Who’s Watching Your Pet’s Vet?
GUEST BLOGGER BETH SHEEHAN
Ohio Companion Animal Lovers, the next time you check in your pet, check out your veterinarian's clinic. Ask your vet when the last time anyone from the state ever checked his clinic's protocols, record keeping, equipment, medications, or hygiene. Apparently the majority of veterinary clinics are never checked. The state agency, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, charged with overseeing veterinarians' clinics, has no full time inspector on its payroll. In Ohio, the Board of Health does not handle animal hospitals.
Moreover, according to a law passed in 1992, the OVMLB has to give the veterinary hospital five days written notice that it will be inspected. The inspections should be random and unannounced to get a true picture of the operations and conditions of the veterinary hospital.
In a vet hospital sick animals are brought in all day long, every day. Who is checking on the spread of zoonotic diseases between the patients and their owners? What is stemming the animal illnesses from being carried out of the premises, into the families’ homes, and into the community?
In contrast to the Vet Board, the Board of Health regularly inspects all types of premises. In Ohio's Hamilton County every gas station is inspected by the BOH once a year; every restaurant two to four times a year; each school and every beauty parlor, twice a year; all tattoo parlors, three times a year. Every nursing home gets a team of several people who come once a year, unannounced and stay for about five full days on the premises. Who checks on the record keeping, the protocols, the equipment, and the hygiene of your veterinary clinic? Apparently no one ever regularly checks the veterinary hospitals. The OVMLB only went to 12 vet hospitals last year. In sharp contrast to that number there are 6,200 licensed vets and vet techs in Ohio.
Governor Kasich and the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board should institute regular, unannounced, random inspections of veterinary clinics, checking on hygiene, protocols, equipment, medicines, and record keeping. These are reasonable requests. These procedures regularly occur in other Ohio state agencies, such as the Pharmaceutical and Dental Boards, and other states' Veterinary Licensing Boards, such as California. Ohio animals, as patients, Ohio pet owners, as consumers, and Ohio veterinarians, as professionals, deserve to have the assurance of high standard of care. It is the mission statement of the Vet Board to assure public trust. It is the right thing to do.
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