I-Team: Mistake leads to cat's death at vet appointment

ROUGEMONT, N.C. (WTVD) -- A medical mix-up led to the death of a beloved pet at a local vet. The family sent their cat in for a rabies vaccine, but he ended up being put down instead.

"Stampy" was just 11 months old when his family took him in for a routine appointment to get fixed and to get a rabies vaccine, but they soon got a call that rocked their world.

"I'm in shock something like that can happen," said April Ketner.

Ketner and her son, Carter, still can't believe Stampy is gone.

"He was a nice playful cat," said Carter. "He had the best personality."

They talk in past tense because of what happened at Quail Roost Animal Hospital in Rougemont.

"They neutered him, and that went fine, but when they went to give him the rabies shot, somehow, it got mixed up with a different shot," said Ketner.

The different shot, according to the vet's records, was "Beuthanasia-D" - a euthanasia drug for pets.

"Basically, the two needles were side-by-side and they picked up the wrong one and accidentally administered it to my cat, and I don't think things like that should be side-by-side," said Ketner. "I don't see how a mistake like that could be made. The records show the mistake was recognized within minutes and treatment started right away."

Stampy was breathing, but then had to be intubated.

"I got like eight different phone calls from them throughout the day," said Ketner, who said Quail Roost did keep her up to date about Stampy's condition.

"He coded again and they had to do CPR again and bring him back," she said. "She kept asking me 'What do you want me to do. What do you want me to do.'"

After nine hours of different treatments, Ketner said the vet told her Stampy was getting worse.

"At this point, his brain wasn't getting much oxygen," she said. "So even if he did survive, he wouldn't be the same. At one point, I said just go ahead and let him go."

Ketner said the doctor was very sympathetic.

"She just said repeatedly, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry.'"

While Ketner believes it was an honest mistake, she hopes it is one they learn from.

"I don't think they should have had two completely separate drugs like that sitting next to each other," she said. "That is a careless mistake."

The owner of Quail Roost Animal Hospital said this was a terrible mistake and very devastating to them also. The owner added, they have taken steps to make sure this never happens again, which includes better labeling and changing the color of the euthanasia solution.

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