Press Releases

May 13, 2013


WEDMORE, SOMERSET A vet told a distraught dog owner her pet would die unless she brought the animal to him for treatment, a hearing was told today (Mon). Hutber called the former client after learning she had taken her Collie Cross Bessie to a rival, it is alleged. Hutber claimed the mutt had lymes disease, despite not checking her for symptoms, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons heard. He went on to say the unnamed owner needed pills from him or the dog would die.

RESPONSE: Dr. Hutber had phoned the dog owner to discuss treatment, after considering four recent fatal cases of suspected distemper in the Stogumber area, and also Lyme Disease. Dr. Hutber's receptionist had asked him to phone Mrs. Walker, although she didn't tell him that Bessie was being treated at Whitelodge Vets in Minehead. Dr. Hutber asked Mrs. Walker "How can I help?". Mrs. Walker became angry, and after conversing impolitely she ended the phone call. Mrs. Walker told the Royal College: "I explained that I thought he looked a mess." Dr. Hutber attempted later to determine what was happening. Dr. Hutber had seen Bessie once and his clinical notes showed that Mrs. Walker did not return Bessie for a blood test. Dr. Hutber charged 55 pounds for the consultation which included an antibiotic course for infection. Mr. Gannon [the vet at Whitelodge] told the Royal College that he thought the cause of the illness was 'most likely an infection'. He also treated Bessie for Lyme Disease. Mr. Gannon charged Mrs. Walker 845 pounds before failing to find a diagnosis and euthanizing the dog three weeks later. After consulting with Mr. Gannon, the owner believed her pet 'had a stroke'. Dogs rarely experience strokes, since the biochemical pathway for cholesterol metabolism differs from that in humans.