Vet won't sell Rx food without exam for healthy pet

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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What kind of dog- is that? A black- one!
Barked: Wed Aug 8, '12 9:04pm PST 
OK, I know this is "dog"ster and there's probably a better avenue for this, but I just want to hear what people think about my particular experience with my vet- it's about my cat, but it's more about my vet, so just pretend I'm talking about a dog instead of a cat. (He's bigger than my dog anyway...)
I have a mean, nasty, 9 year old cat. When he was two, he developed bladder crystals, blocked, and had to be treated at an emergency clinic (at midnight on saturday, of course!) The problem was alleviated, he was put on Rx food (Hill's WD, because he's a fatty.) He's been perfectly fine since that isolated incident. I get the food at the vet's office, and for the past 9 years, I have only brought the cat into the vet every third year for his rabies booster. He's been perfectly healthy. (He needs no other vaccines as an indoor only cat.) Last year, my vet decided she would no longer sell me the food without a current well-pet exam (not a rabies booster year.). So in addition to the $30 bag of RX food, I had to spend $80 to bring a healthy cat to the vet and be told he's healthy. Does this irk anyone else?
I understand the need for well exams, and especially for an office visit to be required for something like heartworm prev, because of the risks of giving preventative to a positive dog. But there's nothing in the exam that will show if my cat has had further complications due to his bladder issues. (They don't inspect that.)
I guess what gets me is that when the going gets tough and the economy sucks, the vet changes her practice to squeeze her clients.
Does anyone else think this is kind of slimey? I'm debating changing to a different food so I don't have to go to the vet, but I'm afraid of trying to fix what ain't broke. And he's a picky eater and LOVES WD.

Its A Husky- Thing,You- Wouldnt- Understand
Barked: Wed Aug 8, '12 9:19pm PST 
Your upset because you had to take your cat in for a health exam? Hell, I take all 4 of my pets (2 dogs and 2 cats) in every year for wellness exams with no vaccines. With yearly blood/urine tests for my 9 year old Doxie and 13 year old cat.

The food is "presciption" (and your cat is probably at the age where yearly exams are important anyway). Your vet sounds like he/she cares enough to want to see your cat in person to rule out any ailments. That's good veterinary medicine. Taking your pet to the vet shouldn't be a chore, its like taking your child to the Doctor every year to get their check up (most counties don't allow children who haven't to enter public schools). Just my 2 cents.

What kind of dog- is that? A black- one!
Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 6:29am PST 
Thanks for your judgment. You didn't answer my question at all, but just my 2 cents.


Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 6:40am PST 
I think it is kind of odd to just suddenly decide to change policy,but I honestly think the yearly exams should have been part of the routine all along. I have been on the same meds for years and my doctor will not renew any prescription without a yearly visit. My vet has always been the same with my pups as well,they do not get their flea or heartworm meds without an annual wellness check. There are also certain health issues like kidney issues that can be seen through changes in the cats eyes or general health. I know you are upset about the sudden change in policy but annual vet care is just part of good pet ownership. Just my 2 cents.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 7:08am PST 
It is not unusual for a vet to want to examine your pet before PRESCRIBING anything.

It's equivalent to you calling up your doctor and saying "Hey, I've been sick in the past, can you call me in some antibiotics because I think it's back?" -- they'd probably ask you to come in and get checked out just to be sure.

I know you might see it as a chore if your pet hates going to the vet, but this is good medical practice. It sounds to me like she wasn't being completely ethical before by giving her clients prescription food without an exam.

Edited by author Thu Aug 9, '12 7:12am PST


Im a lean, mean,- cuddling machine
Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 7:38am PST 
Yearly exams are never a bad idea, especially in cats. Yearly blood work would be very beneficial as well, to check for things like kidney disease and diabetes since you say he's over weight.what I do for my dogs is have blood work done every year after 5 years of age, it's a good preventative measure. And it's only the 80 bucks once a year, that's not outrageous. Change vets if you like but I would still recommend yearly work ups for your cat.

I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 12:30pm PST 
That does seem like an odd policy change, and yes, I too would be irked, especially if the clinic changed the policy without giving advance notice.

That being said, it's always a good idea to bring in senior pets for an annual check-up. Cats hide discomfort and pain incredibly well, often until it's too late to treat the problem or condition. Changes in behaviour and weight can be really gradual too, to the point where one doesn't pick up on it until you go in for a check-up.

If one of the reasons you are reluctant to bring in your cat is because he is really tough to handle, then you may be interested that Dr. Sophia Yin has made sections of her Low Stress Handling and Restraint book available online for free. The cat handling section is really useful. I have easy going cats and I still found it really helpful. click here

The world is my- food bowl!
Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 2:19pm PST 
Honestly, no, I don't think there's anything wrong with this. If I were a vet, I would want to do a yearly health exam and figure out a direct diagnosis before prescribing a prescription diet. In the event that your vet was lazy, let you buy the food, and then something happened to the cat, your vet could be liable for damages.

edit: I understand that you have bought the food in the past years, but that's even more reason for the vet to check out your cat. A cat that isn't losing weight over such a long period of time is either on the wrong food or has an underlying health condition.

On a separate note, I would look for another food. We used to feed W/D to my sister's fat cat, and it was grossly expensive for it's purpose. Any grain-free cat food should be able to help with weight loss.

Edited by author Thu Aug 9, '12 2:21pm PST

Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 3:04pm PST 
I can understand that you are irritated with the situation, but I can see why the vet would require it. The food is prescription, so it would be like them giving you antibiotics or steroids without seeing your cat. Something the vet could get in big trouble for. It's possible that your vet had a "warning" from the state or other governing body that she was doing something out of compliance, hence the change in policy.

Barked: Thu Aug 9, '12 3:49pm PST 
I am going to have to agree with the others. I know when i had my dog on RX food, I had to take him in every year so that the vet would check him out and see if he still needed to be on that food. I think just the idea of having the cat checked out each year is a good idea.
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