Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Eight out of 14 veterinarians surveyed reported encountering at least one client whom they believed wanted to purchase a controlled veterinary medication for personal use.
Lincoln Memorial University’s College of Veterinary Medicine joined the College of Osteopathic Medicine and other institutions in what they called a first-of-its-kind research project that looked at the practice of vet shopping. A nationwide crackdown on the unlawful prescribing of opioids in human medicine has led some people to seek out controlled substances normally given to pets.
The study, published in BMC Veterinary Research and available at bit.ly/3gYGwb9, quizzed 14 veterinarians practicing in the south-central Appalachian region of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. All but one of the veterinarians knew about the practice of vet shopping for drugs and eight of them had experienced it.
LMU assistant professor Karen Gruszynski, DVM, MPH, Ph.D., DACVPM, said the findings shed light on the value of good communication between veterinarians and pet owners.
“One of the biggest takeaways was the importance of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship,” Dr. Gruszynski said. “It is important for veterinarians to take time to get to know both their patients and clients. Relationships are built over time, and while it is hard to gauge a first-time client’s intentions, there are red flags to watch for.”
Teaching veterinarians and their staffs about vet shopping is another recommended solution.
“Continuing education programs could encourage the judicious use of opioids by veterinarians and prove an actionable and effective step towards addressing this issue,” the researchers reported.
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