Saturday, February 23, 2008

Who the Heck Knows What this Guy Did?

Some Bad Vets have disciplinary records with their state boards, but if you got a copy of those records you would have no idea what they had done to earn it. Such is the case with Herbert Topp, a Mechanicsburg Ohio veterinarian who signed a settlement agreement with the Ohio Veterinary Board in 2005, in which he agreed to a month-long active suspension, 2 years probation, and a fine of $2,000. I can tell you that as vet boards go -- those are comparatively strong actions. Yet, the public is -- because of the lack of information in the Veterinary Board documents made available to the public -- left without the critical information that they need to make decisions about this vet, and whether or not he is the kind of vet they would ever want to take their pets to.

What we do know is that the board alleged that Topp violated "Ohio Revised Code 4741-1-03(A), (B)(3)(a), (B)(5)(h),(B)(3)(e), (B)(6)(a), and (B)(6)(c) and 4741-1-21(1) and (2)."

So what we can learn about these alleged violations we must infer from referencing the cited sections of the code.

In alleging the Topp violated Ohio Revised Code 4741-1-03, the Board was alleging a violation of Board requirements for "Minimum Standards for Stationary Veterinary Facilities" (

In alleging that Topp violated Ohio Revised Code 4741-1-21(1) and (2), the Board was alleging violations of statutes related to patient recordkeeping (

It is my estimation, from reviewing hundreds of disciplinary records from Vet Boards all over the country, that "recordkeeping" violations are a catch all category that the board uses when, in many cases, more concerning behavior than mere recordkeeping irregularities took place. Moreover, the punitive actions taken by the board in this case are comparatively stiff.

My advice to any pet owner within Dr. Topp's area of service is -- since the public record doesn't include enough details for you to figure out what gave rise to these allegations, you should assume the worst.