Vet struck off for feline dishonesty
A NSW veterinarian lost his licence after a tribunal found he failed to treat a cat suffering from fatal seizures and for delivering "sham ashes" to the owner of a second cat.
Dr Terrence Johnson also faked entries in his drug register, repeatedly acted in a dishonest manner and flouted his suspension from working, the tribunal ruled.
On Thursday, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal cancelled his veterinary practitioner's registration and said he could not reapply for at least four years.
Dr Johnson, a vet since May 1986, mainly practised at the Hawke Drive Veterinary Hospital at Woolgoolga in northern NSW.
The tribunal found him guilty of both professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct.
The doctor admitted many complaints against him including deceiving a cat owner about the circumstances of her pet's death at the hospital and creating false records about it.
The diabetic cat was hospitalised on September 16, 2008 and died there on the 19th, but Dr Johnson did not inform its owner of the death until four days later.
He lied, saying he was with the cat when she died on the 21st and that he had put her to sleep as her kidney had collapsed.
The tribunal accepted evidence from hospital staff who said Dr Johnson was told about the cat's deteriorating condition and the need for urgent attention, but he did not attend her.
One worker described the cat's seizures as "sort of convulsing like straightening out all her limbs and stiffening and throwing her head out and just howling basically".
"He failed to adequately review or assess her or administer necessary treatment to her including treatment to alleviate her pain or suffering," the tribunal said.
"He left the hospital without making any arrangements for her care in his absence."
In a separate case, Dr Johnson was found to have lied to a cat owner about how he disposed of its corpse and then threatened her after she complained.
The owner gave Dr Johnson permission for her cat to be euthanased in January 2009 and when she asked to retrieve the body was told it would be kept at the hospital for a week.
Instead, the tribunal found Dr Johnson directed it be taken to the tip before the week was up.
Realising his mistake, he told the woman the cat was taken to the crematorium and arranged for his then girlfriend to deliver a box of ashes.
The tribunal said he repeatedly lied to the woman and organised "for the delivery of sham ashes".Even so, the tribunal acknowledged Dr Johnson had "obviously been professional and caring to numerous clients and their pets over the years" and had been under extreme stress.