How to File Complaints Against Bad Veterinarians in Each State and Territory

Updated on March 18, 2018
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Take Action: File a Complaint With Your State's Veterinarian Board

You can file a complaint with your state's or territory's associated veterinarian board.

Only your state's licensing board (made up of roughly six to ten experts, depending on the size of your state) has total jurisdiction over a veterinarian’s license.

List of Websites for Filing Complaints Against Veterinarians by State and Territory

Alabama — Hawaii

Idaho — Missouri

Montana — Pennsylvania

Puerto Rico — Wyoming

I spent hours researching sites for this article to make sure you have the most up-to-date links for each U.S. state and U.S. territory. Unfortunately, some state websites don't provide complaint forms.

Each state has a different procedure for filing vet complaints. State vet complaints may be directed to or through any of the following:

  1. The appropriate department (e.g. Department of Health Services)
  2. The state agency
  3. Complaint submission process: Online, paper form, or by calling a complaint hotline.

Use Your Phone to Call

Each state has some type of consumer division or department that can take your complaint online, but you can also call to talk to a complaint specialist, complaint intake coordinator, or intake investigator. Their job is to help you through the process. You may also fill out a form and mail it in with your backup documentation, if that works better for you.

What Happens When a Complaint Is Filed Against a Vet

The Board, following a decision, can choose to do the following:

  • The Board may institute a cease-and-desist order to the vet (not the practice). A cease-and-desist is a temporary injunction that suspends the vet's activity until a trial can be held to determine whether they can continue practicing veterinary medicine. After the trial, the court could decide to issue a permanent injunction.
  • The vet may be fined.
  • The vet's records may be reviewed for the subsequent year.
  • The Board may encourage the vet to reimburse you (including travel expenses or expenses for corrective care or surgeries). Unfortunately, they cannot mandate the payment.

Signs of a Bad Veterinarian

If your pets are treated by a veterinarian, I am assuming you pay good money for preventative care, as well as medical and health appointments and surgery. If you have a bad experience, you may discuss the bad quality of service with your veterinarian in person, in writing, or on the phone. These bad experiences can include anything from realizing your dog or cat is in pain or having an allergic reaction to medicine to not healing properly after a surgery.

Here are some signs that a vet may need to be reported:

  • They may become disgruntled or challenge your statements of concern.
  • They don't ask how your pet is feeling after you complain about a complication. If this happens, you will instantly know that they are putting their own needs ahead of your pet's needs.
  • They have poor bedside manner.
  • They display unprofessional conduct.
  • They provide substandard care.

Conclusion

If you have a complaint against your veterinarian, please do not wait. Each state has their own rule regarding the statute of limitations (a certain time limit after the vet appointment within you can file a complaint). I highly encourage you to call the (800), (866) or (888) number listed on the state government's website, fax in a complaint question, or email the appropriate department.

You are not only helping yourself and your pets, but you are helping protect your community members from being ripped off by unethical vets. You are also protecting other animals from injury, additional medical complications, being prescribed improper medications, defective surgeries, future health issues, and bad medical appointment experiences.

I hope this information proves helpful to you and your pet! You are now empowered to help others by sharing this information so you can protect your community from bad veterniarian practices.

Have you ever filed a complaint against a veterinarian?

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • I took my dog to the vet and he told me she had tetanus and there was nothing else we could do besides put her to sleep. I went to a different vet to get a second opinion and she told me that my dog did have tetanus, but she was going to put her on antibiotics to help her fight it because it wasn’t too advanced yet. The first vet didn’t even blood work on my dog he just took a look at her and at was it. Can I report the first vet for giving me wrong information?

    First of all, I am so sorry that you almost had to put your dog down because of a vet's incompetence!

    The short answer is: "Yes, you can and I hope you do."

    I would suggest you dispute the first vet's charge on your credit card (if you charged by credit card) - if it is not too late.

    Additionally, I would also file a complaint, and as part of the complaint, ask for your money back!

    You don't want this veterinarian to potentially kill someone else's dog.

