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What is our recourse when a veterinarian misdiagnoses our dog?

Asked by user in Massachusetts.

We brought our dog to the vet in April 2020. Was told the 'wart' on the exterior of her bum was nothing we should worry about. They could remove it for $3,000 but it was, in the vet’s opinion, cosmetic. Fast forward to seeing our regular vet who immediately performed an aspiration. Our vet then called within an hour to tell us it looks to be mass cell cancer. What is the accountability of the vet in April?

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

I’m so sorry this happened to you.

It’s possible the original vet committed malpractice by misdiagnosing your dog. In general, a vet commits malpractice when:

  • The vet fails to exercise the degree of care and skill expected of a reasonable vet, and
  • The failure is the cause of your pet’s injury or death.

In this case, the misdiagnosis of your dog did not cause her cancer, but it’s possible the delay in diagnosis caused some compensable damages.

Keep in mind that vet malpractice cases are expensive to litigate and damage awards tend to be low. For this reason, many people choose instead to file a complaint against a veterinarian with the state administrative licensing board that oversees veterinarians instead.

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