Collar Restraint Leads to Painful Injury

Loss Amount: $98,000

Situation: A relatively inexperienced veterinary technician was assisting a veterinarian in the physical examination of a large dog on the floor of an exam room. The technician was holding the dog with her hand through its collar. When the dog got nervous and tried to escape it twisted its head violently. The technicians hand became stuck under the collar and was pulled and twisted also. Before the two could be separated moments later, the technician’s hand had become seriously strained.

Initial treatments were unsuccessful at reducing the swelling and discomfort. Ultimately, multiple surgeries were required. There was persistent pain and very limited use of the injured hand during this time. Because the injuries involved the employee’s dominant right hand, she had difficulties performing the essential duties of her job and did not return to work for several months. The injuries also resulted in permanent physical limitations.

Lesson Learned:

  • Establish rapport with pets and their owners. Call pets by their name and encourage them to come on command. Talking to them in a quiet soothing voice also helps calm many patients during their visit.
  • The least amount of restraint that is necessary for the procedure should be applied. Excessive restraint causes anxiety to the animal and their owner. Light pressure at all restraint points can be increased if needed for additional control and then decreased as the animal stops struggling to help calm them.
  • Use of muzzles applied early in the process often reduces the need for additional restraint later.
  • Instruct staff not to restrain animals with their hands through the collar. Instead, they should employ proper holds utilizing the arms and body with animals whether they are standing, sitting, in lateral or sternal recumbency.

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