    The article above implies that any patient left overnight on a drip is some kind of abuse and further implies that the presence of a drip means the patient is critically ill. If a patient is well enough to rip off a bandage or pull out a drip then its generally a good sign that they are not that ill. A well positioned IV is unlikely to "blow a vein".
    You mention the annoyance of a pump beeping and that this delays good healing - what about the silence of being in a quiet place for a few hours to rest and recover? Ever noticed how the patient who was quiet last night is up and ready to go the following day - amazing what a good nights rest can do. You need to look at your patients instead of humanizing their condition, empathy not sympathy.

    Yes I know what an airway occlusion is - why do you raise this? If a patient had a fluid buildup in the lungs then they do not require suction continuously and would readily be transferred to the a/h clinic - in the event that the primary vet was unable to complete immediate remedial treatment/surgery.

    I am sorry but you contradict yourself. You say that animals must receive the standards as humans and yet a spay is a day case - is this the same for humans. This is a huge surgery and highly underrated, why is it that it’s a day case for a pet yet a long recovery for a human? As a vet nurse I would have expected that you would have seen critical cases and how quickly they recover when treated correctly. And, um, a high tech clinic will never result in better care, it comes down to the vet providing that care.

    Whether you like it or not this proposal is about $$$ otherwise it would not be a charity case. Such funding (they propose about $3 million) would be far better directed at the few truly critical cases that require intensive care and an ambulance service.
    I am sorry but you are wrong, this is not about "good" its about Mr Ross. He talks about "a trained team waiting" I hope he does not include himself in this category. Having received all of his emergency training from his current employer, he is no expert. His behavior has been reprehensible and he should consider his professional ethics and integrity before standing on his soap box. If my pet was critically ill, he is not on my list.

  7. Anon, point taken about recovery and how animals do recover quicker. However we both also are aware that animals hide pain much better than humans and also endure it for longer for survival.

    I did read the article and see the costs.
    Im not here to admonish any vets including Mr Ross. I was just pointing out some things that perhaps should be highlighted. They do have high tech clinics around the rest of the world for a reason...why not here?? Is all I am saying.

    Humanising things?
    No animals are not humans, however we are practising medicine on them, doing the same as humans, therefore our practices should at least compare. Yes I have worked in the 'human field' in the past and do clearly know the difference.

    Yes I have seen owners fret, remember to many people their aniamls are their babies, the children they could never have.

    Regarding suctioning an animal, I dealt with one recently, due to blood pooling in the oral pharangeal area was constantly occluding the animals airway dropping its sats. We didnt have a suction machine (most clinics dont)it didnt have a e.t tube in place (unable to be placed) so I made a suction out of a syringe/a soft urinary catheter and a three way tap, I was told that the animal would need suctioning continually.
    It needed to also be on constant 02, I wondered how this was going to be maintained all the way across town, by its owners?
    Im not knocking anyone, this was a frustrating and unavoidable situation and one of the reasons I have responded.

    With a transport system that picks up these type of critical cases, the airway would have been maintained (in an ideal world).

    " Can a stable patient be safely left overnight without risk of death - absolutely. Can a pain management strategy be developed that will last overnight - yes."
    I agree on this, Im not knocking anyones practices.

    No, having a drip in does not mean an animal is critical, especially if its maintenance. Im not speaking of stable patients. Ive seen animals whom have worried at their banadages because the vein is painful and thrombosed.

    I have lived in the U.K for many years and actually on occasion utilised the free S.P.C.A clinic in an emergency situation.
    From what I found the other local vets didnt suffer from the free clinic, because of the different clientale who frequented the free versus pay clinics.

    I ask this, Have private hospitals closed down because we have a public system?

    I have taken a hug risk by commenting on this as a vet nurse.
    In my own clinic I keep my mouth shut, get on with it and do the best I can for the animals, because that is why I am there and I like my collegues.
    Does that make me a bad nurse for wanting the animals to have the best possible care?

    Am I a bad vet nurse for seeing a free clinic that people whom usually cant afford care for their pets is able to access can finally access?
    The only clients that would be lost are the ones who cant pay.

    I dont want to see clinics go out of practice, that is NOT the case, however realistically the cases that usually the S.P.C.A have to cover (on limited funding) and the general practice vets dont get to see, will have a place to go. Thats the big picture Im speaking of. How many times have you heard a client on a benefit say "I cant afford to treat my animal", Some may say, dont get an animal if you cant afford it.

    However the mum with three kids who was happily married is left by her husband and is now on a benefit doesnt want to leave her 8 year old hit by car dog in pain.

