It is very hard to practice modern medicine without medicine.
There are varieties of drugs available to treat many conditions. But some drugs generally are more useful than other. Some conditions can be treated with only one drug at this time. These drugs are completely indispensable.
Yet drug recalls and drug shortages have been an issue for veterinary medicine since the day I started practicing. Medications that I rely upon to treat patients will suddenly, and usually without explanation, be unavailable.
The current veterinary environment is especially plagued by product recalls and unavailability. Here are a few examples of products suffering from current or recent issues.
Vetsulin insulin: a leading type of insulin used in dogs (occasionally used in cats as well). Reports of poor quality control have led experts to recommend switching patients to a different type of insulin. Any time a patient switches insulin there is a very high chance of complications from diabetes.
Melarsamine: The only approved product used to treat heartworm infection is in short supply and is hard to get.
Buprenorphine: A commonly used pain killer, and one of the best pain killers for home use in cats is almost impossible to obtain.
Clavamox: Two sizes of one of the most useful antibiotics in veterinary medicine suddenly became unavailable last year. Fortunately, other sizes can be used.
Propofol: A commonly used anesthetic induction agent has become harder (though, thankfully, not impossible) to obtain.
Ketamine: The preferred induction agent of most vets who don’t use propofol was recalled recently due to increased rates of adverse events.
To the suppliers of these medicines I say, get with it! Patients depend upon you. Sort our your supply issues.