Bulldog left blind after vet left him alone for three nights after operation

A negligent vet has been struck off after an English Bulldog went blind after being left unattended for three nights after an operation.

Anne Mary Mullen, who owned Annemmull Vet Clinic in Aveley, Thurrock, did not properly monitor beloved pet Boycie, who needed round the clock attention after the intensive operation.

As a result, the dog ended up suffering from brain damage that led to blindness, Essex live reports.

The tribunal, held on February 4, also heard a Labrador called Cleo died following sterilisation surgery after Mrs Mullen sent her home too early and gave her incorrect wound dressing.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons struck Mrs Mullen off the register for breaching animal welfare in her treatment of the two dogs.

The tribunal heard four-month-old Boycie was taken by its unnamed owner to the clinic for eye surgery in October 2019.

Boycie suffered from 'cherry eye' which is when an eyelid gland pops out and appears as a red swollen mass on the lower eyelid.

The tribunal heard that when the owner spoke to Mrs Mullen, there was no discussion about any of the risks of the surgery or the anaesthetic, with no consent form to sign and no printed information on the operation.

After the surgery, Mrs Mullen performed a dental procedure on another small dog while Boycie recovered from the anaesthesia.

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Vet Dr Christine Shield, who produced an expert report for Mrs Mullen's tribunal, said: "It would be foolhardy to leave an English Bulldog without undivided attention until fully recovered from anaesthesia and able to hold his head up unassisted, and I would regard such conduct as falling below the standard expected of a reasonably competent veterinary surgeon.

"Any anaesthesia of an English Bulldog carries additional risks, due to their respiratory deformities."

The tribunal ruled that, whilst recovering from the anaesthetic, Boycie suffered from a lack of oxygen and consequential brain damage, which caused blindness.

The report said: "Leaving such a dog without constant monitoring whilst recovering from anaesthesia is wholly unacceptable and in fact, was the cause of brain damage to Boycie."

After the surgery, Mrs Mullen left Boycie alone in her surgery for three nights.

She did not offer the owners any alternative options such as transferring the dog to a different clinic where he could be looked after by the overnight staff.

Dr Shield added: "Alternative arrangements would have been either to transfer Boycie's care to another practice where he could have received round-the-clock care from qualified staff or to return him to the care of his owners overnight, to be readmitted the following morning.

"Clearly the owners could have offered no medical care, but Boycie was receiving none anyway whilst alone overnight.

"Either of those options would have been preferable to leaving Boycie alone and unsupervised."

The tribunal also heard that Mrs Mullen had previously received a suspension from the veterinary profession in 2017.

However, despite the graveness of her actions, the panel found she had not shown any proper insight into her actions and if allowed to return to practice there would be a risk of repeat behaviour.

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Striking Mrs Mullen off the veterinary surgeon's register, the tribunal concluded: "Animal welfare lies at the heart of the veterinary profession.

"Mrs Mullen's treatment of Cleo and Boycie constitutes a breach of this fundamental tenet of the profession.

"Mrs Mullen's conduct is so serious that removal of professional status is the only means of protecting animals and in the wider public interest."

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