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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117447
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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This is a very story. My dog cracked s toe nail back in May.

Customer Question

Hi Michelle. This is a very long story. My dog cracked his toe nail back in May. Took him to pets mart where they gave me antibiotics and clipped a little bit of his toe nail. After a few weeks go by, his nail completely cracks down the center and he ends up in the puppy er. They decided that the nail had to be completely be cut off so they cut it all the way down to the quick. They told me that it had a nasty infection and that he should be ok. Took him to the normal vet for follow up a week or so later and it was still infected. The cleaned it and gave him more antibiotics. We repeat this process for a few more weeks. They decided that since it wasn't going away they would suggest amputating his digit. We held out for a couple more weeks hopeful that it would heal since we couldn't afford the 1000 surgery and thought amputation would be last resort. On one of the visits they took some xrays and realized that the joint was beginning to get calcified so we opted for the amputation having to finance the surgery. Once the surgery happened, they took cultures and realized the reason it wasn't healing with antibiotics was because the puss didn't actually have bacteria in it (which is still a mystery to everyone) but it had so much puss in it that when they touched it it nearly exploded. I asked the vet what could be causing it and she said the only thing she could think of was that when the er originally cut the toe nail, they cut it too far back and the skin grew OVER the nail bed. This caused his body to think there was a foreign body and white blood cells began attacking the area so much so that his bone had begun to disintegrate. Needless to say, in the last week he developed another abscess which had to be lanced and drained. We took him in yesterday for a follow up and when they pulled his dressing off the wound where he had been lanced still had puss coming out. Her only solution is to now take the whole toe off because she thinks that she didn't remove all of the white blood cells during the original procedure which she has offered to do for free. My question is, could I not sue the emergency vet for the original screw up of removing too much in the first place causing all of this suffering for my poor dog? And what about All the medical expenses we have incurred? Could they be held liable?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Unfortunately, under law, dogs are considered property, no different than your car or your house (contrary to how we dog owners think of them). This means that when someone injures our dogs, the only thing we can recover is the actual damage caused (cost of medical care, value of the dog if it causes death). So what you could sue the vet for is all the medical expenses you have incurred as a result of their mistake and seek reimbursement for that damage they caused your dog.