“It’s The Same Thing As Last Time”
“But, Dr. Randolph, it’s the same thing as last time, why can’t I just get the medicine?”
The problem with this reasoning is that “it” is too-often not the same as last time.
An example occurred just today. Fritzi’s owner stopped in to see if he could get “the same medicine” because “it is the same skin problem she had last time.”
Skin problems are the area we are most likely to hear this request for, and for some good reasons.
- Many skin conditions look very much alike, especially to the untrained eye.
- Regardless of the cause, skin can react to irritation in only a few ways.
- It can get red, hair can fall out, it can get infected and pigment can appear.
- Right off the top of my head I can list 100 different skin conditions, all of which are treated differently, and all of which look very much alike.
Actually, Fritzi last time had an uncomplicated and not-yet-itchy skin infection for which we dispensed an oral antibiotic. Routine followup phone calls after dispensing the medication showed that Fritzi got better on the medication and the problem resolved completely.
Fast forward to today, when Fritzi had a totally different problem. It did involve infection, but Fritzi this time was suffering from a Hot Spot, which is an extremely itchy lesion. Without medication for itchiness Fritzi would have continued to be uncomfortably scratching and licking for a long time until the itchiness subsided with resolution of the infection.
Instead, we made an appointment, made an appropriate diagnosis, administered an itch-blocking injection and discussed options on treating the infection. Our discussion revealed that Fritzi is not a good pill-taker, and she needed a full month of antibiotic therapy to control the infection. While it was going to cost more to treat the bacteria in the skin with Convenia compared to oral medication, Fritzi’s owner decided to take that route to save the frustration of dealing with giving 60 capsules over the coming month.
Eye problems are another area of the body in which medical conditions can look very similar. In some eye conditions, most notably corneal ulcers, using the wrong medication can result in blindness. Therefore, your pet’s doctor is going to want to examine your pet and instill a fluorescein stain to determine whether the cornea has been damaged. Without doing so, there is no way to know which medications are safe.
Some medical problems do lend themselves to refills of previously-dispensed pharmaceuticals and your veterinarian will be happy to refill those. However, please know that if he asks to see your pet for a condition you think is the same as before, he has a good reason for wanting that examination.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.
covenia, convina, convinia, covinia