make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Dog dies in vet's care

READ MORE: Dog dies in vet's care
A local dog owner is hoping to save others from the pain he's going through. Terry Rowe recently took his bulldog to have his toenails clipped at a Wilmington veterinarian's office. Thirty minutes later he got a call saying the dog was dead. "He was everything, he waited for me to get home at night, and when you got to sit down or something, he was in your lap." Rowe brought Digger home when he was a puppy. Nine years later Rowe says the bulldog was healthy, loveable and part of the family. Part of his regular care routine was going to the vet to have digger's toenails clipped. Rowe said, "We usually do it at least three to four times a year depending on how his toenails grow. Cause they are very heavy and hard to cut, so that's why we do it at the vets." But on October 24 something went terribly wrong. "We dropped him off approximately at 8:30 and they called me approximately at nine o'clock and said he was dead," Rowe said. Rowe had been taking Digger to the same veterinary clinic for years. But the clinic recently changed hands, and this was Digger's first time with the new doctor at Lacroix Veterinary Hospital. It's common practice to sedate larger dogs before they have their nails clipped, but with breeds like bulldogs, experts say you have to take extra care. Because of the shape of their face, and their large, thick tongues, bulldogs have to be closely monitored, and sometimes intubated, to ensure they don't stop breathing when they're sedated. While it's not clear exactly what went wrong in the situation with Digger, Mr. Rowe doesn't think anyone was watching him after he was sedated, and he never woke up. Rowe said, "I just had too much trust in the vet's office, from the vet before. And when it changed hands, I just don't think they took the care that I was used to." We tried all day to reach the veterinarian who treated Digger, without success. Other vets tell us this situation is unusual, but there are known complications anytime you sedate or anesthetize a dog, which is why many clinics require pet owners to sign consent forms before their dogs are put under. "He always trusted me and I feel like I let him down," Rowe said. We were unable to get up with the veterinarian who treated Digger before news time. Other vets tell us this situation is unusual, but there are known complications anytime you sedate or anesthetize a dog, wich is why many clinics require pet owners to sign consent forms before their dogs are sedated.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Dr. Jeffrey LaCroix

We had a wonderful vet here in Fairfield, CT a number of years ago who moved down south and I wonder if you could tell me if this is your Dr. LaCroix. His wife's name was Sherry. I'd appreciate hearing from you. Joan

Joan, this is the Dr.

Joan, this is the Dr. LaCroix that your thinking of. What a wonderful couple.

He retired...

He retired, which his right to do so. Should he have notified the owners of his patients?...probably...but isn't required to do so.

bulldogs death

My heart goes out to the owner.My prior bulldog was sedated for nail clipping and there was never any problems.Sounds like someone made a major mistake.I recently lost a bulldog I took in that was abused by his owner,he was beaten and had bowel and kidney problems,he was sedated for hip surgery,but survived.He died at 3 years of age it was a very sad day for my family,but i know in my heart he had a better life for a littlw while with my family.God Bless!


I'm sorry for your loss, don't feel you let him down, the vet let him down. I hope they don't sleep at night knowing what they did.

Dog dies in vet's care

I am so sorry for his loss as well! This is why it is so important to train young puppies to have their nails trimmed and to be restrained. This avoids any "unnecessary" anesthesia. Nail trimming is a technique that any pet owner can master, it just takes time and patience. I have owned large dogs for years as well as worked in veterinary hospitals and it is not necessarily a "common practice" for owners to request anesthesia for a nail trim, unless the dog is extremely difficult to handle and/or aggressive. This is also why veterinarians stress the importance of preanesthetic blood work. I wonder if the new vet recommended to Digger's owner to peform blood work and the risks involved with anesthesia? How healthy was Digger? Just because he seems healthy doesn't mean his heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. are functioning to their fullest potential. Did the new vet try to perform CPR? I don't think it is fair for us to place blame on the vet when no one knows exactly what happened. I like to think that the majority of veterinarians out there are truly compassionate caring animal lovers just as we are (just as Digger's owner is). Don't place blame on the vet, I'm sure he/she is very upset as well. All the veterinarians I ever worked for hated to lose a patient, and when they did they always sent sympathy cards that were truly from the heart. Lets all learn from this and have our furbabies examined, and blood drawn before anesthesia. Accidents happen! Don't place blame and act as though it was on purpose. I will still take my furbabies to LaCroix animal hospital because I have 100% faith in the doctors there, I'm sure the vet IS Losing sleep over this and feels terrible just as Digger's owner.

