“It is the same problem as last time” so why does my pet have to see the vet?

By November 13, 2012Uncategorized

I know you think “IT IS THE SAME PROBLEM AS LAST TIME” so WHY does the veterinarian need to examine your pet first before re-filling or prescribing medication?

As I write this I am thinking of the times…….sometimes daily…….that I am asked to renew a prescription for a pet that I haven’t seen for a long time.  It seems like a simple request and sometimes it can be but other times situations are more complicated.

1. Many people don’t know that it is ILLEGAL for a veterinarian to dispense ANY kind of medication without a current doctor-patient(pet) relationship.  By this I mean that the veterinarian has to have physically examined your pet with the last 12 months.

2 .Any previous treatment may or may not be the current way to treat a problem that is apparent now – remember veterinary medicine is an ever changing field.  There may be a better treatment now even if it is the same thing.

3. Pet owners may think the problem looks the same or the pet is behaving the same way but in fact the new problem may be caused by something totally different.  Let me give you an example….. A dog that is licking his feet may have previously been diagnosed as having an allergy.  But this “symptom” could also be due to an interdigital cyst or dermatitis (skin infection) among other things.  One diagnosis requires allergy medication and the other anitbiotics!

Another common medication renewal asked for is for an “ear infection”.  Yes, the most common underlying problem is usually yeast but the next time it could easily be bacterial in origin and require another type of medication.

4.Longterm medications have certain precautions and pets taking these need to be monitored regularly.  It is really important to not only to have regular checkups but also to do bloodwork to make sure the body is handling the medication properly and the dosing is correct or maybe a different regime needs to be considered.

5. Commonly I am told that problems re-develop when medication is finished. In this case, it doesn’t make sense to prescribe the same medication.  Re-evaluation and further testing is very important in this scenario.

6.  I think I speak for the vast majority of vets when I say that we are not trying “to get more money”.  We really do want what is best for your pet!  We would never recommend a treatment that was not 100% necessary.

I hope this blog has been helpful in your understanding of why veterianians cannot just arbitrarily dispense medication that could potentially hurt a pet simply to avoid an owner’s opposition or to save someone some money.

Dr. John