What to do about a vet’s malpractice regarding my dog and the harm that it has caused me?

UPDATED: Jan 20, 2011

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What to do about a vet’s malpractice regarding my dog and the harm that it has caused me?

I attended the hearing of the Board of Veterinary Medicine regarding malpractice of my dog. The board found that the vet did not provide adequate care, gave wrong dosage of several meds, records were not kept but recorded after the dogs death. Additionally, medicine was contradictory, and he refused to treat my dog and denied euthanizing my dog when it was dying. Finally, he would not release records to me. He was found neglegent by the board and was told to turn in his license, put on probation, and fined $10,000. I have suffered greatly and have been seeing a psychiatrist. I need a lawyer.

Asked on January 20, 2011 under Personal Injury, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

While you have our sympathy, be aware that the courts almost NEVER allow recovery for emotional damage due to the loss of a dog...and they also limit the amount that can be recoved for the  dog itself to the dog's actual economic or replacement value, meaning that unless it was an expensive pedigreed dog, you will not be able to recover much. The fact is, that it's difficult to enough to recover for  non-economic, emotional losses when it's a human being who died; and regardless of how much you cared for your dog, the law does not treat dogs or other animals as having the same rights or same value to survivors  as a human. You could certainly consult with an attorney and see if he or she feels you have a valid case and what it might be worth, but generally speaking, all you could recover would be the dog's cost and possibly you out of pocket costs for the dog's final care and medicine.

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