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October 2019
AVMLA Membership & More
OCTOBER Kicks Off the AVMLA's Membership Drive


Did you know your American Veterinary Medical Law Association  (AVMLA) membership will expired December 30, 2019?

AVMLA is the most cost-effective way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices for our unique area of veterinary medical law.

Your AVMLA member benefits include quarterly educational webinars, $100 discount on the annual national conference, bi-monthly News Brief and networking with peers through the  AVMLA list-serv, Facebook, and Twitter.  Renew today  and receive these benefits for only $12.50 per month.

We offer several convenient ways to renew your membership:
  • To renew your AVMLA Membership dues, simply renew online, or you are welcome  to download/print/mail your membership app to AVMLA, 1750 K Street, NW, Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20006, email your app, fax (202.449.8560) or give our office a call at 202.449.3818.  
We greatly value your membership and hope AVMLA will continue to be the go-to organization for your professional development.

If you are interested in contributing to the AVMLA News Brief, advertising or posting a help wanted ad, please send an email to
October AVMLA Webinar
  Register now for the AVMLA's Continuing Education Webinar,  Burnout, Compassion Fatigue & Suicide Awareness in the Veterinary Industry: Understanding the Symptoms & Signs,  presented by Melissa J. Supernor,  CVT (MA, CT), VTS (SAIM) CFE, CCFP

Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Time:  3:00 PM ET

Meet the Presenter: 

Melissa J. Supernor, CVT (MA, CT), VTS (SAIM), CFE, CCFP

Melissa graduated from Becker College with an AS in Veterinary Technology in 1990 and in 2000, she earned her degree in Psychology from Worcester State University. In 1990, Melissa earned her CVT in Massachusetts. Melissa is a charter member of her specialty, the Academy of Internal Medicine Technician (AIMVT) and earned her VTS in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2008. Throughout her career, Melissa has been an active member and board member of many organizations, including AIMVT, NAVTA, MVTA, and CTVTA, along with many others. In 2009, Melissa started her own consultant company, Educational Advocates for the Veterinary Team (EdAVT), where she and her team brings awareness and education to the personal and professional development topics within the veterinary team. Her past work experiences include many different roles from specialty technician, clinical instructor and faculty in veterinary technician and veterinary assisting education, nutrition consultant and lecturer. Melissa has authored many articles and book chapters.

To register for the webinar, click here.  Our office will contact you with additional information once we have received and processed your registration. This webinar is equal to one CE hour of professional development credit.  If you have questions, please contact:

S pecial thanks to  Harris Beach, PLLC  for sponsoring 
the AVMLA Continuing Education Webinars!
Case Law Summary
By: John F. Scott, DVM, JD, Scott Veterinary Services

The presentation of court cases involving veterinary medicine is provided as a benefit to all AVMLA members. Our membership consists of both lawyers and veterinarians, some of whom have substantial interest in veterinary law as well as those who are new to the field. Consequently, I try to provide current cases when possible, but will also provide older cases if they consider a basic principle of veterinary law, especially if that principle differs from the law as it is applied to other areas. I encourage your comments on how to make this section better and  also solicit cases you become aware of which might be published in this format. In order to save  research time and expense, if possible please provide a written copy of the entire case in pdf  format. If you only have a cite to a legal reporter, I will try to locate the case and consider it for publication. You may contact me at or telephone 806-231-4678, 
John F. Scott, DVM, JD



Williamson v. Prida, 75 Cal. App. 4th 1417 (Ct. App. 1999)

