Over the past two years, health care professionals have faced critical drug shortages and price fluctuations the likes of which we’ve never seen before. These shortages are affecting human and veterinary patients alike.
In fact, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) now has a website providing information about current drug shortages, as new ones seem to surface every week.
“FDA recognizes the significant public health consequences that can result from drug shortages and takes tremendous efforts within its legal authority to address and prevent drug shortages. These shortages occur for many reasons, including manufacturing and quality problems, delays, and discontinuations.
FDA is aware that in 2010 there was a record number of shortages and in 2011 FDA has continued to see an increasing number of shortages… As a result of these shortages, health care professionals sometimes face situations where they need to identify suitable alternative medications to treat their patients.” (fda.gov)
What if no suitable alternative exists?
Some drugs, like injectable calcium needed in human and veterinary emergencies, are not available – period. The price of other medications has increased without warning.
Metronidazole, a drug often used for intestinal upset and previously pennies a tablet, is now 75 times more expensive than just six months ago. Understandably, consumers are not pleased and patients at risk (or their families) are afraid.
Some days, we attempt to place a supply order, only to learn a medication is no longer available, or that it’s on extended backorder, or the price has jumped through the roof.
We do our best to keep our pharmacy stocked, our prices competitive, and to search for alternatives when the medication we need is not available. These days, it’s often a real challenge.
Everyday, in veterinary hospitals throughout the country, the veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and kennel assistants attend to the hands-on art of healing animals.
They are our nurses, nursing assistants, and aides: our eyes, ears, hearts, and hands. They give comfort, calm fears, and treat illness and injury under doctors’ directions.
Yet, most of them provide that care, day after day, without a lot of recognition or glory. Their names aren’t on the practice sign, they don’t have business cards, and they don’t earn huge salaries. When clients give thanks to the doctors for making an ill pet better, they often do so without realizing that behind the scenes, the technicians and assistants were an indispensible part of the care and healing.
Please join me in thanking and recognizing our technicians and assistants who provide nursing care to our furry patients. Thank you for giving them some of the gratitude and a little of the spot light they deserve.
Veterinary hospitals are not only providers of customer service, we’re also receivers. We have vendors who help us take care of our equipment and facility; locate needed out-of-stock medications; manage our employee benefits, etc. It feels GREAT to receive the kind of customer service we try hard to give our clients and patients.
This week we were recipients of the most amazing customer service I’ve ever experienced. And, in an indirect way, so were several of our patients. Our dental machine, a real work horse used nearly every day to improve the dental health of our patients, went kaput. We were dead in the water with several dental procedures on the schedule. Some naughty gremlin yanked a crucial cord, ripping it out by the roots deep inside the machine, and the machine went down.
The last time this happened, the local repair guy was unable to help us. Our dental machine’s manufacturer was sold to another company, and he didn’t know where to get parts. We contacted another vendor in desperation, he made a call or two, and a few hours later we found Inovadent, a tiny company in a tiny village (832 residents, even smaller than where I grew up) in the middle of rural western Wisconsin, located right smack in the center of town on Main Street.
Joe, one of their technicians, was extremely patient, practical, and kind during our numerous frantic phone calls. He was able to diagnose the problem by listening to the machine over the telephone; overnighted the part we needed; then talked us through changing out the part — and he’s never seen our dental machine! We were back up and running.
Thank you Joe and Inovadent from the doctors, staff, and patients of Atlantic Veterinary Hospital. You uplifted our spirits and made a real difference to our hospital and the care we can provide.
Grab your leash, a coffee cup, and come join us this Sunday June 12th at Seward Park for the 2011 Furry 5k, a fun run/walk to raise monies for the Seattle Animal Shelter. We’re participating as sponsors and have put together an array of treats (for humans and canines), fun freebies, and cool raffle items. Registration starts at 8am and the run/walk starts at 10am. Hope to see you there!
Our friend Julie at tugrrrs.com donated 2 awesome handmade leashes for our raffle. These leashes are colorful, soft, strong, and stretch like a leather leash (so you don’t get your arm yanked off when a squirrel crosses your path). Thanks tugrrrs! Check these out at http://tugrrrs.com/products-page/.
Purina and Novartis also donated lots of items we’d like to pass along to you.
Community is important to us! In addition to caring for the four-legged family members in our neighborhood, we’re looking for ways to give back to this incredible community and the people we serve. Our most recent efforts include:
We’ve started a pet food drive for the Rainier Valley Food Bank. Please donate a bag of cat or dog food to our collection barrel, and we’ll say thank you with a $5 discount toward your pet’s next exam fee.
