Response from the owner - a month ago
Pine Cone Pet Hospital is fundamentally about making lives better. In no way would anyone at our practice hit a patient.
Emailed response to Owners:
Lou & Chris:
I would like to clarify with you that, although you had the perception and assumed that I had hit your cat, I most certainly did NOT strike him. Nor would I ever do such a thing! I spent approximately 50-60 minutes (twice a normal office call time) with you discussing the history and why you brought Tuna in, sorting things out until it was clear to me, and I examined Tuna not just once, but twice, in case I might have missed something. You could have gathered by those facts that I am passionate about helping both pets and their people. I don’t know how Tuna reacted at his previous veterinary visits or when he was last seen by a veterinarian, but that can greatly influence a cat’s behavior during an examination. I know it was obvious to us all that Tuna was nervous and anxious at your appointment. As I explained to you at the time, it is not at all uncommon for a cat that is extremely friendly and docile at home to become a little tiger in the veterinary clinic. I have had my own cats do it, showing a different side of their personality entirely. Usually this is due to their fear and subsequent defensiveness—understandable when they are out of their familiar surroundings and being handled by complete strangers. I did attempt to explain this dynamic to you in the exam room, during his examination, to put you at ease that it was not behavior unique to your cat.
So, I would like to explain to you again, as I attempted to do in the exam room, what actually occurred that apparently left you thinking that I hit your cat. After I was done feeling for any possible foreign body in his neck, Tuna was even less happy than before. He was crouched on the far side of the exam table. I do not remember if he was growling, but I can tell you that his eyes were widely dilated, and he was staring at me indicating that he was only a few seconds away from lunging at me. After 34 years in practice as a small animal veterinarian, I can read an upset cat very well. Rather than have him go into attack mode, I swept my arm out to startle and redirect him to jump off the exam table rather than have him launch himself at me. I did not contact him physically at all, but I did intentionally bring my hand very close to him to shoo him off the table. I am sorry if this was upsetting to you, and that you thought I was trying to hit your kitty. Again—I would never do that!! But we often have to use distractive techniques to redirect any potentially aggressive behavior—tapping a nose, making a noise—and we have to choose something that will not escalate the situation. In this case, I did choose to startle Tuna and assert my dominance in order to encourage him to retreat rather than persisting in his potentially dangerous behavior.
I have chosen to contact you regarding this misunderstanding because the statements you made in your Google review do not reflect the service you received or the truth of what happened, or the quality of care given at pine Cone Pet Hospital. As we finished the appointment, you thanked me for the time I had taken with you and for answering all your questions. To later learn that you had posted a negative review surprised me and made it clear that you had not understood my explanation to you of shooing Tuna off the exam table—an action that to you looked like I was trying to strike him, which was not at all the case. Please feel free to contact Dr. Walker Brown, the owner of Pine Cone Pet Hospital, or me if you wish to further discuss this matter.
Dr. Bea Winkler