Prescription Policies and Information

Prescription Reorder Policy:

Please provide us with 72 hours to refill your pet’s prescription. If your pet has special order medication such as compounded medications, it may take as long as 1 week to receive your refill. If there are no other requests from the Compounding Pharmacy at the same time; the Pharmacy might charge a shipping fee. Please be sure to confirm the type of medication and the dosage you have been giving to your pet.

Before a refill is approved, your pet must have had a full physical health exam with a veterinarian within the last year. If your pet’s prescription was for medications involved in hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, Cushing’s, or Addison’s, blood work may be required prior to refill. This depends on how long your pet has been on the medication and any concurrent health issues. These blood tests help to ensure we are not overdosing or underdosing your pet.

Medications that treat infections such as ear infections and skin infections will need to be seen for each event as dosing can change and topical therapy may be implemented before oral therapy etc. Other allergy medications may require an exam because if there is a concurrent infection they can make the infection worse. For ears, we need to see what bugs are brewing in the ears to prevent resistance and eardrum trauma.

Excerpt from College of Veterinarians of BC: Prescribing

“A valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship must exist before a veterinarian can prescribe or dispense a medication for your pet. This is referred to as the VCPR and it is required by law. The VCPR usually involves face-to-face communication and an exam of your pet, which allows your veterinarian to determine the health status of your pet before making any treatment recommendations.”

Costs of Veterinary Prescriptions:

We understand that veterinary medicine is expensive and that veterinary medications are often more costly than human equivalents. We hear this question at least several times a month so do not feel uncomfortable that you are questioning this because many people do. We hope that this information helps to understand the cost differences.

Firstly, Canada has a universal health plan; the Canadian government looks at the lowest and highest cost medications and sets a fee that they tell the drug company they will pay and no more. If the drug company wants to sell in Canada, they adhere to this price, but only for the human field. In addition, veterinarians can only buy their medications through buying groups and not directly from the wholesaler in most cases and therefore must pay the middleman fees. Veterinarians also have limited buying power compared to the human market. The cost to make veterinary drugs for drug companies is often much more than for humans because the drugs are often flavored and this requires special machinery to make the pills or liquid.

Written/Phone Prescriptions:

By law, it is within your legal rights to ask for a written/phone-in prescription. You are free at this time to take it to whomever you wish; a human pharmacy or an online pharmacy. We must warn you that both these options have their risks. There are some instances where the drug is too obscure for us to carry all the time or there is only a human alternative. We do charge a prescription-writing fee; the veterinarian must analyze and calculate dosing based on your pet’s needs.

WHY NOT written/phone in Prescriptions:

  1. Human pharmacists are so used to prescribing human doses and human drugs that they mistakenly misread or misinterpret or just plain ignore an animal’s prescription because from their perspective the dose is completely wrong. We have had incidents of a very small pet requiring 0.5 ml (this was clear on the prescription) getting their medication from a pharmacy with 5 ml. We have had an insulin dose of 1 unit be sent home as 10 units and the wrong-sized syringes sold for veterinary insulin. In some cases, there were only results such as diarrhea or vomiting but we have had diabetic patients almost die and have large bills to get them back to health.
  2. Veterinary medications are often in different formulations. They either have different concentrations of drug or they are designed to be absorbed by the animal gut and not human (different Ph, stomach acid amounts, different propensity to stomach upset, etc.)
  3. Online Pharmacies are not regulated in Canada, so buyer beware. There have been incidences of medication from foreign countries where regulations are non-existing. In these countries, we cannot even be sure it is the drug at all, or it is not so old that it even works. There have been a few incidences of toxicity and poisoning or drugs not working and animals getting sicker. The only online pharmacies that are regulated are online pharmacies that are connected to a physical pharmacy (i.e. Shopper’s Drug mart etc.)