Do you ever wonder about the “rules” that have been set forth by your family veterinarian’s office?  Veterinarians, like all other medical professionals, undergo a rigorous training process in order to earn that title, and they are required to meet a rather lengthy list of ethical, educational, and professional requirements throughout the duration of their careers.  Most importantly, veterinary medicine is, by nature, an altruistic profession.  Your pet’s vet has worked so hard to enter this industry because he or she, first and foremost, wants to help and care for companion animals.  So, while those “rules” may sometimes be frustrating for well-meaning pet owners who only wish to give their pets the very best of everything, it’s important to remember that every veterinary practice has guidelines and restrictions in place for good reason.  Let’s review some of those reasons.

Why does my veterinarian’s office require me to come in for regular visits?

Every state has its own set of requirements regarding the frequency of your pet’s visits, but you should know that this is not your veterinarian’s rule.  This falls under the ethical requirement known as the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR), which essentially refers to how well your vet knows your pet’s current health status.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “If a VCPR is established but your veterinarian does not regularly see your pet afterward, the VCPR is no longer valid and it would be illegal and unethical for your veterinarian to dispense or prescribe medications or recommend treatment without recently examining your pet.

As a pet owner, it helps to familiarize yourself with these guidelines.  Some states require visits once every 6 months, while others require that your veterinarian only sees your pet once every 12 or 24 months.

Why can’t I return my pet’s medication for a refund?

According to the FDA Compliance Policy Guideline 7132.09 and the Board of Pharmacy, veterinarians are not permitted to accept returns on prescription medications.  It makes sense, right?  You would not want your veterinarian to prescribe returned or “recycled” medications to your pet, would you?

These rules exist for the sole purpose of promoting excellent medical care for all pets, including yours.

In cases where there was an actual problem with the medication, the manufacturer will almost always issue a refund, and the contact information for those manufacturers is readily available online (and sometimes on the medication’s packaging).

Why does my pet need to be current on vaccines for something as simple as boarding or grooming?

A veterinary practice serves a multitude of purposes, including providing a safe boarding facility for when you travel, offering routine healthcare, and of course, providing care for pets when they are either sick or injured.  Vaccine policies are in place so that your pet and the others visiting the practice are protected.

The other important thing to note is that rabies vaccines protect not only companion animals and wildlife, but humans, as well.

These are only a few of the many questions that are asked of veterinary professionals.  We want you to understand the reasons behind the rules, and more than anything, we want to help you make the best possible decisions for your pet’s overall health and wellness.

So, if there’s anything else you would like to know, just ask!  Your family veterinarian is always happy to hear from you.


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