    Most clinics dont give credit(understandably) and suddenly the mum has to pat a couple of hundred for a euth and disposal and she sees the food $$ go out the window that week.

    Most people on a limited income cant afford trauma care for their animal. I know if my dog gets hit by a car and is needing thousands of dollars work, sadly I would have to put him down. That is my own reality.

    You see I dont have an agenda, I just like positive change and progress.

  8. Go Medical BooBoos! Veterinary Nurses have been silenced for too long because of people like you. We are the ones who enter the practice early in the morning and find the dead animals, some with their paws swollen from having the drip line wrapped tightly around their paws and so on. Perhaps the current After Hours is as good as it is because Dr Ross is working there. It's high time the whistle was blown and people were aware of what goes on behind the scenes in some veterinary practices. If you are a clinic out there who treats their patients and clients as they should then you have nothing to worry about! At least with a clinic of this kind owners will have a choice, something that the veterinary community are quite keen to keep from the community as a whole.
    Go Animals First....

  9. They philosophy behind Animals First is a Dream come true. There is always room for advancement in animal treatment and care. It is pure ignorance to believe veterinary care in Christchurch is perfect, i have heard and seen many disgusting examples of animal treatment. Vets and Nurses are only human but sometimes there is no excuse for what can only be called cruelty by veterinary professionals.

  10. Interesting topic and comments. Let me give a little of my own perspective as a practicing vet in the United States. Here it's common to have 24-hour emergency veterinary facilities. In fact, I have two different ones within close driving distance to my own practice. These clinics only deal with critical and emergency cases, and don't see the routine illnesses or well pets. During the day there really isn't anything they can do better than what I can do in my own facility. I have all of the same "bells and whistles" that they do, and have as much training as most of those vets. However, after I close it's a different story. Vets can't be at their practice 24/7, so having an after-hours urgent care facility is nice. More and more vets don't want to see calls after closing, choosing to actually spend time with their families; I completely agree with this. In some places in the US local vets will collaborate on emergency clinics, rotating night duties.

    Some patients do need 24-hour monitoring. Pets that are truly critical need to be checked regularly, and certainly more than once before closing and again in the morning. Other pets may be ill, even seriously so, but don't need to be continually monitored (such as parvo cases). Personally, I won't leave a patient on an IV overnight without monitoring, though I know vets who do so. If any of my patients need to be monitored or are in danger of passing away overnight, I certainly want to send it to a place that is staffed at night and just hope they are still alive when I get back in the morning.

    In the US there is also a board-certified specialty in emergency medicine. Some vets (though not all at these clinics) have received specialized training in critical care, which is often more complicated than standard veterinary medicine. It's like the difference between a general practitioner human doctor and one who spends all of their time in the ER of a hospital. The GP may be able to handle a basic emergency, but an ER doctor has more experience with seriously critical cases and can respond faster and more efficiently.

    I'm not sure how common facilities like this are in New Zealand, but based on the article's description it is very similar to commonly found emergency practices here in the US.

    Now as far as the non-profit issue. I don't have a problem with that as long as it doesn't undercut local vets. In the US facilities like this are usually far more expensive than local veterinarians. The office visit charge for my local emergency clinic is 2-3 times what local veterinary practices charge. Clinics like this are often more expensive to run than a general practice. If someone wants to forgo any profits, that's certainly their prerogative, but it shouldn't be at the expense of their colleagues.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I find it amazing that Dr Ross has collected a $120K+ salary from our After Hours clinic for the past few years, whilst endorsing the movement of critical animals from all the clinics in Christchurch (who set up and financed the After hours clinic - and therefore his job and salary), and now he would have us all believe that what HE has been doing for some time is wrong??!! His double standards are astounding!! Happy to take all the 'profits' from After Hours for himself, and now wants to further devalue a MASSIVELY underpaid profession. The After Hours clinic returns peanuts to its shareholders most years, and other years nothing at all (isnt that the same as "not for profit"? The costs of treatment reflect the costs of keeping the place open so pet owners have somewhere to go when fluffy gets run over at 2am.
    To all those incredibly NAIVE pet owners out there, here's a simple fact - WE ALL operate in an essentially NOT FOR PROFIT environment. We are not in it for the money!! Overheads in equipping and running clinics, complying with government regulations, staffing clinics, training staff, attending continuing education, stocking shelves, paying rates, electricity etc (the list is endless) ensures that we all operate close to the breadline. We are all smart enough to have trained in alternate professions that would have had us mortgage free and driving mercedes, however, we are out there trying to help people and treat their pets the best we can. I'm very disappointed that Dr Ross has decided to take such a 'stab in the back' approach to his fellow vets. Personally, I've spayed and neutered around 150 cats in the past 2 months for a local charity, so cheaply that the not-for-profit label applies (and I dont have a charity behind me paying my power bills and building lease). I've also done more than my share of charity, wildlife work and work for people that I know are never going to pay for their pet's treatment.
    Wake up people.