A race horse, purchased for $100,000, had been entered various races around the country and had won a race called the Californian, the biggest race of his career. Following that race the barn foreman noticed that the horse had nicks or scratches on the pastern but the pastern was not swollen or hot or pus-filled and had no other signs of infection. However, when Dr. Prida examined the horse he noted that the pastern was swollen, hot, and pus-filled. A topical antibiotic had been applied but had not been effective. Dr. Prida administered three injections of Oxytetracycline over three days in the left jugular vein. The barn foreman testified that he could not remember on which side the first and third injections were administered but that the second was in the right jugular.
About three weeks following these injections the horse developed a thrombosis in the right jugular vein. Evidence established that in the six months prior to the time the thrombosis appeared, the horse had received 25 jugular injections, 17 of which were administered by Dr. Prida or Dr. Von Bluecher whom Dr. Prida worked for. The owners' expert witness veterinarian testified that Oxytetracycline treatment was not appropriate for non-infected scratches which were not red, swollen, or pus-filled and that such treatment was overzealous. However he testified that it would be appropriate if the horse was showing visible signs of inflammation, lameness, or infection. Prida's expert witness testified that Oxytetracycline was often indicated where there was no major problem because the California Racing Board allowed it to be given immediately prior to a race, whereas a horse given certain other antibiotics, such as penicillin, could not race for 30 days. The owners' expert witness testified that if Oxytetracycline and certain other drugs are negligently given peri-vascularly, outside the vein, they can cause irritation and inflammation that can result in thrombosis formation. He testified that the probable cause of the thrombosis was the Oxytetracycline injection in the right jugular vein or one of the three subsequent vitamin injections given before the thrombosis formation. He testified that one injection in the right jugular on May 3rd could cause a thrombosis to appear on May 24th.

Following a jury trial, the Superior Court entered judgment of $600,000 for the owners. Veterinarians appealed.

The court first found that although no California case had applied the rule in Medical malpractice cases requiring expert testimony to establish the appropriate standard of care in veterinary malpractice cases, this court found that the same standard of care applied in both instances.
At trial, the owners' case was that it was negligent to give the Oxytetracycline shots, since they were risky and unnecessary, and that Dr. Prida gave one or more of the injections in a negligent manner. They had two theories of causation contending both that the Oxytetracycline shots irritated the vein and caused the thrombosis, and that Dr. Prida gave the shots in a negligent manner. There
was no evidence of standard of care on either theory.

Negligence in choosing to treat with Oxytetracycline:

The only evidence of standard of care was the testimony of the owners' expert that he "didn't agree with" the use of Oxytetracycline for non-infected scratches, "couldn't see the reason," and thought it was "overzealous." This is not evidence of standard of care. The fact that another physician or surgeon might have elected to treat the case differently or use methods other than those employed by the defendant does not of itself establish negligence.

Negligent administration of Oxytetracycline:

The owners seem to suggest that the fact that the thrombosis occurred is proof that Dr. Prida gave the shot outside the vein. However, since the owners' expert testified that thrombosis is a risk of any Oxytetracycline injection, even if given correctly, proof of the thrombosis is not proof of negligent administration of the injection. The law does not require that the advice, instructions, and treatment given by a physician to a patient shall be at all events proper, or that the treatment should be such as to attain an approximate perfect result. It requires only that the physician shall have the degree of learning and skill ordinarily possessed by physicians of good standing practicing in that locality, and that the physician shall exercise reasonable and ordinary care and diligence in treating the patient and in applying such learning and skill to the case.

The judgment of the trial court is reversed and the trial court is directed to enter and order of judgment in Dr. Prida's favor. Dr. Prida to recover costs on appeal.
Ullmann v. Duffus

Ullmann v. Duffus, 2005 WL 3047433, (Dist Ct. App OH 2005)
 [not reported to N. E. 2d 2005]


Dr. Duffus diagnosed roundworms in Osiris, a cockatiel owned by Ullmann, and provided pre-measured doses of Panacur (fenbendazole) for the owner to administer to Osiris and other birds that had been in contact with Osiris. Four days later Ullmann believed that the Panacur was causing adverse effects in her birds. Both Dr. Duffus and the Ohio State University veterinary clinic refused
to provide needed hand feeding for the birds. Ullmann took the birds to an avian specialist, Dr. Mohan, who informed Ullmann that Panacur is toxic to parakeets and cockatiels. Over the next five days three of Ullmann's cockatiels died.


