In a first of its kind case in Italy, a woman has been granted sick pay for time off to look after her ill pet dog.

The woman argued that the two days leave which she took to take care of her ailing pet should be allowed and no amount should be deducted from her salary. The Rome academic won the legal battle along with an animal rights group – Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV). She reasoned that the university should count the absence under an allowance for absence related to "serious or family personal reasons", AFP reported.

LAV claims to be one of the biggest animal rights organisations in Europe.

The Rome professor's argument was accepted by a judge who said that her employer should count her two days leave as related to personal or serious issues. The woman's points were also backed up by a provision in the pet-loving country which states that those who abandon their pet animals to "grave suffering" to be jailed for a year and fined up to €10,000 (£8958).

Expressing their happiness at the judgment, LAV president Gianluca Felicetti, tweeted: "First time in Italy. Worker's rights to leave if the dog is sick."

Felicetti told AFP: "It is a significant step forward that recognised that animals that are kept for financial gain or their working ability are effectively members of the family."