Family’s ‘perfect’ pet dog died after vets botched a routine castration

June 26, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

A family are devastated after their ‘perfect’ dog died after a routine CASTRATION was botched by vets.

Shadow, a six-year-old Newfoundland, went under the knife after being diagnosed with a benign tumour in his testicles.

But the poorly pet died from internal bleeding just two hours after being sent home, when an essential internal ligature was not put in place, according to a post mortem.

Shadow the dog with owner Gemma Ballantyne

Shadow the dog with owner Gemma Ballantyne


Heartbroken owner Gemma Ballantyne, 22, is now demanding answers from the Companion Care practice inside the Pets at Home store in Slough, Berks.

Gemma, a receptionist, said: “We were told it was just routine and nothing to worry about.

“At 2pm that day, I got a call from the vet, who told me that the operation went well and we could pick him up.

“When I got there after work at about 6pm, Shadow was laid on the floor, completely out of it.

“The vet kept reassuring me he was completely fine, just sleepy, so he put Shadow on a stretcher and put him in the back of my car.

Shadow, a six-year-old Newfoundland, went under the knife after being diagnosed with a benign tumour in his testicles

Shadow, a six-year-old Newfoundland, went under the knife after being diagnosed with a benign tumour in his testicles



“When I arrived home we had to carry him out of the car, and he was just a fluffy lump.

“He lay on the kitchen floor and didn’t move.

“We rang the vet several times, and he kept saying Shadow would be fine.

“I stayed on the floor with him, cuddling up to him and crying because I wanted him to wake up so much. Two hours later he died.”

An independent post mortem revealed that Shadow died from internal bleeding when 2.5 litres of blood leaked inside his abdomen.

It named vet Rahul Shah as the clinician and said a ligature on Shadow’s testicular blood vessels and tubes was not in place.

Gemma raised Shadow from a pup with her parents Gary, 54, and Debbie, 49, and siblings Terri, 28, and 25-year-old Chris, at their home in Slough.

Tearful Gemma said: “He was a completely healthy, all he had was a tumour that was benign so we were told he would have to be castrated.

“That night he was dead, and it’s all the vet’s fault for botching the surgery.

“The post mortem says if he had put these ties around the inside of the wound properly, he would have been fine.

“I wish I had questioned the vet more but he’s a qualified vet so you just think that they are right.

“We are all devastated, he was such a great dog just full of life.

“He was a bit of a bull in a china shop because he thought he was tiny, so he would sit on us and crush us.

“You couldn’t ask for a better pet, friend and companion – he was perfect.”

The post mortem was carried out at the Royal Veterinary College in North Mimms, Herts.

The official report by independent veterinary pathologists reads: “There was evidence of significant abdominal haemorrhage.

“The quantity of bloody fluid in the abdomen was sufficient to cause the death of this animal and appears to have come from the left spermatic cord where the ligature was not in place.”

Other documentation shows the practice also failed to monitor the dog’s post-op recovery every 15 minutes until he was “fully awake.”

Gemma paid #200 for the operation which took place on Friday June 20 and had the money refunded.

She added: “Shadow’s death was down to human error and internal bleeding in the abdomen.

“The vets paid for the post mortem and have offered to pay for his cremation, which makes them look guilty.

“If they knew they weren’t at fault, they wouldn’t bother, would they?

“Mr Shah himself has just been blas? about everything, which is even more annoying because if it was me, I don’t think I could even touch another animal after that.

“He has just showed no remorse at all, no compassion and it’s ridiculous.

“I don’t want him to be able to go near another animal ever again because no one should have to go through what we went through.

“Nothing will bring Shadow back but we want the vet to know how much he has hurt us and he shouldn’t be allowed to operate ever again.”

The Companion Care practice has a three-and-a-half star review on Facebook with some  negative comments from pet owners.

One wrote: “Avoid this place at all costs! Took my dog here three years ago. He was so ill but diagnosed with an upset stomach and sent home but died the next day!”

Companion Care said: “The loss of a much loved pet is tragic in any circumstances and we extend our deepest sympathy to Shadow’s family.

“With the agreement of Shadow’s owners we arranged for a post mortem examination by an independent veterinary surgeon at the Royal Veterinary College and are investigating the findings in detail with Shadow’s owners.

“We have offered our full support at this difficult time”

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