The owner of a cat that died after spending its last days in a “hot and noisy utility room” at a veterinary practice says he has persuaded the RCVS to rewrite part of its Practice Standards Scheme criteria.

Andrew Brown, who described himself as “an ordinary animal owner with nothing to do with the veterinary profession”, complained to the RCVS in June 2015 after his 12-year-old cat had been hospitalised for five days with kidney problems.

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Washing machines
Mr Brown was disappointed at not being able to find any reference to protecting pets from environmental mechanical noise in the RCVS Practice Standards guidelines. Image: esebene / fotolia.

Mr Brown, from the west midlands, was invited to visit the animal at a practice on the weekend before it died and was upset at what he found.

He said: “On the Saturday I went into this combined utility/laundry/cat room, which was pretty noisy. It was also very hot as it was summer and two autoclaves were in there. It was worse on the Sunday.”

Mr Brown was so unhappy with the conditions he recorded a video of the room using a camera he had taken with him to take final pictures of his pet. He then made a formal complaint to the practice, which was escalated to the RCVS.

Evidence

Mr Brown said he was disappointed at not being able to find any reference to protecting pets from environmental mechanical noise in the RCVS Practice Standards guidelines.

He said he then gathered evidence, in a year-long campaign, and the RCVS subsequently asked to put it before the Practice Standards Group to consider.

The RCVS has sent Mr Brown confirmation of a change in the requirements of a clause in its Practice Standards criteria under the section “Noise in the veterinary inpatient environment”.

Point 39, clause 8.2.9 now reads: “There must be a range of suitable accommodation… The environment should be as calm and quiet as possible. Noise-producing equipment should be located as far from animals as possible and the frequency of its use should be taken into account.”

An RCVS spokesman confirmed the clause had been changed, but said the college was prohibited from discussing any details of individual cases.

  • Read the full story in the 21 November issue of Veterinary Times.
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