On November 21, 2017, we took our 10-year old male seal-point Himalayan cat to Veterinary Healthcare Associates (VHA) (Dundee) because he had been constipated for about 3 days. Before seeing a doctor, he was given a full vital signs screening, full blood panel workup and an x-ray.
When Dr. Fallin C. Takacs came in, we were told that our cat was in “excellent” health, his blood panel was completely normal, his vitals were completely normal, and the x-ray showed a “mild” constipation; further that the backed-up *** probably would not pass on its own, so he needed to be sedated and a “deobstipation” performed. When we asked how serious it was, she stated that “she had seen much worse”.
The cost would be a little over $700. We agreed, left while it was done, and returned a few hours later to take “Baby Tom” home. When we arrived at home and opened the kennel door, our cat was so drugged-up and weak, he could not walk – flopped around like a drunk and was totally disoriented. We called VHA and were told “that was normal” and he should recover after the pain meds wore off.
We were also given additional pain meds, a “nutritional Supplement” (bio-flora) and Mira-lax. We did everything we were told, but Baby Tom just got worse and worse over the next 5 days. We brought him back on November 27 and were told that he was STILL constipated and this time they would perform “at least” one enema as well as another “deobstipation” for another $340. We should have taken the hint and run like *** to another vet – but we didn’t.
The “treatment” was done (again) and we (again) took him home a few hours later. This time he was still “drugged-up” but after a while seemed a little better. That was short-lived, however, and over the next few days he became worse and worse. We called VHA and demanded a recheck.
They agreed to do a “re-check” but any further “treatment” required would be at a standard cost. Once again, we were told he still needed yet another “deobstipation” as well as some “stronger” drug treatments AND, this time, “diagnosed” with a NEW “heart murmur” which had not been heard before – but recommended nothing. We agreed for yet another $300 (discounted from $550). We still should have run away to another vet – but didn’t.
We were sent home with at least 4 drugs to home-administer and one “drug” which was to be formulated in New Jersey and mailed to us – at an additional cost of $48. We took our “baby” home and he never recovered, becoming weaker and in a few days passed away at 4 A.M – BEFORE the additional drugs arrived from New Jersey. I am retired and have a PhD degree in “Genetics and Reproductive Morphology”. I have keen observational abilities and an IQ over 140 – my career was made on such qualities and I have over 20 national and international awards to show for it.
It is my opinion, based on all that was done and knowing my cat for 10 years, that something went terribly wrong during the first “treatment” – and here is why: 1) Dr. Fallin Takacs appears inexperienced, having graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in London, England only recently – 2013. 2) Dr. Fallin Takacs appears unstable, having held 4 different positions since 2013.
(www.linkedin.com) 3) Dr. Fallin Takacs worked at Banfield Pet Hospital (Jacksonville) during a period when Banfield received over 700 documented Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints. (BBB business profile – www.BBB.com) 4) Dr. Fallin Takacs has a MyLife.com “reputation” score of only 3.62 (out of 5) and is listed as “fair” (on a scale of: bad – poor – fair - good).
(www.mylife.com data search) 5) Dr. Fallin Takacs has had (at least) TWO legal complaints filed against her (2010 and 2012) for “debt collection”. (Duvall County Sheriff) While Dr. Takacs did graduate from an American Veterinary Medical Association accredited school and does hold a valid Florida issued “North American Veterinary License” - # VM 12605, expiring 5/31/2018, it is my firm opinion that this “Dr.” may have instigated internal damage during the first treatment from which my cat was unable to recover.
He had been extremely “active”, alert and appeared “healthy” (we have pictures, before, during and after) even during the first visit to VHA and was diagnosed with only “mild” constipation. Shortly after his first treatment, he passed a single piece of *** that appeared to be partially “wrapped” in a thick skin-like membrane approximately 1 square inch in size. This was brought to the attention of the second “Dr.” (Hoggarth) who shrugged it off as “nothing”. We spent over $1,300 dollars (less than many at VHA do) – and we no longer have a cat that was a part of our lives for 10 years.
I strongly urge EVERYONE who values their pet to stay as far away from VHA as possible, they are driven by one thing and one thing only: MONEY. They are VERY expensive compared to other excellent veterinarians in the area (although they like to brag that they are “comparable” – NOT!!); you DO NOT “get what you pay for” at VHA. The “technicians” do exhibit some modicum of “care” for pets – the “Dr.s” DO NOT. Look at the long list of complaints lodged against VHA at both “Yelp” and “Google” and you will see that the “director” at VHA has a pattern of replying ONLY to those leaving favorable comments on their own Facebook page, while ignoring those who leave less than favorable comments anywhere.
VHA is NOT an “accredited” BBB member but has responded to at least one BBB complaint with a defensive denial while trying to cast the “blame” back on the victim in an outrageous and egregious manner. Did VHA, perhaps CHOOSE to shun BBB membership to avoid having to respond to complaints which could lead to a lower BBB rating or a loss of business? There are many on-line instances of abysmal treatment at VHA which was later “corrected” by other vets at other facilities and even more where the beloved pet DIED. Some were given as little as a callous phone call from VHA that their pet had died at the facility.
In our case, we did everything VHA asked or recommended. Instead we should have gone somewhere else, but it was too late. Their medical director, one Dr. Perez, has only a “standard”, “rehearsed” and oft repeated response to complaints whether verbal or written: “We will investigate the circumstances, study the records and get back to you – but it appears our veterinarian followed all the protocols for your pet”.
We have requested that copies of ALL medical records and documents currently at VHA be sent to us – they have still not arrived. When asked about a refund: “that is impossible” – and not a single “sorry for your loss” – THEY DO NOT CARE! We will be filing a complaint with the “Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation” veterinary oversight department. Anyone who has a complaint against this or any other veterinary hospital should visit: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/datamart/loginFLDBPR.do .
Finally: Baby Tom Von Bliss was, and shall always be – my friend. Dr. Thomas D.
Arkle, Jr., PhD. retired