Question: Why won’t you dispense prescription medication without examining my pet? Why won’t you refill a prescription for a pet that hasn’t been examined in more than a year?
Answer: Because we care about the health of your pet!
Prescription medications, by law, cannot be sold over the counter to members of the general public. They must be prescribed by a physician or veterinarian who has examined the patient and determined that this is the correct drug, the correct formulation, and the correct dose to treat that particular patient’s condition. Often there are several factors to take into consideration to make sure there won’t be any interaction with other drugs or supplements and that the drug is not contraindicated should the patient be suffering from a concurrent medical condition or previously undiagnosed problem.
If you’re on a chronic medication yourself, you know that the pharmacist can’t keep dispensing it to you forever. You’re going to have to go back for an exam with your family doctor once a year and get some more refills on your prescription.
Keep in mind that a year is a long time in a pet’s life. If one year of their life is equal to approximately seven years of our life then having your pet in for yearly check-up is like you going to the doctor once every seven years. A lot can change in the body during that time and we need to make any needed adjustments before it’s too late.
Let’s face it, even our cars get regular tune ups!
The College of Veterinarians of Ontario licences veterinarians and veterinary practices in our province. It is the position of the CVO that before a veterinarian provides treatment or dispenses medication, a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) must exist. The VCPR is the foundation of effective veterinary medicine and animal care. It exists when the veterinarian has examined the animal within the last year so that s/he has sufficient knowledge of the animal to allow evaluation of the health of the animal and recommend treatment, and the client agrees to accept the advice of the veterinarian’s clinical decisions about the animal’s treatment. If you have questions about the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario, please contact the CVO directly at 1-800-424-2856.