by Gigi McWhirter
Every day at every veterinary office someone from the staff is telling a client that the owner’s pet must be seen before a prescription can be filled.
The staff often hears the reply from the caller who accuses the doctor of just wanting to make money. And while nobody wants to work for “free,” there is a lot more to having a current exam on record.
Veterinarians follow the same regulations to write prescription medications as do primary care providers who take care of humans: A current client/patient relationship.
During the visit, the doctor will do a physical examination that includes temperature, pulse, respiration rates, and current weight. During the exam, the doctor may discuss any concerns or changes that your pet might be experiencing.
A hands-on exam should include the doctor checking the eyes, ears, teeth, and gums, feeling the neck and throat for swelling, listening to the heart and respiratory sounds. The doctor also will check the bones and joints, abdomen, and finally, the hind end and a general overview of the skin.
The doctor then may suggest lab work to help determine or monitor a metabolic or infectious illness. Diagnostic imaging, such as X-ray or ultrasound also may be considered.
Narcotics are strictly governed by the DEA and require a physical exam every six months and lab work at least once a year. Some medications falling into this class are not permitted to have prescriptions written that include refills, so you must contact your vet to authorize every refill request.
When a pet is first diagnosed with a chronic ailment, lab work and follow-up exams may be needed more frequently to monitor and evaluate the condition of your pet. Ask your doctor about follow-up instructions and monitoring requirements.
One more thing, please do not wait until the last pill to call in your refill request. Not all medications are written with refills and may need a doctor’s approval before they can be filled.
If you have any questions, contact your veterinarian — not Dr. Google!
Happy Tails to you!