Dear Friend,
In this issue you will find:

2017 Hurricanes
Disposal of medications
When it's time to say goodbye
Spring Preventatives


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Are you still feeling the Hurricane?  

Did you know that veterinary clinics (and human medical facilities) are still feeling the effects of the 2017 hurricane season? Sounds a bit strange. After all, we live in Wisconsin and did not get a single drop of rain or breeze from those massive storms. 

Since last summer it has become very difficult to get many of the anesthetic drugs and even some simple products like IV fluid bags that we rely upon. So what do the hurricanes have to do with this? These products for use in the US were manufactured almost exclusively in Puerto Rico. With the severe damage the storms caused, the factories were shut down for repairs. 

The FDA expects the shortages to continue to improve. They are allowing some drugs and products to be imported from other countries and hopeful that the manufacture will come back online in the coming months. 

These shortages affect our patients in several ways and may continue to do so in the future. For example, without our potent opioid analgesics (morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl), our anesthetic protocols have had to change. We are less able to treat severe pain in some of our patients that really need it. Costs for some of the pain medications we are substituting are higher and often when a medication returns after a back order, the costs can be significantly higher. 

Human hospitals are usually less affected by these back orders than are small veterinary clinics. Hospitals usually keep huge supplies of what are considered essential medications on hand. Something that veterinary clinics are not able to accomplish. However, even these supplies are starting to run low.

For more information: 

https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm592617.htm
http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/6144206-151/veterinarians-have-sedative-shortage-for-pet-surgeries
https://www.statnews.com/2018/03/15/hospitals-opioid-shortage/ 


Proper disposal of medications  

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When medications are prescribed, they are usually meant to be used up. However, sometimes they are to be used as needed, the prescription is discontinued, or the patient passes away. What do you do with the medications that are left over?

It is not environmentally safe to throw them in the garbage or flush them down the drain. These techniques cause contamination of the water in lakes, rivers, and the ground water. Environmental testing finds significant amounts of a wide variety of medications in aquatic species.

To dispose of your pet's (or your own) left over medications, take the medications out of the prescription bottle and place them in a clear, sealed bag. The bag should be taken to a collection point. Here in Roberts this is at the Police Station. There is no cost for this service. 

Bring your now empty prescription bottles to Bobtown Pet Clinic for recycling. The Roberts Lions Club collects them for reuse in third world countries.


When It's Time to Say Goodbye  

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In veterinary medicine we are privileged to know many wonderful pets. Some over a long lifetime. Others only briefly. We get to see the bond between the pets and their families and how much they mean to each other. 

It is no surprise to us how deep that bond can be and how much parting hurts. This bond is what makes having a pet so precious. 

When we welcome a pet into our home and family, we take on the responsibility to care for it properly for the rest of its life. This includes saying goodbye at the appropriate time. Knowing when can be a challenge. All we can do is our best in making the decision for the final act of love that will end the pet's suffering. 

Grief is normal after the death of a pet. The emotional and physiologic effects are very similar to the loss of a child for many people. This grief should not be ignored. 

If you are having difficulty after the loss of a pet, please seek help. There are many resources available. You can find more information at the following links:
https://aplb.org/
https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/pet-loss-support-group
https://www.knoxnews.com/story/life/2018/04/15/what-happens-when-beloved-pet-dies-grief-can-deep-memories-often-sweet/460709002/


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Spring Pests  

When you look out the window today you might finally get the impression that warmer weather is just around the corner. We have already seen ticks this spring. 

It is time to get your heartworm and flea/tick preventatives.

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