  • What about if you think your veterinarian is over charging you for medication and then he refuses to give you a written prescription to take to a pharmacy?

    I would suggest stating that you need a written prescription because you can get the medication cheaper elsewhere, like an online Pet Pharmacy or your local pharmacy. (As an example, one of my local supermarkets has a pharmacy with a Pet Saver prescription program and it saves us lots of money on pet prescriptions.) Explain that is it your right to buy prescriptions elsewhere and you are requesting a written prescription. They should not refuse. Explain that you need to save this money so you can afford vet care.

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    • profile image

      Karen 

      4 months ago

      My little chihuahua broke her front leg both bones clean break near the joint. They set it and gave her metacam. They had us going back every few days then one evening a week but every time they would change bandage. This was aug 24 she broke it . But some times they would just put bandage below elbow and the dog pulled her leg out of it. Took her back they never did X-ray to see if she pulled it apart. She did. Then every time the bandage was up above the elbow she would leave it on. I told them that but they would put it below. She pulled out of it before we left the hospital. 3 times in one day. They did X-ray and said she was not healing. ( that’s because they didn’t bandage up above elbow and reset it the first time) she had 6 screws and a plate in March. I told surgeon she pulls out of bandage. Well she did it again and they took one screw out. Then she pulled out of bandage again took her back. They left it hanging and said come back in 2 weeks. Now they want to amputate on the 23 of July they said part of bone is dead. We have spent about 6,000 dollars. The surgeon is no longer there. The case was given to someone else. But the first dr. Told us they want to amputate. I have read reviews and I don’t like what I read. I’m trying to sell my doll collection to get money to take her to someone else. Please help me. 10 days before she broke her leg my 15.5 year old chihuahua died. Thank you

    • profile image

      Arpita 

      7 months ago

      I had a german spitz she was suffering from dehydration we took her to a doct she gave wrong steroid for which we lost her

      Im frm orissa plz help me out to file a case against her

    • profile image

      Maria 

      2 years ago

      Hi - thank you for the thorough list, however, I live in the state of Ohio and the website states they have no jurisdiction over bedside manner or business conduct. Can you recommend another agency? Thanks for your help.

    • profile image

      doggielover2 

      3 years ago

      Im so glad I found your page, I just got done sending off my letter to the BBB and your page helped my find my state complaint form. My dog is gravely ill this week. I had to go to another vet mine was out of state this week. She diagnoised my dog with Gastric Ulcers after 2 hours and $230.00 later. An yet wanted me to spend another $185.00 for more tests. Next day my dog was worse, she said " I can make her better but you cant afford it" (explained to her, I just couldn't afford anymore) walking away feeling guilty. My vet got back the next day and I rushed her in 5 minutes in his office he feels masses in her tummy, sure enough with no tests needed and one xray, he did surgery and removed an enormous life threatening6lbs of infected uterous. ( a private rescue dog we thought was fixed and never went into heat)..surgery was cheaper then what I spent on tests I didn't need...and he has set me up on doable payment arrangements. The bad Vet refused to help me out in anyway. She was bout filling her pockets not my animal. Not only did I get bad Vet, bad heartless comment, bad diagnosis, wrong medication, un-needed costs, my vet said My dog was within hours of death. She is recovering tonite at my Vets and even though she is in grave condition he is optimistic she has a chance of surviving. We pray her other organs have not suffered to much...So I have my state complaint form in from of me that will go out this week, and my BBB is already submitted. Thank you for helping me learn what I needed to do.

    • profile image

      brenda moye 

      3 years ago

      a vet killed my dog im a mess in missouri, have to get justice for tiger dont know what to do.... heart is forever broken

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      3 years ago from United States

      Kelli, you are welcome and I appreciate the kind words. There are a lot of great vets out there, but too many bad vets too!

    • profile image

      Kelli 

      3 years ago

      Thank you for putting this page together. . Too many vets are taking advantage of people and treating their pets poorly, I thank you so very much for making it easy to understand and to file a complaint so we can all sleep more soundly at night knowing that bad vets are being reported.

