|Kitty Kat Gonzalez, Corpus Christi|
Victim of Vaccine Associated Sarcoma
If you are one of those pet owners who never give vaccinations a second thought, think that nothing bad can happen to your pet because you follow your vet's recommendations to get your pets regularly vaccinated, or believe that veterinarians and state vet boards would never do anything to endanger the lives of our beloved companions – you better run, do not walk, to this excellent new web site, Educate Before You Vaccinate.
Site owner Jena Gonzalez is a Corpus Christi, Texas, resident who found out the hard way (and don't we all when it comes to questionable veterinary practices) that vaccinations are not always the harmless panacea that they seem. In fact, they can sometimes be the cause of illness, injury and even death. And Jena is fighting back.
When Jena learned that the loss of her Kitty Kat to Vaccine Associated Sarcoma (VAS) was one of those tragedies that could have been avoided, she took on this very important cause to help spread the word: Educate before you vaccinate.
Jena's site and blog of the same name is a wealth of important information, links, background, articles and research on VAS, and how to report adverse events.
It also chronicles the timeline of the lawsuit against the vet who treated Kitty Kat (more on this below).
Taking on the Texas veterinary board
Jena's complaint to the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners was dismissed. No big surprise there – the “board” in Texas (i.e., two reviewing vets) dismisses more than 90 percent of complaints. Worse, the system is arrogantly inconsistent about which vets they discipline; some get their hands slapped for violating standards of care while others happily walk free for committing the same type of violations.
Bottom line: it's an arbitrary system that can't be trusted. And of course Jena lost her “appeal” because I don't know of a single complainant who's ever won their appeal (please somebody correct me if I'm wrong and supply me with verifying documents).
Further, in a series of correspondences with the Texas veterinary board's offices in Austin, Jena discovered that they are not even officially notifying losing complainants of their right to appeal. She called them out on it and supposedly they will be rectifying their “oversight” soon. I know Jena will be watching them closely, as others have been doing for years, with varying degrees of success.
Taking on the courts
Jena is doing more than just putting up a web site and challenging the Texas board system: She filed a lawsuit against the vet for negligence in small claims court in Nueces County.
It did not end well – not for her, not for other victims of VAS, and not for the people of Corpus Christi,Texas whose pets are still at risk from questionable and misleading practices regarding the issue of vaccination and overvaccination of pets, all under the guise of acceptable “standard of care.”
Read the history and outcome of this case and ask yourself if you agree with what the judge ruled is the “standard of care” in Corpus Christi, Texas? Would you still agree if this happened to your pet?
Despite the setbacks, Jena's not done with her fight. For more information on Jena Gonzalez, her original lawsuit, and the progress of her current court case, check her out on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.