Porterville Vets Well Over Capacity, Sick Dogs Suffer Needlessly

Last night we noticed a lump under Thunder’s jaw, a lump the size of a doggie golf ball. This morning we called all the vets in town, starting with our regular vet, to take her in.

No one can see her before Tuesday, a full 6 days from now, and some not until Thursday, one week from today.

This has happened before when we try to schedule an appointment when one of our dogs falls ill, but I hoped it was an aberration last time. Apparently it was not. We should have a magic ball to know when our dog will take ill so we can schedule well in advance I guess.

There are 4 vets in town, and they all work bankers hours. No service in the evenings, little to no service on weekends, for emergencies during that time, Visalia 30 miles away is the closest possibility.

I am sure the doctors are doing yeoman work, and I also know as a volunteer for the new Porterville Animal Shelter, we are asking them to make time in their busy schedule to spay and neuter the strays we take in.

Still, it must be nice to be so busy that all of the vets in town can afford to project an uncaring image to responsible and loving pet owners who come in with an ill pet and are regular customers, and to give priority to abandoned dogs instead.

No advice is offered for keeping the pet comfortable during the delay, no explanation about why time can’t be made available in the evenings or weekends to meet demand, just sheer callousness on the part of front office staffs, the very staffs we trust with our pet’s health and lives. This is not the kind of image a health service should be projecting.

Now, I don’t want to offer criticism without turning it into a critique, offering practical solutions to this problem.

Recently, we were at the “Super Pet Adoption Day” with the Porterville Animal Shelter in Fresno. One of the local vet schools had a booth they were manning. Maybe it is time for a new vet to consider Porterville, as the business seems to be there, and there will be steady business spaying and neutering as many as 6 strays per day on behalf of the Shelter, many of which will find families who will make the vet their own.

Either that, or one of the existing vets ought hire some help, maybe a new vet, to assist with overflow business. This could be a very sound business decision for the vet, because it is very likely the hired vet may one day wish to buy the practice, which makes retirement that much more likely.

PS – I don’t know if it is funny or sad that one of the vets in town, not staff but the actual doctor, told me he does not believe in evolution while standing in front of a poster of 75 or so breeds of dogs.

Just how does this doctor think dogs and other animals get their distinctive features? And do we really want to place our trust in such a medical doctor who claims to not “believe” in the very science that is at the foundation of everything he does?

UPDATE: Thurs. Evening

It looks like Thunder is going to be OK. We found a vet in Tulare who is actually willing to see sick animaks and to make sure their capacity is sufficient to account for the demand for their services.

Seems a foxtail had gotten under Thunder’s tongue, and worked its way down to the front of her neck where it had become  trapped and seriously infected. We were told that had we waited until Tuesday to Thursday of next week, the infection, which was filled already with a large amount of pus, could have burst and made matters much worse. Apparently every single vet in Porterville is too concerned about something other than their own customers to explain this to us.

We were also told that we are far from the first from Porterville to make the trek – and make no mistake about it, it is a 60 mmile roundtrip trek – to Tulare while muttering about the lack of compassion of the local vets.

How sad indeed for Porterville’s pet owners that the local vets, each and every one of them,  only do procedures that can be scheduled far in advance, and that the pets have to either suffer while they wait, or the owners are forced to make a 60+ mile round trip for primary and followup visits to receive timely medical care for their loved ones.

Posted in Choose Porterville, Porterville Animal Shelter, Thoughts and Comments.


  1. I too Have endured years of the same neglect by Vets here in P-ville. Lost several animals and have had to learn alot about animal care. The Emergency Vet in Visalia is Horrible and I have had to resort to taking animals there with even worse results. I had to wait for a full weekend to have a dog put down because they refused to do it, all the while my pet screamed in pain all weekend. I have no use for Visalia Emergency vet. Most people O know have had Similar problems with them. In response to our Porterville Vets I will tell you that You are correct in stating that they are rude but this seems to not only be with the Vets but most Porterville businesses. I asked my vet staff one time why we do not have an emergency service and they said” We did have one that involved all the vets and it was on rotation basis. But what wound up happening is that they would either cancel their weekend or not show up at their office at all-leaving suffering and sick animals to die- So the one Vet usually was forced to work most of the weekends. he was not able to keep up with the emergencies and his regular practice. so they had to drop it. Hope you can help. It seems like your pets are like children they always get sick on the weekend.

    • Thanks for the feedback on Visalia Shay!

      Not only on do they get ill on weekends, but mine take after me – the biggest emergencies are on holidays no less. We will be holding our breath over this long weekend while Thunder recovers from her surgery.

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