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Why won't my vet just refill my pet's regular medication?

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Question: Why won't my vet just refill my pet's regular medication?
Pet owners commonly ask why they can't get a medication refilled for their pet without an examination. Whether for a recurring infection or a chronic condition that requires medication, your vet will likely want to see your pet on a regular basis prior to dispensing medication. Read this FAQ to learn the reasons why a check-in with the vet is required in most cases.
Answer: The short answer to this question is because your vet needs to fully assess your pet's health prior to dispensing/continue dispensing medication. To prescribe medication based on a repeat condition or continuing health problem without ever "checking in" on the problem is not practicing good medicine for your pet.

For a condition such as an ear infection -- is the ear drum intact, or did the repeat infection involve the ear drum and rupture it this time? Is this ear infection caused by yeast or bacteria? What about a fox tail (grass awn) or other foreign object? Last time it was a bacterial infection, what if there is an infected polyp this time? Your veterinarian will want to assess the ear anew and prescribe appropriate treatment. To simply prescribe what was given last time may or may not be effective, depending on the cause of the problem.

For chronic health conditions that require medication, such as hypo or (some) hyper thyroid conditions, most vets require yearly bloodwork to make sure that the therapy is still effective. The bloodwork may reveal that the medication dosage is too high or low before clinical signs are apparent to the owner.

In conclusion, if you ever have questions about what your veterinarian is doing or why, ask him or her! Or at least ask the veterinary staff -- they are there to help assist you as well as the veterinarian.

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