Ullmann filed a complaint alleging negligence, breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Duffus filed a motion for summary judgment which was denied, then filed a motion for reconsideration of the motion based on Ullmann's failure to submit an expert report in support of her claims, which was granted. Ullmann
filed a motion for Relief of Judgment and attached an affidavit from Dr. Mohan. Before the trial court ruled on that motion Ullmann filed her notice of appeal from the trial court's original summary judgment ruling. Following that motion the trial court denied Ullmann's motion for relief. The appellate court affirmed the summary judgment of the trial court.



In a medical malpractice action, proof of the recognized standards must necessarily be provided through expert testimony. In support of her motion for summary judgment Dr. Duffus submitted her own expert affidavit which stated that for many years extensive research has demonstrated that fenbendazole was safe and effective against a broad spectrum of parasites in all species of animals and humans and was unaware of any scientific study or professional standard of care that prohibits the use of fenbendazole for treatment of roundworms in cockatiels or parakeets. In an attempt to meet her reciprocal burden Ullmann submitted her own personal affidavit with numerous exhibits including Internet printouts regarding Panacur and notes from Dr. Mohan, the avian expert and now argues her claims require no expert testimony because she alleges simple negligence rather than malpractice. Ullmann also alleges no need for an expert opinion since the duty of care and breach thereof by Dr. Duffus are clear and within the knowledge and understanding of laypersons. Previous cases have shown that where the alleged negligence involves the exercise of professional skill and judgment, expert testimony is required. Even if the trial court had considered the affidavit of Dr. Mohan belatedly filed in the trial court, that affidavit offers no testimony as to the applicable standard of care nor does it offer an opinion as to whether Dr. Ullman breached that standard of care.  In addition, the notes of Dr. Mohan submitted with the affidavit of Ullmann are not admissible without the testimony of Dr. Mohan or authenticating testimony of a records custodian.

Breach of implied warranty:

In the absence of a special agreement, the implied liability of a physician or surgeon extends no further than liability for failure to exercise the proper degree of skill. Ullmann does not allege that Dr. Duffus made any express or special warranty with respect to her treatment of Ullmann's birds. Ohio courts have not imposed any additional implied warranty on a provider of medical services. In the absence of an express warranty, Ullmann's remedy for Dr. Duffus' alleged failure to meet the requisite standard of care is a claim for professional negligence.

Lack of informed consent:

The tort of lack of informed consent is established when: (a) the physician fails to disclose to the patient and discuss the material risks and dangers inherently and potentially involved with respect to the proposed therapy, if any; (b) the unrevealed risks and dangers which should have been disclosed by the physician actually materialize and are the proximate cause of the injury to the patient; and © a reasonable person in the position of the patient would have decided against the therapy had the material risks and dangers inherent and incidental to treatment ben disclosed to him or her prior to the therapy. Even if Ohio courts recognized a claim for lack of informed consent against a veterinarian, expert testimony would be required to establish what the claimed undisclosed material risks and dangers are, and if disputed, whether those particular undisclosed risks did in fact materialize and cause the patient's injuries.

Negligent infliction of emotional distress:

The law of Ohio regards a pet as the personal property of its owner. Ohio law simply does not permit recovery for serious emotional distress which is caused when one witnesses the negligent injury or destruction of one's property. Ohio law does not recognize non-economic damages for injury to companion animals.

Upon review, we overrule Ullman's first assignment of error and affirm the judgment of the Franklin County Municipal Court. 
AVMLA Membership & More

To renew your AVMLA Membership dues, simply renew  online , or you are welcome  to  download/print/mail your membership app to AVMLA, 1750 K Street, NW, Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20006,  email your app, fax  ( 202.449.8560)  or give our office a call at  202.449.3818.  

If you are interested in contributing to the AVMLA News Brief, advertising or posting a help wanted ad, please send an email to