WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- For pet owners, one of the worst things you can hear is that your animal is sick. A Wilmington woman says that news was only the beginning of her problems.
For many folks, pets are family, and when family gets sick, you do everything you possibly can. Brittany Barham said someone else's negligence led to her beloved dog's death.
Barham said when her six-year-old Chihuahua-Yorkie mix George got sick, it was her mission to take care of him, but that was not enough.
"You would think a doctor that's been in practice for 15 years would look at the whole picture," Barham said.
Barham took her dog to Pine Valley Animal Hospital in Wilmington drive to see Dr. Kenneth Layton. She said Layton diagnosed George with back injuries, but when the medication did not help, she took the X-rays to another veterinarian.
"He actually saw George's X-rays and was (blown) away by what he saw," Barham said.
The new vet diagnosed George with liver lesions. Having already spent so much to find out what was wrong, Barham could not afford the treatment and had to put George down. Barham says her dog could still be alive, if only Dr. Layton had paid closer attention and taken his time. Her father Edward says their family placed their trust in Layton, and were let down.
"When you take your animal to a vet, you expect the vet to look at your dog or your cat, or whatever your animal may be, and tell you what's wrong with them, and when they tell you what they think is wrong with them, that's not what they're getting paid to do," Edward said.
Edward Barham is convinced there are other pet owners who have suffered similar losses. He says it's important to know your rights and to hold veterinarians accountable. The Barham family has contacted the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board, which is now observing Dr. Layton and his practice.
Edward says it's not about the money, it's about the principle.
"We're not after any money at all," he said. "The money is gone. The point that we're after is I don't want to see another father have to watch his daughter go through what I watched mine go through and bury the dog in the backyard."
Dr. Layton sent Brittany Barham a letter admitting his mistake in compliance with Veterinary Medical Board guidelines. Barham has 20 days to respond. After that, the board will review Layton's medical license.
We tried to talk to with Dr. Layton today, but his office said he had no comment.