We’ve signed on as sponsors for the 2011 Furry 5k, a fun race event in Seward Park June 12th that raises funds for the Seattle Animal Shelter. Bring your pooch, get a little exercise, and visit our booth for fun prizes and snacks.
We donated goods and services to the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce 2010 and 2011 auctions for their college scholarship fund.
We’re doing our part for Bridge-to-Beach Cleanup 2011 on May 1st, beautifying our immediate area and showing our pride in the valley.
Dr. Monahan participated in Career Day 2011 at Washington Middle School in March.
We offer a Green Discount of 5% to clients to walk, bicycle, bus, or carpool to their appointments.
Atlantic Veterinary Hospital has been part of this community since the 1960s when the practice was started on Atlantic Street (hence our unusual name on the West Coast). The practice moved a little south to Beacon Hill-Rainier Valley when the I-90 interstate was built in the late 1960s and has been at it’s present (and final) location on 23rd Avenue South for 22 years and counting. This vibrant, growing community is our home and it’s important to us, so we’re going to keep giving back.
We were so pleased to welcome “Bogart” to our family yesterday. Bogey is a senior black Lab found wondering many months ago and ended up in the slammer in Ellensburg. Fortunately, he avoided death row when some wonderful folks posted bail and have been fostering him since. We drove over to Ellensburg yesterday to meet him, and it was love at first sight.
He fits right into our family – he knows where to sit to beg for Scooby snacks, snores contentedly in his new bed, lies in the “middle of the road” in our kitchen,
likes to go for walks, warmly tolerates all the lovin’ from our two boys, and gets along well with our younger Lab and two kitties.
Bogey’s got arthritis and is a little stiff on rising, so we’re starting him on some special food and a second medication to help ease his joint troubles, as well as investigating some alternative therapies like therapeutic swimming, physical therapy, and accupuncture. Got keep him moving!
He’s a great old boy, and we’re lucky to have him!
My family and I are Lab lovers from way back. “Jester,” our 2 1/2 year old Lab is our 5th retriever, if you count “Bozo,” the one my husband grew up with. I don’t know what it is about Labs, perhaps their sparkle, but I’ve heard people are attracted to the breed they most resemble — does that mean I shed a lot?
We’ve lost Jester’s predessors at ripe old ages, and this is the first time we’ve had only one dog in a very long time. Jester would like a buddy, so we’ve been trying to find just the right one that would fit into our menagerie of cats, dog, kids, busy life, etc. I feel very strongly about the positives of adopting (not purchasing) pets — there are so many that need forever homes. We thought we found just the right one — a gorgeous male with some chronic medical issues named “Kohla” who’s being cared for at Best Friends, a very large, very well-known shelter in southern Utah. But Best Friends is making it quite difficult — seems they think a veterinarian’s home might not be up to snuff, and they’re convinced they know best. I’m frustrated and heavy hearted after dealing with them for the past 2 weeks and getting no where. Hope others have better luck dealing with them, but I cannot recommend them.
Fortunately, we found another Lab in Eastern Washington on www.petfinder.com that might be available, and he sounds like quite the gentleman, so there’s hope. Hope we’ll find the right dog to adopt, hope there won’t be so many hoops to jump through, hope he’ll love us back and fit into our “gang.” Wish me luck!
Thanks to our kind-hearted clients and the generosity of Elanco, we raised a tidy sum for the King County Humane Society this winter. Elanco, makers of Comfortis (a new oral monthly flea medication) donated an uber FUN gift basket of toys, grooming aids, and Comfortis for a raffle. The competition was fierce, but Freya, a 2-year-old Catahoula, won the drawing. She’s got a nice smile, don’t you think?
According to The Union of Concerned Scientists, recycling is great but to make any real difference in our impact on the environment, we need to focus on the BIG things, like the energy consumption associated with transportation and heating/cooling. At Atlantic Veterinary Hospital, we’re looking at these two issues and making some changes. To help make it a community effort, please take advantage of our “Green Discount” — walk, cycle, bus, or carpool to your vet appointment, and we’ll give you a 5% discount on outpatient services. Please ask us for details!
The death of a pet means losing a member of the family. Their memory lives on in our hearts, but it’s also nice to have a tangible remembrance — something we can see and touch or a place we can go to feel their spirit. Often, families choose a favorite location outdoors in the yard or garden. We just learned of a local Seattle artist helping families memorialize their deceased pets with beautiful, customized garden stones, perhaps to mark a favorite resting spot or where their pet’s ashes are buried. Take a look at: www.TattvasGardenArt.com