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Do I have to pay the vet for unneeded treatments & surgery?

Q:

Took my pet to see the vet because he was sick. They did a Parvo test, it came back negative but treated him for it anyways. Then something was in his stomach that needed to be surgically removed. Did surgery but found nothing. Now vet is charging for a treatment he didn't need and for a surgery he didn't have to have. Now the vet is withholding my dog until I pay the bill. Should I have to pay for their malpractice and how do I get my dog back

A:

Every state has a veterinary licensing board. You can contact the Texas State Board of Veterinary Examiners to file a complaint and to get clarification about Texas’ law concerning veterinarians’ withholding of animals. The Texas Attorney General’s office issued an opinion several years ago regarding veterinarians’ withholding of animals. The Attorney General’s opinion states, in part: “… we have determined that a veterinarian may not hold an animal for nonpayment of fees if the owner demands his animal's return.” In this opinion, the Attorney General also references a specific Texas law pertaining to the abandonment of animals at veterinary facilities. This law provides that animals may be deemed abandoned if a veterinarian sends a certified letter to the client giving such person 10 days to retrieve his/her animal and such person does not do so by the 11th day after the date the veterinarian mails the notice. Most importantly, the Attorney General’s opinion states: “The statute does not specify that either payment or a promise to pay is a condition for retrieval during this period.”

The laws pertaining to the right of veterinarians to withhold animals for lack of payment vary from state to state. Pet ‘parents’ should be very careful since some states' laws provide that animals shall be deemed abandoned and may be given away or even euthanized if the pet ‘parent’ does not pay and retrieve the animal in a specified time period.

Also, one can sue a veterinarian for malpractice, negligence, or for other reasons. However, in order to prove veterinary malpractice, oftentimes one needs an expert witness who will testify that the veterinarian being sued acted below the professional standard of care required of competent veterinarians.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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