Startled Dog Clauses Multiple Injuries

Loss Amount: $122,000

Situation: A veterinary technician was evaluating an injury to a very large dog in one of the hospital’s examination rooms. It had been wagging its tail and seemed friendly when it came in and was placed on the exam table, but when the technician and a co-worker tried to move the table to work around the dog, the animal lunged at them. The technician raised his right arm in defense and the dog bit it. As he pulled his arm away the dog let go, but not before the arm was dislocated from his shoulder.

The technician immediately sought medical treatment. His bite wound was not serious and recovery from it lasted only a few weeks, but the dislocation injury was another story. He underwent several months of physical therapy while working with modifications to his job. This was followed by arthroscopic surgery and another long regimen of physical therapy, during which it became harder to perform the minimal tasks at work. Ultimately, he was considered stable and released from medical care, however he was unable to continue working at the hospital.

Lessons Learned: Treating any animal, such as large dogs, can be hazardous. Proper training and adherence to the rules is essential to prevent injuries like the one described above.

  • Sudden movements around animals can cause an immediate response, as occurred here when the employees moved the table with the dog on it. Take care not to act in such a way that will startle or alarm an animal.
  • Bites are one of the most common injuries in the veterinary industry and this risk should always be anticipated. Use a muzzle or other means to protect yourself and others.
  • Patient sedation should always be considered as an option when treating animals.
  • If sedation is not an option, have adequate staff on hand to properly restrain animals that are undergoing evaluation or treatment.

For further assistance in preventing all types of losses, call VISC at 888.762.3143.