Hilltowns Veterinary Clinic
Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
As a veterinarian, I always want the best for my patients - In fact, I make medical decisions based on how I would treat my own pets. I do careful research about which medications (both over the counter and prescription) to use for various conditions. I have gone to vet college as well as furthering my education through an internship, a certificate course as well as doing continuing education courses regularly. I also practice in an area hard hit by the economy, so strive to keep costs as low as I can for my clients. We carry medications at the clinic and regularly fill prescriptions for our patients. I feel that as a vet, I have undergone the training in pharmacology to accurately prescribe medication and counsel owners on it. I have a certified veterinary technician working for me who has also undergone a good bit of training in pharmacology and can help with client education. I do occasionally give clients prescriptions for medications to pick up at local pharmacies. Oftentimes, 1 am questioned by the pharmacist about dosages. Drugs vary from humans to dogs and cats, and pharmacists are not trained in veterinary pharmacology. I also have seen products that are toxic to cats being sold over the counter in pet stores and pharmacies. Staff at these stores are often not qualified to educate people about the products and the possible toxic effects. Hartz and Zodiac flea products are an example. Most vets have seen a flea product toxicity in cats and I cannot fault an owner for applying a bad product to their pet as they often times were given bad advice. Yesterday, a client came in with an ear mite medication for her dog which was permethrin based. This product could have caused serious harm if used on a cat. She had gone to the local pet store and asked the staff what to treat her dog's ears with. The staff handed her this medication. This dog did not have earmites and the client was never told, nor did the product have a warning label on it about how toxic it was to cats. I am sure that the staff at the store do not want to cause harm to pets, but without the training in veterinary medicine, do not have the knowledge to diagnose and treat animals. Yet this happens every day at petstores, pharmacies and big box stores. I also have concerns about where these products are coming from. I purchase my medications and products from the manufacturers. The online pharmacies admit to buying product from other places. I have seen flea products and heartworm medications purchased from online pet pharmacies coming from countries where regulations are not as stringent as our country's FDA regulations. This worries me and I would be uncomfortable using these products on my pets. Therefore, I have concerns about my patients using these products. I educate my clients about each product or medication that they are giving their pets and unfortunately, this same education is not available if people are purchasing their medications elsewhere. This is not a good practice and quite frankly scares me that people who have not done the training that I have are supplying my clients with medication.