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      3 years ago from United States

      Melissa, I just updated the link to 'File a Complaint' to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine in Colorado!

    • profile image

      Melissa 

      3 years ago

      Im in Colorado. Who do i speak to concerning an invasive eye exam on my horse?

    • profile image

      SukiStory 

      4 years ago

      MarlobyDesign, excellent info. I have been writing online about the subject of BadVets and how to file a board complaint for 14 years. The more info people have, the better. Thank you for adding your voice to this very important subject. For more info vetabusenetwork.com/filecomplaint.htm

    • profile image

      JusticeFor Charlotte 

      5 years ago

      Your information was so helpful....I am fighting to get justice for my cat who was diagnosed with cancer and had her leg amputated. After the amputation, the vet found out the mass was benign. I was misadvised to go forward with an UNNECESSARY AMPUTATION. Please read my story: www.justiceforcharlotte.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      Wilkie 

      6 years ago

      I would like for someone to contact me about a complaint and what to do - my e-mail is sorawilkie@mail.com or I would rather be contacted at my address:

      3305 Savannahs Trail - Merritt Island, Florida 32953 OR

      Phone (321) 454-9980

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      This is great information. I have always had good experiences when taking my cats to the vet. Many people don't have good experiences. I never tough of reporting them. Great hub!

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      7 years ago from United States

      ktrapp, yes, I agree that as pet owners we hope to find great vets for their care. If not, at least we have options and do not have to feel at the mercy of "bad medicine". Have a safe experience!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      This is very informative. I had no idea each state had online vet complaint forms. I am about to take my dog to the vet this week, hopefully I won't need to follow your good tips, but if I ever I needed them I know where to turn. Thanks!

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks Multiman, that means a lot!

    • profile image

      Multiman 

      7 years ago

      Great hub, good information for people who have had pets mistreated and bad medicine from a Vet. Voted Up.

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thank you Simone. Yes, please share this information!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, this is an amazing, helpful guide! I'll have to share this with my pet-owning friends.

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      7 years ago from United States

      tlpoague, thank you for your comments and yes, please share this Hub with anyone you know who has had vet issues. Hopefully, they will thank you later!

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 

      7 years ago from USA

      I have bookmarked this for future use. Thanks for posting a hub about the abuse of vets. I, myself, haven't had too many issues with our local vet, but I do know of a few people that have. Great hub! Very useful! I gave this one a vote up!

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      7 years ago from United States

      Sounds like a great idea and I thank you. I do not even want to think about the pictures that could be associated with those horrible experiences, may leave that part out.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      7 years ago from now on

      "Real life horrible experiences with vets" GREAT IDEA! If I had thought of it I'd create a hub just for that! I'll send you some of my experiences in email - maybe you can use them. My pleasure!

    • MarloByDesign profile imageAUTHOR

      MarloByDesign 

      7 years ago from United States

      tsadjatko I truly appreciate your comments - I read them twice and they confirmed why I wrote this Hub in the first place (based on my personal experience with a really, really bad vet who almost killed my dog). Please feel free to stop back anytime and add your experiences or thoughts...I am thinking of adding a section in my Hub entitled "Real life horrible experiences with vets". Again, ty for your feedback and I am glad to know I am not alone here.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      7 years ago from now on

      This is such a good hub page! I have worked for veterinarians and used them throughout my life and I have to say they are, as a group the most money grubbing, deceitful gang of "professionals" I have ever encountered. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but I can honestly say I have only met one in 50 years and 5 different states. I have encountered everything from blatant disregard for laws (like regularly throwing euthanized dogs in the garbage instead of incinerating) to charging clients for autopsy of an animal they killed! I could do a long hub page on what I have encountered! Chances are if you are happy with your vet it is because you don't know enough about what they are doing to know they are taking advantage of you! Like charging $50 for a puppy shot (that of course includes $25 just for the office visit) when you can buy and administer it yourself for $4.00.

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