In veterinary hospitals there are a lot of medications that help improve the quality and length of pet’s lives. Just like your local pharmacy, we have shelves and shelves of medications for everything under the sun, in different strengths and forms – capsules, tablets, chewable flavoured medications, liquids, topical, injectable – the list goes on and on. Some are light sensitive, some are refrigerated.
When someone calls to request a refill of a medication, there are many steps involved.
- The first step is finding out if we can.
The veterinary assistant logs a message in our hospital software under your pet’s file that a request has been made. This message appears immediately in our pharmacy computer where another trained veterinary assistant will review the medical history of the patient and check to see if the veterinarian has refills listed on the patient file. If there is, the process of filling the prescription begins. If there is not a refill listed, the veterinary assistant needs to check with the Veterinarian to see if a refill can be dispensed.
- Once the refill is approved, the prescription label is created within the Veterinary software of the individual patient’s medical record. It is there we can see every prescription that patient has received from this hospital. All of the proper instructions needed to ensure the medication is given properly are included on the label. The label is placed on the dispensing container as well as any stickers to highlight important instructions.
- The label is compared to the Veterinarian’s original instructions to ensure they did not make an error.
- The medication is taken from the pharmacy ensuring the concentration, form, dosage are correct. It is then counted out/measured and placed in the proper take home bottle, or pill vial.
- Everything is reviewed one more time and then signed off that the prescription has been prepared correctly.
- A second veterinary assistant or technician then goes through each step again to ensure it is the correct; client, patient, drug, concentration, expiration date, instructions and quantity. They then sign off that they performed the double check and the prescription is 100% correct for that patient.
Preparing prescriptions is something we take very seriously. Giving too much of a medication or the wrong medication can be harmful to the pet. Too little will be ineffective.
To ensure we fill the prescription correctly we make sure staff take the time they need to get it right. There are two times each day that a staff member is dedicated specifically to preparing prescriptions. Any other time, the staff are multitasking, taking care of hospitalized patients, appointments or assisting clients. We always encourage clients to call for prescriptions 24 hours in advance so that we can take the time to prepare the prescription correctly.
If a client stops by for a refill without calling ahead, we do our absolute best to prepare it right away, but please be patient. Even then, we go through the exact same process including all of the double checks but we may need to finish caring for another pet or client before we fill the prescription. We prepare each prescription giving it our full attention. Your pet deserves the best and we do all we can to ensure that happens with each and every prescription we prepare!
Written by Jen Kendrick, Site Coordinator