Munhuwepasi Chikosi, working as a locum at the time, insisted he could not leave the Vets Now clinic in Bedford to attend a Labrador cross which had been run over.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has struck off a vet from the register after he delayed attending a dog that had been run over by a car.

Peter Lees, chairing the committee, said Mr Chikosi's decision to not attend to Mitzi Munhuwepasi Chikosi, originally from Zimbabwe, appeared before the college’s disciplinary committee (DC) on June 18 and, following a two-day hearing, was found guilty of “unreasonably delaying” attending Mitzi, a 14-and-a-half-year-old Labrador cross, and of “unnecessarily causing” her to remain in pain and suffering for at least an hour.

On September 9 (2011), when Chikosi was working as a locum at the Vets Now out-of-hours emergency service in Barton-le-Clay, Bedford, Mitzi’s owner telephoned him to say his dog was severely injured and requested a home visit for euthanasia. Chikosi asked the owner to bring Mitzi into the practice, but this was unsuccessful and the dog “uncharacteristically” bit the owner’s son. The owner called the practice again, but Chikosi insisted he could not leave the practice, as he was looking after other animals. Instead, he said he could possibly organise another vet to visit “probably within the next hour or two“.

At the DC hearing, the committee considered Chikosi’s actions in context of the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct (2011), which lists a number of factors for vets to consider when deciding whether to attend an animal away from the practice premises, such as the treatment needed, the owner’s ability to manage pain before “normal” veterinary hours and travelling time for the vet.

The committee found Chikosi had made no enquiries to determine whether Mitzi was in a fit condition to be moved, and offered no advice as to how her condition could be alleviated while waiting for the home visit. Further, his advice that Mitzi should be moved on a blanket was wrong, as she may have had an injured back. Plus, despite him insisting he was unable to leave the practice, the committee noted he only had three in-patients and no critical cases. A qualified veterinary nurse was also present.

The DC said it found “there was no good reason” why Chikosi should not have attended the farm, which was 10 to 15 minutes’ drive away. Also, by the time Mitzi’s owner called the second time, it was clear the out-of-hours service was experiencing difficulty finding another vet, but, instead of going to the farm himself, Chikosi waited another hour until another vet was available.

Chairman of the DC Peter Lees said the committee was “satisfied” the delay from Chikosi caused Mitzi unnecessary suffering, evidenced by her biting the owner’s son, something out of character for her.

“[Her owner] had recognised the severity of the injuries and the need for euthanasia as soon as was practicable,” said Prof Lees. “[Chikosi’s] failure to attend a seriously injured dog promptly in the circumstances described falls far short of the conduct to be expected of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon.”

He directed that Chikosi’s name be struck off the register.

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