Charlottesville, VA asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia

Q: If vet does not confirm the cause of death of puppy can owner sue me for puppy not being healthy when sold.

The owner said puppy ate did not actually see puppy eat. Went to take the puppy outside she was wobbly, falling down, and possibly vomited and urinated. Took puppy to vet, the vet suggested puppy had a partial seizure. Ran a test and then give puppy overdose of Valium (0.37ml) when should have been 0.37mg. Than gave 0.15 Flumazenil to reverse the Valium, problem. Test results, BG=223, ammonia=13(WNL) and no major abnormalities on blood work. The vet suspected cause to be liver shunt without giving x-ray or any other tests to verify. They then recommend taking the puppy to a neurologist for more testing. The neurologist run more tests found nothing related to a liver shunt. Not sure when puppy goes into a coma but neurologist outcome was that they were not able to complete physical and neurologic evaluation because of the puppy's mentation (obtunded/comas). Can liver shunt be ruled the official cause of death, microvasculature dysplasia or other congential deficits if not found.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jan F Hoen
Jan F Hoen
  • Hampton, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Your question is unclear as to how you would be responsible.

In any event, an expert veterinary opinion to prove causation of death would be required to pursue any claim.

Also, there is no value to the claim other than the replacement cost for the puppy. Animals are considered personal property under Virginia law.

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