Past treatment isn’t reason enough for Rx

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Q My 7-year-old cat periodically gets an upset stomach, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea for a few days. In the past,

Q My 7-year-old cat periodically gets an upset stomach, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea for a few days. In the past, this was sometimes followed by a tearing of the eyes and some respiratory signs. My previous vet gave her two medications, metronidazole and famciclovir, that usually seemed to work. Two weeks ago, I took her to a new vet, who found no ocular or respiratory signs, and despite my pleas, did not give her any famciclovir. He did treat her for the upset stomach with metronidazole. The upset stomach resolved, but five days later, she was sneezing and having trouble breathing. Since it was the end of the day, the vet referred me to an emergency facility. The ER vets found nothing other than sneezing of clear discharge, and they finally gave me a prescription for the famciclovir since I insisted it would work. Why would they hesitate to use that medication? I understand it to be used for feline herpes and it worked in the past.

A Famciclovir is an antiviral drug that is used for feline herpes, but I usually do not easily prescribe strong drugs of this class without good reason and a confirmed diagnosis of a viral condition and clinical signs. I do not think it is reasonable to think that gastrointestinal signs of vomiting and diarrhea necessarily correlate in any way with ocular or respiratory signs and the fact that, with your cat, one followed the other in the past is no reason to jump to the conclusion that pre-empting with medication will prevent a problem.

It is not uncommon to think that giving a certain medication, followed by a resolution of any clinical signs, proves that the medication worked, but that isn’t always the case. As a veterinarian, I try to work with my clients in a reasonable manner, but I will not prescribe a medication that I do not feel is warranted no matter a client’s insistence. Nor will I give a medication to an animal for something sight unseen that worked at some time in the past merely since the owner says so. To do so runs the risk of malpractice and liability.

My guess is that the veterinarians hesitated to prescribe the medication based on their experience and clinical findings. I would trust their judgment. Hope the cat gets better soon.

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    Article Past treatment isn’t reason enough for Rx compiled by www.bostonherald.com