What is a vet’s obligation to obtain the consent of a pet owner regarding an additional procedure done on their animal?

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What is a vet’s obligation to obtain the consent of a pet owner regarding an additional procedure done on their animal?

I got my 2 dogs neutered and spayed last week; the female is 9 months old and the male is 5 months old. When we went to pick up the dogs from the vet later the same day, he told us the female was about 3 weeks pregnant (out of 9 weeks). We didn’t know she was pregnant because the only male dog she is around is too young to breed (so everyone thought). He told us he killed the puppies and went on with the surgery fixing her. He didn’t call us at all to ask if we wanted him to continue or stop, and let our dog continue her pregnancy. He charged us an extra $160 for the extra surgery that we did not ask for. We didn’t pay it yet because we went to the office only expecting to pay the surgeries fee of $190. Can we file a lawsuit against the vet?

Asked on December 19, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you can probably sue the vet: he performed an unauthorized procedure and also damaged/destroyed your property (the puppies). However, you most likely cannot recover enough to make the lawsuit worthwhile: at most you could get the value of the puppies (which unless they would have been expensive purebreeds, is not likely much) and avoid the additional $160 cost.


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