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Veterinary Hospital refuses to treat dying dog


A Chihuahua lay dying in the arms of its owners……………………….

Recently Delaware boutique owner Liza Orlando finished work for the day and got ready to take a walk with her husband and two small dogs.

As they exited the shop their 4 year old Chihuahua, Fabio, ran outside and started barking at a larger dog that was passing by.

A dog fight ensued and Fabio was severely injured.

When the couple managed to get Fabio away from the bigger dog, he lay on his side, motionless and bleeding, but still alive. Fabio’s owners knew they needed to find a veterinarian ASAP.

As her husband frantically called 911 to locate the nearest emergency vet clinic, Orlando tended to Fabio, stemming the flow of blood from his wound and getting him ready to go to the vet. Orlando’s husband located a nearby veterinary hospital that offered 24-hour on-call care, they quickly made their way to the car and headed for the hospital.

But not all was working out the way it should.

24-hour on-call care usually means that there is a veterinarian on call 24-hours a day, but is not necessarily in the hospital.

And that’s what the Orlando’s discovered when they arrived at the veterinary hospital. The doors were locked and no one was there. There was, however, a number they could call for emergencies.

They called.

The only connection they could make was to the hospital’s answering service but not to a veterinarian.

Frustrated and panicked and they raced to a local human emergency room to see what help they could get for their dog. One of the nurses there gave them a warm blanket for Fabio in case he was suffering from shock. Someone from the human hospital then called the veterinary hospital and this time got the answering service to get the on-call vet on the phone.

The Orlando’s were relieved to reach the hospital’s vet until they learned that the on-call vet was at least 30 minutes away and was only on call for emergencies for EXISTING CLIENTS.

Despite Mr. Orlando offering to pay triple the veterinarian fees to get their dog help, the veterinarian would not see them at all because they weren’t clients, instead referring them to another emergency hospital in a nearby town, another hour away.

The Orlandos quickly left to get their dog help at the new veterinary hospital.

But Fabio didn’t make it to the next hospital. He died enroute in Mrs. Orlando’s arms.


The Orlandos say they are “absolutely disgusted” with the doctors and practices at the veterinary hospital and have filed complaints with every agency and newspaper in their area.

“Did not being a patient make Fabio less deserving of treatment as he was dying in my arms? These doctors are not animal lovers and they certainly aren’t veterinarians,” she said. “They are running some kind of exclusive members-only club. It’s repulsive to find that they allowed this to happen. Our Fabio would have been saved if they had not refused him treatment.”

The veterinary hospital says they don’t have enough manpower to maintain a 24-hour practice and feel they did their job by referring the Orlando’s to the closest 24-hour facility.

They don’t feel they did anything wrong.

“Any doctor who refuses treatment to an animal, or human, for that matter should be severely punished,” Orlando said. “The last thing this country needs is soulless businessmen and women masquerading as animal lovers.”

And the head of a local pet organization stated that she believes veterinarians should be forced to take a similar oath as doctors, which would require them to help pets in distress.

“It’s outrageous to make a grieving pet owner drive an hour to get emergency care for their animal,” she said. “The DVMA should be policing their own licensed veterinarians.”


How do you feel about this? Do you think the veterinarian should have been REQUIRED to treat Fabio or do you feel the Orlando’s should have confirmed the emergency vet status before taking their dog to the closed hospital?

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13 Responses to “Veterinary Hospital refuses to treat dying dog”

  1. Jeanne P says:

    This is a horrible story. My daughter is an emergency room vet in the St. Louis area, and something like this would never happen at her clinic. A vet is on premise at all times, and critical cases always take immediate precident over all others. It is a good idea for all pet owners to have a medical kit both at home and in the car for their animals. I am very saddened for this dog and family.

    Jeanne P
    Chesterfield MO

  2. Carmen B says:

    I think the hospital should have treated the dog. Time is of the essence even with a dog that has been severely injured. I would make the hospital accountable for what they didn’t do.


  3. PrettyPaws46 says:

    That is absolutely horrible and unforgiveable. There are good samaritian laws for humans, why not for our pets. To many of us (me definately), our pets are our children and given all the love, care and attention due to children. I think that this should become a national outrage and furor over this. I am not a violent individual, but someone not caring enough about my pet who is dying and in pain could probably make me turn violent. I am so-o-o upset about this. This should make the national news. There are a lot of pet people who care for our fur-kids and would enraged also.

    **I asked God for all things that I may enjoy life … I was given life that I may enjoy all things.

  4. DCha12 says:

    I agree with those poor people and their unfortunate dog. How dare they be refused care for their dying pet!
    Yes, vets should be made to take the same oath as human doctors. Which doesn’t always mean anything, but at least they should be held liable.
    My heart breaks for those people and their dog.


  5. Twilly F says:

    I would not take my pet to that Vet ever. It is obvious he did not care about animals. If he truly loved animals he

    would have rushed over to save Fabio. I would do exactly as the pet owners are doing and make sure I let everyone I know

    not to take their animals there. So I guess I agree that they should take an oath.

    Twilly F

  6. Toni Stanko says:

    This story is so sad, I can hardly believe it. I thought vets were in the business of saving lives. And how can a clinic call themselves a 24 hr. emergency clinic without a Dr. there? As a pet owner and animal lover, this story will always affect me. Hope we can see changes in the care of our beloved four legged friends some day.

