Visitor Question

Veterinary Malpractice Question…

Submitted By: Rebecca (Brisbane)

My dog went in for surgery to fix his broken leg after he was hit by a car. A few weeks later I took him into the vet cause he had a bump on the top part of his leg. The vet was trying to charge for x-rays and other treatments, and I said by the looks of it there seems to be some type of complication due to the surgery.

The veterinarian tried to say that I was letting my dog run around too much. I asked him how that’s possible when he’s always inside in a secured area. My dog stayed over night and the next day I find out that one of the pins wasn’t in far enough, so the vet decided to put more

pins in a different way. Now I think they damaged my dog’s leg even more.

Do I have to pay the vet’s surgery bill from the first attempt? They did give me the option to amputate his leg but he’s a breeding dog. If I chose to do that I wouldn’t be able to breed him and that would cost me lots of money in breeding fees.

Do you think I have a professional malpractice claim against the vet?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Rebecca,

If you don’t pay the Veterinarian’s bill there is a likelihood you will be sued. We could not find any laws in Australia which permitted the owner of an animal not to pay the Veterinarian if dissatisfied with their services. We were somewhat surprised to find there were cases involving malpractice for veterinarians.

Prior to World War II malpractice did not apply to veterinarians. Malpractice cases could only be against Doctors and Attorneys. To prevail in a Veterinarian malpractice case you will have to prove the following:

(1) The Veterinarian was under a duty of care toward the animal in question. The veterinarian had accepted the responsibility to treat the animal.

(2) The actions or inaction of the veterinarian did not conform to the professional standard of conduct

(3) The failure to conform to the professional standard was the proximate cause of the injury or harm at issue

And finally, the plaintiff’s case must show the veterinarian’s action or inaction not only resulted in harm to your dog, but to you as well. The harm your dog suffered is clear, but we are not aware of any objective harm to you. We suggest you pay the medical bill first and contest it at a later time. You will have a better chance of success if you do so.

Learn more here: Medical Malpractice

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck!


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