AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin veterinary clinic says a dog died after it had a “rare reaction” to anesthesia before it was set to be spayed. The dog’s owners are suing the clinic, claiming their pet was mistakenly euthanized.

Nya, a one-year-old dog, received anesthesia in preparation for a spay in January, according to Crystal Mountain Animal Hospital. 

Sheri Vandermause says blood tests in advance of the procedure checked to be sure Nya was healthy.

Vandermause told KXAN in a follow-up interview that the American Veterinary Medical Association’s review board investigated Nya’s death and found no malice and no liability.

“Nya had a rare reaction to the anesthesia causing her heart to stop. We tried and could not revive her.  We called the owners immediately, apologized and expressed our deepest sympathies. We are devastated by their loss,” she said.

That Austin family is reeling after they said their trusted veterinarian accidentally killed their dog. The Briggs family filed a lawsuit Wednesday and hopes it leads to closure. 

“He just offered up no real explanation,” Tina Briggs said about the vet. “Just said she’s here in the fridge for you whenever you want to pick her up.”

Later on, the family received an accidental e-mail.

“One of their employees at the veterinarian sent me an e-mail that was meant for another employee. It said ‘We don’t know what happened, but we put ‘euthanized,”” Briggs said.

“I wanted to collapse on the floor and scream because I was really sad,” said 9-year-old Landon Downton. 

Dr. Charles Vandermause said the Briggs family is mistaken.

“The allegation that I euthanized their dog is absolutely not true. I’ve been a veterinarian for over 40 years and this is something that just can’t happen in practice. There are too many variables and details that have to be completed before a dog is euthanized,” Dr. Vandermause said. “That e-mail has nothing to do with the dog being euthanized in any way.”

The Briggs family is still searching for answers. On June 6, they said the doctor hasn’t responded to them for a while.

“They won’t return my calls or e-mails. Nothing,” Briggs said.

If you need to make a complaint about a veterinarian, contact the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. They’ll ask you to fill out a form and send it in. They’ll recommend including as many details as possible. Then they’ll assign an investigator to your case. 

If an investigation indicates there was a violation, it’ll be presented to the board for disciplinary action. A penalty can range from a reprimand to a revoked license.