Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buyer beware--mistakes happen

My Terrorist Kittens have an upper-respiratory that refuses to die. They get better, they get worse, they get better... They can't go into new homes if they are sneezing. So I made arrangements for one to go to the vet to pull out the "big gun" medications. The vet did a thorough exam and provided a prescription for Azithromycin, which needs to be obtained from a pharmacy. I trotted up to get it and when I got home, I squinted in skepticism at the label.

1 ml per lb? That would be 10mls for a 10lb cat. TEN droppersful for a single dose. My vet was closed so I called another rescuer who has used Azithromycin and she told me the likely dose was .1ml/lb (my guess as well). I called my vet once I was back in town today. Sure enough, she had marked the prescription "1ml/10lbs" (i.e. .1ml/lb) and there had been a typo by the pharmacy.

Needless to say, I would have some pretty sick kittens if I'd given them 4-5 mls each of this stuff for 10 days. Worse yet, I had a refill to continue it beyond 10 days if they weren't totally resolved.

A) Listen to your vet when they prescribe drugs verbally in the office
B) Read the prescription the vet gives you while you are still in the office. Make sure it matches what you heard her tell you. When the pharmacy takes it away, you may never see it again
C) Make sure what the pharmacy hands you matches what was on your prescription and there wasn't a typo.

This is true of human meds as well as animal meds, of course! Don't fall into the "why should I pay attention to the verbal directions when I know it will be on the label" trap. There are too many steps in transferring the doctor's advice to that little bottle.

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