Case against 3 animal clinics continues

The state Attorney General’s Office is seeking to revoke the license of two veterinary clinics in Santa Clarita, following a slew of negligence and unprofessional conduct complaints.
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Testimony continued Wednesday in the trial over allegations made against Balpal Sandhu, who operates a pair of Santa Clarita Valley veterinary clinics and an Antelope Valley location.

Deputy Attorney General Nancy Kaiser continued Wednesday her questioning of Beth Parvin, a Veterinary Medical Board consultant testifying as a subject matter expert for the state, who explained how several animals were operated on with levels of anesthetic “far, far below” recommended levels. 

Parvin discussed at length, via video call, the records of three animals listed under the care of Sandhu at his facilities, which include: AV Veterinary Center in Lancaster; All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall; and Canyon Country Veterinary Hospital.

One of several case files reviewed was a 4-year-old Chihuahua named Rosie, who was evaluated by Sandhu and treated at Sandhu’s Antelope Valley facility, according to the animal’s medical records. 

“So, Rosie could not use her back legs. And typically, the first thing that’s done is a neurologic exam and then, sometimes to further locate exactly where the disc material has ruptured,” Parvin testified. “A CT scan can be performed prior to performing a surgery; it localizes the lesion so the surgery can be performed more appropriately.”

Parvin indicated a few concerns with Rosie’s care, including the Chihuahua was not examined until about six hours after admission, according to records. She also noted a neurologic exam was not completed per the dog’s medical records. 

Parvin’s report noted she considered this negligent care: “(Dogs with neurologic symptoms) should be started on medical intervention to help reduce inflammation and swelling in the spinal cord and hopefully make it so that, when surgery is done, there’s more likely a chance of having good outcomes,” she testified Wednesday, confirming it was “below standard care” and that she was unable to tell if the dog’s symptoms required surgery based on the treatment.

“It’s below the standard of care not to do a neurological exam on an animal that presents with neurological disease,” she said.

About six days after her surgery, a blood test showed Rosie was anemic, as well as acting lethargic and not eating. While receiving transfusions, the dog ultimately developed respiratory distress and later died.

Parvin also testified Wednesday that, similar to other care she saw records for, Rosie was given pain treatment “far, far below the recommended therapeutic range,” in her opinion. 

In total, there are 41 causes for discipline filed against Sandhu and his three clinics in the complaint filed last November. Kaiser mentioned Wednesday there were approximately 4,000 pages of records and evidence related to her case.

Thursday’s testimony is expected to continue in a similar fashion, with the prosecution’s case expected to continue at least into next week, before Sandhu presents his defense.

George Wallace, an attorney for Sandhu, declined comment at this time.

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