A Calgary pet owner is sending out a warning after she says her cat received severe burns during a routine dental appointment at an animal hospital in the city.
Sasha Giles told Global News she took her five-year-old Sphynx cat “Gloria” into Beddington Trail Animal Hospital on April 5.
After Giles picked up Gloria, she noticed her cat was behaving unusually, crying and scratching. That night, Giles said she noticed deep pink and purple bruising along Gloria’s bottom and backside.
Giles said she returned to the Beddington Trail Animal Hospital the next day and after an argument, hospital staff allowed her into the surgery room. That’s when Giles said she saw what looked like a store-bought blue hairdryer blowing at a cat that was under anesthesia.
“They let me go back there, they’re not hiding it,” Giles said. “But it’s concerning because they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”
The following day Giles took Gloria to the Calgary Animal Referral Emergency Centre (CARE), where she said staff agreed the cat likely sustained first-degree burns, with the potential to worsen to second- or third-degree burns.
Giles said over the next few days, the marks spread to other parts of Gloria’s body, patches of skin began to turn black and sores started splitting open. Giles now believes there are third-degree burns covering more than 20 per cent of her cat’s body.
“They’re basically waiting for her skin to fall off,” Giles said. “I go between hating them and feeling guilty for sending her there in the first place.”
Click through the gallery below: Images of Gloria’s injuries after allegedly being burned at a Calgary animal hospital
Gloria was at the CARE Centre awaiting surgery and Sasha said she hoped to know more by Thursday afternoon.
Since the alleged incident, Giles said she’s incurred more than $1,600 in vet bills, a figure she expects will quickly grow.
“Gloria has antibiotics and an ointment and each surgery could cost between $1,000 and $2,000.”
Giles said she called to complain to the The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and hopes no other animal is harmed.
AVMA complaints director Dr. Phil Buote confirmed he spoke with Giles about her concerns. Buote said a formal complaints process does not begin until the AVMA receives a written letter outlining specific concerns about a veterinarian or a technologist (registered member), a permit holder (i.e. a practice) or a student.
Buote said AVMA does not comment on specific cases, but spoke generally to concerns of a hairdryer being used on a cat.
“There are requirements in the AVMA practice inspection and practice standards bylaws about monitoring any anesthetized patients,” he said. “It does talk about needing to have measures in place to ensure the patient doesn’t experience serious deviations from normal body temperature. There should be measures to guard against hypothermia or thermal injuries of patients from warming devices.”
Multiple Global News requests to the Beddington Trail Animal Hospital for comment were not returned Tuesday.
A staff member at the hospital told Global News Wednesday the manager and owner were unavailable and declined to comment.
Giles said the Beddington animal hospital owner had been cooperative with her so far, adding she’d been told they are currently investigating the situation internally.
— With files from Global’s Erika Tucker
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