Why does my pet need an annual exam to refill medications?

The short answer: It’s the law.

Most of the medications our doctors prescribe for your pet fall under the jurisdiction of the California Code of Regulations 2032.1. These drugs have a label that reads: “Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.” This means these drugs are considered prescription medications and must be dispensed under the supervision of one of our veterinarians.

Section 2032.1 of the same California Code of Regulations states, “it shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a veterinarian to administer or prescribe a drug or medicine…without having first established a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the animal patient or patients and the client.”

The code further defines the criteria in which this relationship is maintained: “A dangerous drug or a veterinary drug shall not be prescribed for a duration which is inconsistent with the animal patient’s medical condition or type of drug prescribed which in no event shall exceed more than one year from the date that the veterinarian has examined the animal patient and prescribed such drug…”.

Furthermore, even if your pet has been under the care of another veterinarian or specialist, examinations performed by the other practitioner do not allow us to dispense medications based on the visits with that doctor. Your pet must have been examined by one of our doctors within the last year.

So just please remember if a member of our team informs you that a medication cannot be refilled until your pet has an annual exam with us, you’ll understand it’s the law and sound medical practice.

VIN Pet Medical Library