Dr. Bruce Langlois of the Spay Neuter Express out of Lowell and the owner and medical director of the Animal Hospital of Lowell, has been disciplined and fined many times by the state of Michigan for various offenses and is also listed on the sex offender registry after pleading guilty for sexually touching a female employee at his veterinarian practice without her consent.
His information on the state’s website says that he currently has an open complaint against him which is probably the investigation written about here which has him facing six counts that include allegations of negligence, incompetence, failure to keep adequate records and having a “lack of good moral character. These complaints come from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office acting on behalf of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the Bureau of Health Care Services, and the Board of Veterinary Medicine Disciplinary Committee. They are alleging that Langlois was responsible for the negligent care, illness or injuries of 11 cats and dogs in the last decade.
Despite all of this, many animal shelters and rescue groups continue to use his spay & neuter services for pets in their area including the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter in Grayling and the Great Lakes Humane Society in Traverse City who will be using his services in June.
The Spay Neuter Express came to Traverse City in May of 2012 and Pet Friends Magazine received many tips about that visit after they had left town. After talking to people about the visit and researching the history of Dr. Langlois, Pet Friends Magazines reported about him here.
According to the Spay Neuter Express website, they will be at the Great Lakes Humane Society and the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter on June 6th. Neither group has posted this information on their Facebook pages and neither group has responded to Pet Friends Magazine as to why they are using a spay/neuter resource from out of our area – and with a history of disciplinary action from the state. Some of these actions include: not maintaining records of controlled substances; not adequately sterilizing surgical instruments; manufacturing his own solution to be used in cats and dogs to reverse the effects of anesthesia; performing spays and neuters on multiple cats side-by-side on the operation table with the cats coming into contact with each other and not washing his hands between procedure, compromising the sterile environment.
The business model for the Spay Neuter Express seems to be to do as many surgeries as possible in the time allotted. Dr. Langlois has said his cat spays average about four minutes; cat neuters about one minute; dog spays about 8-10 minutes and dog neuters about 4-5 minutes. When he came to Traverse City in 2012, Dr. Langlois spayed and neutered 53 dogs and 41 cats in two days.
The quantity of spays and neuters that can by done by the Spay Neuter Express is usually the defense given by anyone who supports him that I have come in contact with. Because of all the media attention given to him and the amount of spay and neuter surgeries he does overall, many organizations and individuals overlook his past violations and any current investigations by the state of Michigan.
During the last Traverse City visit in 2012, Langlois did not take blood work before performing surgery and did not offer it. He said it was extremely rare that those findings would make a difference in whether the procedure is performed. However, most veterinarians recommend this to their patients because the patient’s blood work could show something that could make anesthesia dangerous because of surgical complications. A worry from many who have contacted me who oppose his practice is that the stray or feral cat – or cat owned by a low income pet owner – might be needlessly taken advantage of in this situation which would result in the death or injury of that pet. They point out that these animals should be given as much consideration as an owned pet before surgery is performed – and also during the surgery using sterile conditions and legal FDA-approved drugs.
Pedmd.com says that the recommendation for pre-operative lab work is the standard of care now. They say that if no abnormalities were found on previous tests (within the last month), then it’s probably safe to proceed with the surgery, but that having the most up-to-date results is always the best plan. Many illnesses that veterinarians see on a day-to-day basic can go from undetectable to potentially deadly over the course of a few weeks, particularly when combined with surgery and anesthesia.
Using local spay/neuter resources are always the best choice for spay and neuter surgeries so that rescues and animal shelters can maintain good relationships with their local veterinarians. Our area offers many resources to help and organizations can always work with local vets to have spay/neuter clinics or negotiate discounted rates for special programs. In Traverse City, pet owners can contact The AC PAW Spay/Neuter project for help with low cost spaying and neutering and there are many other options available in northern lower Michigan.
Coming soon to our area will also be a new option provided by 1 Cat Inc., a non-profit group started by Susan Boyd out of Suttons Bay. She has purchased a spay/neuter bus and has already had the first clinic this month. Pet Friends is excited about this new venture and hopes to report on more clinics soon.