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Can you just fill my pet’s prescription?

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

The the first paragraph could be: Our veterinary clinic’s loyal clients often ask us to fill or refill their pets’ prescriptions. Depending on the circumstances, sometimes the answer is “Yes” and sometimes it is “No”. Here’s why:

1. Have we recently seen this pet for the condition? What “looks the same as last year” may actually be something very different. Without doing the proper diagnostic workup, we can easily misjudge a condition, resulting in a delay in healing and an unnecessary expense.

2. “It sounds like you just want to charge us for an examination!” I can understand this frustration, but it is not about the cost of the office call. We sincerely want to do what is right for your pet.

3. Legal Consequences of not making the proper diagnosis. Our State Veterinary Practice act stipulates in certain terms that the prescribing veterinarian must have a valid doctor-client-patient relationship in order to fill a prescription. (see below) Please try to understand that we are here to help your pet remain healthy and to foster a supportive relationship with you.

(from the Arizona Veterinary Practice Act) Drug Dispensing rules as Established by the Arizona Veterinary Medical Licensing Board Revised Rules as of September 2013 ARTICLE 8. DRUG DISPENSING R3-11-801

B. A dispensing veterinarian may provide a written, electronic, or telephonic prescription if requested by an animal owner and the dispensing veterinarian: 1. Has a valid doctor-patient relationship with the animal, and 2. Determines that providing the prescription is in the best interest of the animal.

What constitutes a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship? 24. “Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship” means all of the following: (a) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the animal’s health and need for medical treatment and the client, owner or caretaker has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions. (b) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the animal’s medical condition. Sufficient knowledge is obtained when the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and caring of the animal as a result of examining the animal, when the veterinarian makes medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept or when a veterinarian affiliated with the practice has reviewed the medical record of such examinations or visits.


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