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L.I. Woman Sues Veterinarian, Blames Painkiller For Beloved Dog's Death

SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island woman is suing her veterinarian, saying a prescribed painkiller for routine surgery killed her beloved dog.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, the pet owner is also pushing for legislation that would warn others about the potential risks of prescribed medications for animals.

Mary Kate Tischler loves a little backyard ball-playing with her daughter, Rubie, and their golden retriever, Zoey. Her family has gotten to love Zoey after losing their first dog, Buoy, four years ago.

"He was a special dog that we will never forget," Tischler said. "We think about him every day."

Tischler said she was forced to euthanize Buoy at just three years of age. That was after the yellow Labrador suffered massive kidney failure from taking a painkiller prescribed by her animal doctor at the Veterinarian Center of Long Island following knee surgery.

"The vet who described the drug for Buoy never gave us a warning at all of the side effects of the drug," said Tischler, of Seaford. "We were simply told to give the drug with food because it can cause vomiting."

The drug is named Rimadyl. According to the American Kennel Club, it is a commonly prescribed animal painkiller where "kidney side effects are rare, but serious."

Tischler said after taking the medication, Buoy stopped eating and began vomiting. She took Buoy to an animal dialysis clinic, but it was too late.

"I would never have given him the drug," she said. "I would never have taken that risk."

Tischler is now suing the West Islip clinic for punitive damages and the $25,000 she spent on the failed dialysis. A staff member would only tell CBS2 the vet who treated Buoy has left and is now in Canada.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) has taken up Tischler's cause, sponsoring legislation requiring veterinarians to disclose any drug dangers fully.

"This bill will simply say you have to, you are required as a veterinarian to inform pet owners of potential side effects," Boyle said.

Tischler had a special headstone made for Buoy that she has laid in her garden. She said her lawsuit is not about money.

"In my mind, this is a way for Buoy not to have died in vain," she said.

The lawsuit for Buoy is expected soon to go to trial.

The New York State veterinarians' association opposes Boyle's legislation, saying it will be costly for small practices and also saying vets routinely warn animal lovers of any medical risk.

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