  13. And one extra comment - ALL of the vets, nurses and assistants I work with (and have worked with over my many years as a vet) are THE MOST compassionate and caring people that I know. (despite what Dr Ross' comments on his facebook site and website would have you all believe!)

  14. Is this the same Dr Ian Ross who tried to purchase our current After Hours clinic from the shareholders last year?? Makes all his comments about its care (which HE was endorsing and providing)ludicrous!

  15. yes, the very same Dr Ross.

    One last comment. The high tech clinic you talk about, they service cities with a bigger population than our whole country. You need to know too that the costs are beyond belief - you want 24 hour care, you will pay for it. In this model there is a population and the ability to pay.

    For those nurses out there who say that the have been silenced or seen bad treatment - you disgust me. So you saw this and did nothing? You should be truly ashamed of yourselves for not reporting this when it happens. I, in no way, condone bad treatment but those who witness this without reporting are no better than the person doing it. If you see and dont report then you are perpetuating bad treatment - REPORT MISTREATMENT.

  16. Thank you everyone for some informative discussion - although following so many people called 'anonymous' required some effort!

    Sadly, despite the name Animal's First, it is a very sensitive area that impacts on many people. There are some huge areas that still need discussing... the financial implications have to be considered - and, I agree, our population is tiny compared to many overseas cities; and incomes not high.
    It does seem that the main concerns for many general public are the need for some overnight care of patients, and perhaps the tight and quite early window to collect a pet after an overnight stay at the After Hours? Not always easy for the client or desirable for the patient.
    The potential usurping of vet business from other clinics is a perennial problem...

    As the owner of a cattery, I never left the premises unattended overnight in the 14 years I ran it... a nightly check that all was well a routine occurrence. Many clinics have attached living spaces - I am sure a vet nurse would be happy to live in it if there was work attached and some small recompense for overnight checks, even if just Mon - Fridays. It was part of the job for many when I worked overseas. In fact, many ops were done at night by a visiting surgical specialist - particularly spinal surgery, cruciates, patellas etc.

    As an owner, when my own dog got severe AIHA, she was left in a situation with no overnight care. I never knew if she would be alive when I went into the clinic first thing the next morning, but I knew she would be warm - albeit wet, pissed on, and thirsty! Personally, I only went with the option because I could not risk moving her home and was unable to care for her there either! Transferring her every night was not an option either...

    Thanks for some robust discussion.
    No answers - but I hear you:)

  17. I don't think that Dr Ian Ross has any anticipation of putting any other clinics out of business. The purpose of Animals First Clinic seems to me to promote positive change and support for current day practices and homeless animal facilities. Current practices do not serve these animals in the best way possible. There is no doubt clinics out there do their fair share of probono cases. Would the veterinary community be this up in arms if the SPCA or other animal charities employed a vet and started a day clinic also?
    I really don't think it is fair to put someones salary on to a discussion group when we are not privy to the salaries of other veterinary professionals who comment. Greed is something that has eaten away at a lot of New Zealand people for too long and I think it is a wonderful opportunity for the animals for Christchurch to be better served.
    ANON 12

  18. Anon regarding chastising nurses who dont complain. I have heard plenty of nurses complain about issues regarding care.
    However I have also heard the response regarding this dilema which is "if a nurse complains you can guarantee she wont be employed again in the area, or the country". Once word gets out that a nurse has "complained" no one wants to touch them.
    So they do the best they can(for their patients), or they burn out.
    This is true also in the human medical side. Whistleblowers arent embraced, they are frowned upon and excluded. Do you think other nurses will pitch in and corroberate with their whistleblower collegue? Realistically, no, because they dont want to be labelled as troublemakers. This isnt exclusive, this is in all forms of medicine based practice.
    That is the reality.

  19. Is this the same I Ross that sends the critical ill animals back to the clinic just minutes before they take the last breath?

  20. why making the effort when you guys are selecting the comments anyhow?

  21. who is approving our comments?Mr I Ross?shame because he should display every single comment so people get the real thing

  22. really I cannot believe that no comments has been lodged since 18 August and entire debate last only less than 2 weeks.How many comments are you guys avoiding to display or delete?

  23. There are no other comments - and i have not been blogging lately so didn't see these. I only moderate to stop spam on old posts and it activates after two weeks - nothing has been deleted.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin