Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
I am a small animal veterinarian in Marietta, GA and am very concerned about the bill that requires me to write a prescription for all pets' medication. I am very concerned about the welfare of our pets once the medications are out of a veterinarian's hands. I have found that pharmacists are not educated on the proper side effects, drug interactions, and dosage information when it comes to medications for dogs and cats, and in some cases have made substitutions for pets based on their human knowledge that have resulted in pets receiving improper dosing (i.e. thyroid medication -- the dose in pets is much higher than that in people, and pharmacists will lower the dose assuming it is incorrect). I have also had pharmacists substitute a completely different class of drug assuming it will be the same (i.e. lente insulin for regular insulin - very different medication!). Last, pharmacists do not cut tablets, and I have had pets overdose on medication due to not realizing they should only receive 1/2 instead of 1 whole tablet. A veterinarian will halve the medication for the client and visually show them the dose their pet should receive - human pharmacists do not do this regularly. Pets are much smaller than people and routinely need 1/2 or 1/4 tablet for their safety. Not all human medication has been well studied in pets - i.e. ciprofloxacin - and while we try to explain the benefits of using a veterinary approved drug instead - i.e. marbofloxiacin or enrofloxacin - clients base their decisions on price rather than what is best for their pets. Until there are freestanding readily available veterinary pharmacies, HUMAN pharmacists should not be in charge of the safety and welfare of my NONHUMAN patients. I have not had a patient die yet, however it is not a matter of if but of when when a pharmacist will make a fatal mistake, and sadly I may not be able to correct it once the pet comes back to me.