Question of the week: Why do I need to see the vet to get my pet’s prescription?

If my pet seems fine, why do I need to bring them to see the vet when they need medications refilled? This is a question we often get asked by clients and it’s a reasonable one to ask.

Veterinarians have on average 8 or more years of college education prior to going into practice as doctors. The vet can see and observe things that the untrained eye can’t. This doesn’t discount how valuable we are as owners in sharing our own observations, however we just don’t have tools and skills that the physician has.

Even if the animal is on a medication that is considered to be more or less permanent (thyroid medication for example), dosing and treatment may need to be changed. The original dose or medication may cease to be appropriate.

How your pet’s body metabolizes medications, how the condition progresses or changes all factor into what your doctor prescribes. Some  medications may have side effects  or lose efficacy altogether. Blood test and exams are vital in making such a determination. If left unmonitored by your doctor, the medication you give to your pet could be doing more harm than good. It’s our veterinarian’s responsibility as a health care provider to insist on maintaining a relationship with you and your pet. Veterinarians even have their own version of the human doctor’s Hippocratic Oath. It’s simply called “The Veterinarian’s Oath.” Read it here.

The California Practice Act states we must maintain a valid client-patient -doctor relationship and practice within the standards of veterinary care. For example, if we do not recommend blood work and current exams for pets on chronic medication every six months and something goes wrong with the medication, our clinic may be liable for malpractice and potentially lose our license to practice medicine.

Whenever possible, make your requests for refills before you run out of the medication. This avoids any interruption in your pet’s treatment in the event that testing or an exam is needed. If this is the case, we invite you to ask question about our recommendations and why we make them. Our clinic wants you to be confident that we are making the best choices in your pet’s care.