    Toni Stanko Seattle Wa.

  7. Borcherdingfam1 says:

    I feel so saddened after reading the story of the family who lost their beloved pet because of the incompentent vet. If I had to choose a job for myself I would become a vet, not for money, but because I love animals. If I ever got a (emergancy) phone call about a dog in distress I would drop whatever I was doing and go to his aid. The vet and the entire “hospital” should be ashamed of themselves! That poor doggy!

  8. Cutndry7881 says:

    OMG I can’t believe what iI read, but I was told by a vet that in order to get me help for my dog who has bone cancer i would have to come in and pay 138.00 for more info as to what to do as far as any meds or anything else. I have been told that the place is very good, but i felt that the dr. could have at least told me something to do to help my dog since i did tell him I did have xrays-biopsy and what the results were by our vet. I just thought we could get another opinion. Ya know, its all business anymore, not even human dr’s care. My husband and I have to go to a clinic now since we have lost our ins. due to down sizing from my husbands job and they dont even give a hoot either. They have messed up so much on us that I dont feel comfortable anymore with them. They are people who are becoming dr’s so they practice on us and others. My husband has diabetes, and has had a stent removed and 2 back to back put in. To get to see a real heart dr it took 3 mos for him. We told them he was having pains in his chest and one of the so called dr’s told my husband due to his lifting at his job he should not do that if he is getting pain ,lol right, no work no pay. The dr then says oh to my husband. They also said to go to the hosp, ok but who has the money for that, we sure don’t. I have to say our new vet is working with the price of things for us, since he knows our situation money wise. So as far as this vet goes, he is no vet in my eyes. He decided to be a vet and help animals, that is his job. Animals in my eyes are a family member and they have feelings. What a B————D sorry but who does he think he is God? I think not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry my response is so long but I am so discusted with the way people think anymore. Is all business anymore, hosp. etc. What a shame how this country is goin. I hope this guy doesn;t have kids. I feel for the owners of fabio, I hope they can get over their pain from this.


  9. Judy Gagnon says:

    This is a horrifying story and typical, we have found, of all emergency vets. Fabio should have been treated definitely and a 24 hour emergency vet should have vets on the premises at all times. They are idiots and Fabios mom is exactly right when she says they do not care about animals. Its my opinion that they should all be closed down and deemed inhumane, because they truly are inhumane. I could say so much more about this but will leave it here.


    Judy Gagnon
    Concord, New Hampshire

  10. Kiki D. says:

    A vet office that sees clients during specified hours and is not open 24/7 should not be called a hospital or a clinic – it is an office. A hospital is a place where you can get medical services 24/7. If it is not open 24/7 with a vet available for emergencies-it is not a hospital. If it services only its own clients – it is an exclusive office and should be listed as such even if it has 24 hour on call services- it is simply an exclusive office with 24 hour on call service – not a hospital or clinic. Listing it as 24 hour on call animal hospital is misleading and down right false. There should be laws that regulate what vet services can call themselves so that such cases as what happened to this poor Chihuahua will not happen again.

    The fact that this vet refused to give service to this dog after knowing what happened is disgusting and these people should have their license revoked. Anyone in the medical profession whether they service humans or animals should have the decency and the integrity to save whatever lives are in peril and yes, they should be required to give an animal in distress treatment if they list themselves as on call. If they do not wish to service distressed animals, they should not advertise this service and only allow their clients this information. If they list themselves as 24 hour on call, they should provide it to anyone who needs them just like any other medical personnel. If they do not wish to do so, they should not be allowed to practice. I would never send my babies to this vet and anyone who has a modicum of decency and compassion would boycott them also.

    Kiki D.

  11. Rosemarie says:

    I think any person (especially a vet) would help with or without prior history and or money. I would not allow a vet like the one the Orlando’s encountered treat any of my animals.

  12. Paul says:

    Thank you for the information about emergency vet clinics. I will be sure to call any clinic before I take my dog there for treatment. Although I understand that is still not a guarantee they will be prepared to treat him.

    I live in Wichita Kansas and we have a emergency clinic for animals here open in non standard vet clinic hours. I have taken my dog there a few times and find they overcharge extremely even on something as simple as a can of dog food. I have paid double the normal cost. I have seen numerous arguments between clients and staff mostly dealing with charges. People are caught in a desperate situation when the pets they love need help. The clinic in Wichita takes advantage. The clinic operates as a speciality surgery clinic in the normal vet clinic hours. This also is a high charge service. There is no daught their main goal is taking advantage of clients love for their pets. The clinic is owned by local vet clinics who have joined together to create the clinic.

    Taking an oath to treat animals 24/7 in all conditions before issueing a vet licence is a great idea. Also if a doctor and emrgency staff is not present at a clinic, the clinic should not be able to advertise as provinding emergency services 24/7.

  13. Renee says:

    Seems to be the typical these days, just another way to make money when they want it, not when medical help is needed. I to recently was turned down by a on call vet in grants pass oregon, after i called him earlier that day to set it up, my dog was having pups, said hed be there for me if i needed him, he wasnt, he refused, and wouldnt let me come in for 5 hours later, pups were dead!

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