Attorney for veterinarian continues cross-examination

All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall.

The cross-examination in the defense of Balpal Sandhu and his veterinarian’s license continued Friday, as the attorney for Sandhu questioned the state’s expert about her opinion, record review and what constitutes a recommended level of anesthesia.

There are more than 40 causes for discipline alleged against Sandhu and his three animal care clinics: AV Veterinary Center in Lancaster; All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall; and Canyon Country Veterinary Hospital, which were brought forth by Deputy Attorney General Nancy Kaiser.

George Wallace, Sandhu’s attorney, questioned Beth Parvin, a Veterinary Medical Board consultant who is testifying as a subject matter expert for the state during the trial.

Wallace sought to create doubt with the opinions Parvin presented to the court with respect to the first half-dozen or so causes Friday by asking whether Sandhu should have discretionary authority, based on his experience, as to whether animals could be given less than the recommended doses set forth by the Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Support Group., with respect to pain management. 

“A competent veterinarian should know that the required dosages should be within the recommended range, and certainly, different dogs show pain differently,” Parvin said. “So it has to do with their own knowledge of the use of the drug, but the drugs need to be used within the recommended range — because veterinarians aren’t the ones doing these calculations. These have been done by multiple studies.”

Per the levels indicated in her medical records, Princess was given a dose of pain medicine HLK (hydromorphone-lidocaine-ketamine) at levels of 0.003 mg/kg/hr, 0.21 mg/kg/hr and 0.105 mg/kg/hr, respectively, and Parvin noted the VASG guidelines called for 0.024-.072 mg/kg/hr, 0.6-3.0 mg/kg/hr and 0.12-1.2 mg/kg/hr, respectively. 

Parvin opined the amount used should depend on the symptoms the dog presented, but also should have fallen in that range.

On another instance, Wallace pointed out that in one of the causes for complaint, the medical records indicate that a different veterinarian, Erin Mejia, handled the case at Sandhu’s clinic.

Parvin acknowledged the initials in the medical records for the pets made it difficult to determine whether it was Mejia or another person who cared for the animal, and that there was no proof that Sandhu assisted in that particular instance. 

The trial is expected to continue until Oct. 2.

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