Wrong all the way around

I feel so sorry for this family. This is a dog owners worse nightmare! But not only should the new veterinary office be held responsible, what about Dr. Lacroix? None of his patients were notified of the change of hands. Don't you think it was his responsibility to let us know he was leaving? Then we would have been able to make the responsible decison to stay or find another vet. Not given that oppurnity left us believing the new vet was as caring and trusting as Dr. Lacroix. We have been let down by both the new vet and Dr. Lacroix.




Please tell T.R. that he can file a complaint with the NC Veterinary Medical Board. The Medical Board is located in Raleigh. Also, he can contact Professor William Reppy at Duke Law School for assistance in filing a lawsuit against the veterinarian. Mr. Reppy's email address is These steps will not bring Digger back but they do provide a way to prevent his death from being ignored. Peter

so sad

This breaks my heart:( I am so sorry for your loss, Digger was so cute and looked like the perfect companion. I agree that their are alot of so-so vets here in town. My parents have depended on a vet named Dr. Rohr for years. I do not know which hospital she is connected with (I think the Emergency Clinic on Oleander can direct you to her), but all I can say is do some research and find her. She is the most wonderful and caring vet my parents have ever worked with, and she has literally been a god-send for our cats.

LaCroix Vet Clinic

My furkids was patients of Dr LaCroix' for years - I would have trusted him with not only my furkids lives but the lives of my human kids or my spouse or even my own. One visit to the new owners of LaCroix Clinic and we began the search for a new vet. They were not only uncaring, but lacked the necessary skill to handle the problem we were having. We ended up visiting 2 other clinics (each of which couldn't believe the care we had recieved from the new LaCroix doc). I am saddened to see Jeff LaCroix' name associated with such care. He was/is far far better than those who have come to take his place.

LaCroix Vet Clinic

My family and I were patients at Dr. LaCroix's for over 10 years. I always felt that it was a great clinic until recently. I'm not sure how many of you remember Dr. Coble who worked at Dr. Lacroix's. A few months ago I found out he was at Port City Animal Hospital and started going back to him because he is who I always saw at LaCroix's office. He is great with my four animals (2 dogs & 2 cats) and I trust him very much. He shows great care for my animals and I always feels he does everything he can. Anyone looking to leave LaCroix's like we did might want to go to Dr. Coble.


I have used Port city since it has been in existence and had nothing but pure praise for Dr Jackson ( he may be retired now)His caring and compassion for one of my cats equaled an old family physician (he opened his place at 10.30 on a sunday night to check my pet that was in a bad way) and i still use Port City Animal Hospital which is located on Masonboro Loop rd at the north end of Navaho Trail chuck

Port City Animal Hospital

I would like to say that Port City Animal Hospital and Dr. Cobel are the best staff that I have ever been to. Dr. Cobel came to the hospital at 9:00 pm on his day off to see my dog that was injured. We love him and will always go to him.

Vets suck here

Sorry to hear about your loss. After what seemed to be an endless search...we finally found a vet. we could trust. Like everything else here...95% sucks!

Since 95%...

"Like everything else here...95% sucks!" If you dislike this area that much...move!


Intheknow was refering to you Mr. angry.

So do you

"Like everything else here...95% sucks!" Please move away so we can get the number back down to 94%.

The area

The area is quite nice... it's people like you that are making it less than it can be.

Leave quickly

Then go the hell back where you came from if it sucks so badly here. I'm sure some village is missing their idiot...YOU

Poor doggie

I am so sorry to read this. It is very sad. Not all vets are good ones. Sorry for the families loss.

God Bless Digger!!

Whether a pet is lost through unusual circumstances or not, it hurts really bad. We lost ours to kidney disease a year ago, and nothing except a new puppy has made it better. Digger would never blame you!