Saturday, May 31, 2008

Colorado Vet Matthew Aaronian: Misdiagnosis; Unnecessary Procedure; and Refusal to Release Animal to Owner Due to an Unpaid Bill, and Maybe Worse

Colorado is one of those states where the veterinary board says lots of nothing in its written decisions. They give very little indication of what happened to the animal as a result of the actions described. But reading between the lines, the "Stipulated Letter of Admonition" issued to Colorado Springs vet Matthew Aaronian raises HUGE RED FLAGS. Let me tell you what is in this document and how I interpret it.

This document, dated March 26, 2007, says:

". . . the Board determined . . . [that] you failed to meet the generally accepted standards of the practice when you misdiagnosed a condition and performed a procedure that was medically unnecessary . . . . The Board also found that you violated C.R.S. sections 12-64-120(1) and (2) when you withheld records from the animals owner because the owner had an outstanding bill. Finally, the Board found that your policy of deeming an animal abandoned if a bill remains upaid for seven days violates C.R.S. section 12-64-115, and that you failed to give proper notice of your intent to deem the animal abandoned as required by C.R.S. section 12-64-115. The Board found that these facts comprised evidence of violations of the practice act . . . the Board hereby admonishes you . . . "

The Board hereby admonishes you????? Is that IT?

Oh, not quite. They ordered him to "complete six hours of POVMR approved continuing education in radiographs, specifically in acute abdomen diagnosis and treatment . . . "

Uh oh. Let's do some reading between the lines, shall we?

We have a reference to a misdiagnosis.

We have a reference to an "unnecessary procedure" -- probably surgery.

We have an order to take training in acute abdomen diagnosis and treatment and radiographs (x-rays).

Reading between the lines, I'm betting that this vet opened up the pet's abdomen based on a misdiagnosis and that it had something to do either misinterpreting x-rays or not taking them at all.

Then, we have reference to an unpaid bill. (Probably for the UNNECESSARY "PROCEDURE").

The Board also says that the vet deemed the "animal abandoned" because the bill (which included charges for the UNNECESSARY SURGERY, I'm betting) went unpaid seven days. It also says that Aaronian failed to give the owners [proper] notice that he was going to consider their animal abandoned, and that he refused to release the records.

Not a good sign, folks.

With respect to abandoned animals, the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act says:

"(1) Any animal placed in the custody of a licensed veterinarian for treatment, boarding, or other care which is unclaimed by its owner or his agent for a period of more than ten days after written notice, by certified mail, return receipt requested, is given to the addressee only at his last known address shall bedeemed to be abandoned and may be turned over to the nearest humane society or animal shelter or disposed of as such custodian may deem proper."

Dispose of, folks, I'm thinking means KILL.

But you see, it seems this animal wasn't abandoned at all. The vet never gave "proper" notice to the owner that he was going to consider the animal abandoned because of the unpaid bill or portion thereof which seemingly included costs for an UNNECESSARY PROCEDURE (presumably, surgery).

So, I'm betting that what happened in this story is that this veterinarian euthanized this animal after having performed unnecessary surgery on it . . . because he was PUNISHING the owners for not paying their bill or for not paying it in its entirety including costs for UNNECESSARY SURGERY RESULTING FROM HIS MISDIAGNOSIS -- that's my conjecture. Reading between the lines, that is what I am led to conclude. If you know different, you just let me know.

This is what I mean about having to read between the lines of these documents, and I always assume the worst.


Click to go to Colorado Regulatory Agency Website

Better yet, read for yourself right here:


Since I doubt there are two Matthew Aaronian vets (although it could be possible), I am pretty sure this is a picture of him. He's on the left.

Here is another, probably earlier one.

If you are living in CALIFORNIA, memorize that face, and if you see him, I'm advising you to take your pet and run fast and far in the opposite direction. These vets who get disciplined in one state seem to have a habit of moving to another, and it seems Aaronian is no different: There is now a Matthew Aaronian practising in Atascadero, CA.

He also seems to have applied for (and been granted) a license to work as a vet supporting the Iditarod in Alaska in 2007. Stellar event that was to be associated with. During that race, one of the "mushers" (Ramy Brooks) was disqualified for hitting his dogs with stakes. One of that man's dogs died and two other dogs died. (Just FYI, three dogs also died in the 2008 Iditarod.

Well, Aaronian affiliating himself with that event is not surprising, is it?

For more on the Iditarod, visit

Unless of course, there is more than 1 veterinarian named Matthew Aaronian. Nah . . . how likely is that?

-- Stefani Olsen