Pet owners, some of you get frustrated when it comes to refilling your pet’s prescriptions. You may be busy and wait until the last pill of your pet’s medications to think about a refill. Or you think about it a few days ahead, but still risk ending up with a gap before getting a refill. It isn’t your veterinarian’s goal to make your life difficult. 

Some of the factors that can impact getting a quick refill:

  • There are regulations we must follow regarding medications such as opioids, so we can’t simply refill those without examining your pet. 
  • There are also regulations about refilling prescriptions if it has been longer than a year since your veterinarian examined your pet. 
  • We need more frequent lab work rechecks for lifelong health issues such as diabetes, heart issues, seizures and endocrine-related disease. Rechecks may reveal that we need to adjust dosage.
  • Doctors are busy or out of the office, and it takes a few days to review the request. Lengthy shipment times can also add delays in getting refills. 

Since there is much confusion around the issue of refilling your pet’s prescriptions, let’s take a moment to address the steps you can take to make the process easier for both you and your veterinarian.

The Importance of Maintaining Your Pet’s Medications

Maintaining your pet’s prescriptions is important for several reasons. Some  prescribed pet medications are life-saving, or they prevent a disease or condition from becoming worse. Veterinarians prescribe medications such as antibiotics for a short period of time but they are needed to avoid infection. Medications for heart disease, diabetes, seizure disorders, and thyroid disease are often taken for the duration of the pet’s life, and you don’t want to miss doses. In any of these situations, continuing your pet’s prescriptions without skipped doses is important to their health and safety.

Medications encourage your pet to have the best quality of life possible. This is because, even when they don’t provide a cure, they offer a way to manage the disease that would otherwise negatively affect your pet. Medication management reduces the impact of clinical symptoms of a disease or disorder and reduces pain.

Tips on Refilling Your Pet’s Prescription 

Now that we have covered how essential your pet’s prescriptions are to their well-being, let’s look at how to avoid running out of medications. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) sets guidelines, including some of those below, which most reputable veterinary clinics follow. 

  1. Allow 5-7 days for refills – It is our aim to help our pet patients quickly. In a perfect world, your pet’s doctor would be able to help you right away. During a regular business day, animal hospitals are quite busy though and veterinarians are not always able to respond to a refill request quickly. Sometimes the doctor is away or the request comes on their day off. In some cases, the medication requires shipping time. This is why it is best to send a request ahead of time to avoid any delays for your furry friend’s medications.
  2. Ask for refill reminders – Many veterinary clinics will send automated refill reminders to your cell phone or email. This is helpful for both you and your veterinary providers. They can also alert you to your pet’s next examination or testing that is necessary for medication refills.
  3. Certain medications require periodic examinations – To better manage your pet’s health, treatment sometimes requires annual or more frequent examinations. This is to ensure that your pet is on the correct dosage and the drugs are not harming the liver or kidneys. Narcotic medications used to manage pain require more frequent check-ups with your veterinarian due to regulations regarding controlled substances. During COVID, televisit exams fulfilled this requirement. We’re waiting to see if this continues post-COVID.
  4. Make use of online ordering – Many pet owners enjoy the ease, cost-effectiveness, and convenience of ordering their fur friend’s meds online. This is a good choice as long as you do your research and find a verified online pharmacy. There are online drug sites that offer lower quality medications (knockoff brands, drugs stored too long or not in climate controlled warehouses, etc.). Discuss with your pet’s veterinarian a quality source of online medications. You can also check out NABP’s Pharmacy Verified Websites page for a list. Just be aware that over-the-counter supplements or drugs may interfere with your pet’s current prescriptions, especially heart medications. Consult with your veterinarian before purchasing.
  5. Expedite the process by using our online refill form – At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we provide an online form for both food and pet prescription refills. This eliminates the need for a phone call and expedites the process of getting your request in front of the doctors.
  6. Automate refill requests with OVRS online pharmacy – If you order from our online pharmacy, they automatically send us a refill request when it is time for a refill so that we can authorize it or follow up. Also, with our online pharmacy, if you set up autoship for things like prescription pet food, shipping is free.
  7. Customize your pet prescriptions at a compounding pharmacy – There is a lot of opportunity to fine-tune your pet’s medications at a compounding pharmacy. For example, they can prepare prescriptions inside treats or flavor them to make them easier to administer to your pet.  

Be aware that the FDA provides strict guidelines about pet prescriptions and their safe use. Our aim is to follow the best practices around pet prescription drugs for your pet’s health and safety. If you have any questions about refilling your pet’s prescriptions, please contact us.