Vet is disbarred for animal welfare violation after four-month-old bulldog ‘Boycie’ was left BLIND


A vet has been struck off after a bulldog went blind when she left him unattended for three consecutive nights following an operation.

Anne Mary Mullen failed to properly supervise beloved animal Boycie after surgery, a professional tribunal has heard.

The court heard Ms Mullen was ‘reckless’ to leave the dog without her full attention as she performed dental work on another dog while Boycie recovered from anesthesia.

The English bulldog – who experts say needed round-the-clock attention after such an operation – ended up suffering brain damage that led to blindness.

In addition, a Labrador retriever named Cleo died following spay/neuter surgery after Ms Mullen sent her home too soon and gave her the wrong dressing, the court heard.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons struck Ms Mullen off the register for breaching animal welfare in her treatment of the two dogs.

The court heard that four-month-old Boycie was taken by his unnamed owner to Ms Mullen’s clinic, called Annemull in Aveley, Essex, for eye surgery in October 2019.

Anne Mary Mullen, who owned a veterinary clinic called Annemull in Essex, was struck off after a bulldog went blind when she left him unattended for three consecutive nights.

Boycie suffered from ‘cherry eye’ which is when an eyelid gland pops up and appears as a swollen red mass on the lower eyelid.

When the dog’s owner spoke to Ms Mullen, there was no discussion of the risks of surgery or anesthesia, the court heard.

She also did not give him any printed information, or ask him to sign a consent form.

After the operation, Ms Mullen performed dental work on another small dog while Boycie recovered from anesthesia.

In an expert report produced for the court, veterinarian Dr Christine Shield said: ‘It would be unwise to leave an English bulldog without undivided attention until he is fully recovered from anesthesia and able to hold his head unaided, and I would consider such conduct to fall below the standard expected of a reasonably competent veterinarian.

“Any anesthesia of an English Bulldog carries additional risks, due to its respiratory malformations.”

The court ruled that, while recovering from anesthesia, Boycie suffered from a lack of oxygen and consequential brain damage, which caused blindness.

It read: “Leaving such a dog unattended while recovering from anesthesia is totally unacceptable and has in fact caused Boycie brain damage.”

After the operation, Ms Mullen left Boycie alone in her operation for three nights and offered the owners no other options, such as transferring the dog to another clinic where he could be cared for by night staff. .

Dr Shield said: ‘Alternative arrangements would have been to either transfer Boycie’s care to another practice where he could have received round-the-clock care from trained staff or hand him over to the care of his owners in the overnight, only to be readmitted the following morning.

“Clearly the owners couldn’t have offered any medical attention, but Boycie wasn’t getting any anyway as he was alone overnight.

“Either of these options would have been better than leaving Boycie alone and unsupervised.”

Also in 2019, it was discovered Ms Mullen had sent her pet Cleo away too soon after her sterilization procedure with a bandage that was too tight around the wound.

Dr Shield’s report said: ‘It would be unusual to discharge a patient so soon after major surgery.

“Most practices would prefer to wait until the anesthetic medication has largely worn off and the patient has recovered sufficiently to be sure that no complications, such as delayed bleeding, have occurred.

“It seems to me that Cleo was released from Ms. Mullen’s practice much sooner after the operation than her condition and common caution would warrant.”

The court heard Cleo struggling to walk and Ms Mullen ‘dragged’ her when she returned him to his owners.

Cleo then fell ill and her owners were left on their own to find another vet as there was no information about out of hours clinic services on their answering machine or any form of record postoperative information.

Cleo’s owners moved her to a different practice because she couldn’t get up and had difficulty walking.

Blood tests indicated the dog had suffered severe blood loss and Cleo had to be taken to surgery where she died in theatre.

Radiating Ms Mullen from the Veterinary Register, the court said: ‘Animal welfare is at the heart of the veterinary profession.

“Ms. Mullen’s treatment of Cleo and Boycie constitutes a violation of this fundamental tenet of the profession.

“Ms Mullen’s conduct is so serious that removing professional status is the only way to protect animals and in the wider public interest.”


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