By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Pets are often considered members of the family, but how can we be sure our furry friends have the best veterinarians.
After requesting official documents from The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, NewsChannel 11 found five of the 51 vets in Lubbock had disciplinary actions brought against them. "She shouldn't be doing surgery," said pet owner Connie England in an interview with NewsChannel 11 back in 2007.
England called veterinarian Penny Kelso to come deliver her dog Pebbles' puppies at their home. According to official documents by the Board, Kelso didn't deliver all the puppies, leaving four inside of Pebbles. All eight puppies and Pebbles later died.
In a separate case in 2004 the Board states Kelso didn't have sufficient medical information to continue treatment on a dog. That dog also died. On multiple occasions Kelso had to pay administrative fines for not complying with proper veterinarian codes. One of those times includes Kelso altering documents to say she completed required continuing education hours, when in fact she hadn't. Kelso was lacking 10 hours of the 17 required each year for vets to renew their licenses.
Local vet Jeanette Lubenau says those continuing education hours are extremely important. "The continuing education hours keep you up to date with information in the medical world including veterinary medicine changes about every six months. You have to stay up to date so you're giving the best quality of care you can to each patient," said Lubenau.
Kelso had other violations but when we called her, she replied "No comment".
Other official records say local veterinarian James Kemp broke the law back in 1996. Records show he used Ketoset on himself. It's an anesthetic used on animals classified as a dangerous drug. His licenses was suspended for two years, but was probated after finishing a residential treatment program for chemical dependency. We left Kemp messages regarding the violations but he hasn't returned our phone calls yet.
Several viewers had good things to say about Kemp like this Facebook quote by Melanie Harmonson saying, "James Kemp at Key Animal Clinic is my vet. I trust him and the staff with my dogs. They're very good!"
Other vets violating veterinarian codes include Jimmy Gleason, Sonja Lee, and April Davis-Hernandez. By clicking here you can check all disciplinary actions brought against vets in Texas.
Besides checking on a veterinarians background there are several other things too look for when choosing who to take your beloved pet to.
Veterinarian Eric Cunningham with Acres North Veterinary says communication is the key. "Since our patients can't talk we have to rely on a lot of information from the owners, and I think that's a really important first step," said Cunningham.
"I would always ask for a tour and make your own judgements when you walk through the practice," said Lubenau. A veterinarian should never refuse a tour of the facility. If they do, that's a warning sign.
Lubenau also suggests getting referrals from friends and family, checking the clinic's web site, and asking the vet and staff questions to see how educated they are in the field. A veterinarian should also have their licenses displayed for clients to see.
For many pet owners, it's all about how their pets react to the vets. "Vets that really care about the animals is nice - not just doing their job because it's their job, but they like what they're doing. That's pretty important to me," said cat owner Jason Johnson.
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