Adirondack Veterinary Service Retail Pharmacy Prescription Guidelines

A complete exam and appropriate blood work is necessary to fill most prescriptions so we can be assured that your pet is in optimum health and is getting the proper medication at a safe and effective dosage.

It's the policy of our practice to write prescriptions where it may be appropriate to be filled at retail pharmacies. Many retail pharmacies also offer veterinary pharmaceuticals. These may seem like more convenient, or a cheaper source for your pet's chronic medications, but they may not be. Often the delay in processing and shipping may cause significant delays in your pet receiving the medications they need.

In order for us to provide you a written prescription for a retail pharmacy federal and state law require a valid doctor-client-patient relationship. To comply with these regulations, the following will be required for us to provide you a prescription to be filled by a retail pharmacy:

  1. A complete physical exam of your pet by one of our staff veterinarians will be necessary. There is a fee for this exam. Antibiotics and anti-fungal medications will always require examination prior to refilling.
  2. Prescriptions will be written with enough refills for six months only. Exception: Heartworm and Flea Preventives will be written for 1 year or until the pet's annual exam is due.
  3. Appropriate monitoring blood work must be performed.

Why an Examination Every 6 Months?

To establish or maintain the proper relationship, we need to assure your pet is still in optimum health and the medication is working properly. Pets cannot talk to us, and often subtle signs of illness are missed by owners. An exam is the best way for us to ensure your pet requires medications. Certain medications such as flea/tick or heartworm preventatives can be shared between pets. We will need to be sure the pet is still in your possession, living in your household, weight has not changed, and proper testing has been performed. In addition, as noted below, some medications require blood testing every 6 months.

Written Prescription Policy

We respect the right of our clients to get their pet's medications from the pharmacy of their choice. Unfortunately, due to the high number of requests by online pharmacies that are inappropriate and consume a large amount of our staff time we prefer not to review or honor requests outside of an exam and/or consult. At the time of the exam if you are in need of any written prescriptions please ask us and we will provide them. There is a medical records review fee of $25 to defray costs associated with this service. We cannot replace lost or misplaced prescriptions. Only one copy will be provided and you may send it to the pharmacy of your choice by their preferred methods.

We will not write new prescriptions if you choose to change pharmacies. In the event you must change pharmacies you will need to contact the original pharmacy to have the prescription transferred. We are sorry for any inconvenience this policy creates, but it is necessary to ensure excessive prescriptions are not issued.

Processing requests outside of an exam appointment requires staff to review your pet's records, a doctor to review and approve the request and prepare the written prescription. To partially recover the cost of this time there is a $30 fee for written scripts requested outside of an exam/consult appointment.

Due to several legal and medical liability issues we do not respond to faxed or e-mailed requests from online pharmacies. We will not communicate with online pharmacies by phone, email or fax; we simply do not have the staffing to manage the constant interruptions that online pharmacies place on our veterinary practice.

Authorizing solicited prescription requests can create liabilities to our practice in the event the online pharmacy provides the wrong medication or instructions for use. It is also impossible for us to identify if the request is truly coming from the pet owner listed.

Therapeutic Lab Testing Schedule

Blood tests are necessary to ensure the safe use of certain chronic medications and be certain they are still effective as well as monitoring for any life threatening side effects.

  • NSAIDs (Previcox, Carprofen, Meloxicam, etc.) – Chemistry & CBC Panel every 6 months
  • Thyroid – Biannually, or as needed to regulate proper levels
  • Insulin – As required to monitor effectiveness of medication
  • Heartworm – Testing will be required yearly for product filled by outside pharmacies
  • Seizure medications - At least yearly, but as required to monitor for toxicity and effectiveness
  • Behavior/Anxiety Medications – Chemistry & CBC Panel Yearly
  • Estrogen - Chemistry & CBC Panel Yearly
  • Proin - Chemistry & CBC Panel Yearly
  • Heart Medications and/or Furosemide - Chemistry & CBC Panel Yearly, +/- Chest radiography
  • Controlled Medications - Exam every 6 months, and appropriate Chemistry & CBC Panel Yearly

Benefits of Our Pharmacy

WARNING: Retail Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians are not trained in Veterinary pharmacology

Flexibility - By filling your pet's medications in our pharmacy, we maintain a record of your refills and we can be assured your pet is getting the medication on schedule as needed. This can allow us to be more flexible on the exam and testing requirements. When you refill you pet's medications at a retail pharmacy, we have no record of the frequency of refills.

True Convenience - No need to spend time waiting for your pets prescription while you shop, or to send a written prescription to an online pharmacy just to wait days for the medications to arrive. Just call ahead and it will be waiting for you, or filled within minutes when you stop by.

Knowledge - Our veterinarians and staff are trained and knowledgeable about the proper use, safety, and benefits of any given veterinary pharmaceutical - including extra label use, which is routine in veterinary medicine. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, are not as well trained in veterinary pharmaceuticals, and can usually only explain the label claims of any given product. We keep only pet safe medications in our pharmacy. We have seen retail pharmacies substitute medications that contain dangerous ingredients, like xylitol, that have caused pet illness. They just did not understand the difference between people and pets enough to realize they were giving a toxic substitution to the pet owner.

Shop local - By purchasing your pet's preventive and chronic medications from our pharmacy you will be providing revenue to help support maintenance of our facility and equipment. In addition, your purchases help provide for the salaries of the dedicated staff of Adirondack Veterinary Service that truly care and know your pet. You and your pet are more than a transaction to us. We truly care about you and your pet's health. Unlike the retail pharmacies where you are just another transaction, with us, you are doing business with neighbors and friends, not a distant corporate office.

Product Guarantees - We stand behind our products. Guarantees offered by manufactures are often only good if the medication is purchased through a veterinary clinic. Generic heartworm medication available at retail pharmacies may not have a treatment guarantee in the event your pet contracts heartworm while using the product.


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