Now there’s a phrase that can get you in trouble.
Flippy (yes, that’s her real name!) came in today and her driver said, “I had some leftover medication from the last time she had an eye problem, so I started using that last night until I could see you today.”
There are several main points we want to make about leftover medication.
First, you should rarely have any. Most prescriptions are filled with a quantity of medication to be fully used for the episode at hand. If your pet’s doctor has given you 30 pills, don’t give 15, then, when your pet is feeling better, stop the medication. He gave you 30 pills because he wanted you to give 30 pills for a certain duration, unless he directed you otherwise. If that were the case it would be stated on the label.
Second, as occurred in Flippy’s case, using medication dispensed for one diagnosis may be wrong, or even harmful, when used in an undiagnosed condition. Just because “it looks to me to be the same as last time” doesn’t mean that it is the same. This time, Flippy had a corneal ulcer and the medication he had last time could have caused delayed healing, or even blindness with a corneal ulcer.
Third, the outcome of not giving all of the medication may be a relapse of the condition and/or the production of resistant strains of microorganisms that may not respond to this medication the next time the same organism infects your pet.
As always, if you have questions about your pet’s medication, CALL. Your pet’s doctor is always happy to advise you, directly, or through his staff, about your pet’s care.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.