Hastings Women’s Law Journal


Jayne De Young


The legal and economic barriers to veterinary malpractice cases are significant. Potential plaintiffs are often discouraged from pursuing their claims because of the very limited potential for significant damages and the difficulty of proving causation. This Note advocates a burden-shifting approach to the causation element of veterinary malpractice. It commences with an overview of some of the different methods by which animal guardians have sought redress for the injury or death of an animal while under the care of a veterinarian. This overview is followed by a detailed look at the elements of veterinary malpractice. Next, the recordkeeping standards in veterinary practices is examined. Finally, this Note explores several situations in which the courts have employed a burden-shifting approach and explains why that same approach should be employed in the veterinary malpractice context.