Message Number: YG5410 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-07-12 08:49:00 UTC
Subject: Re: prescription drugs

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., ferretsonly@h... wrote:
> Aren't Biaxin & Amoxicillin both prescription drugs that supposed
> be dispensed by a licensed veterinarian after they examine an
> Shouldn't laypeople refrain from giving advice about drug dosages
> avoid practicing veterinary medicine without a license?

Well, since I think I'm the only non-veterinarian who addressed the
drug dosages directly, I would suspect this is directed to me. Debi
had already figured the drug dosages and decided what drugs she was
using. That is her responsibility. She was just asking for
confirmation, absolutely the right thing to do (especially in this
case since she confused the conversion of lbs. to kg). I would
suspect that most shelter operators don't have the luxury of taking
every ferret to the vet (I believe Debi is a shelter operator??).
Many decisions must be made at the shelter. Her first response was
from Dr. Williams, a veterinarian. I piped in and said that I liked
to practice doing the calculations and my dosages agreed with Dr.
Williams. At no time did I recommend what drugs to use (I wouldn't
have a clue). I only concurred with what dosages were recommended by
a veterinarian.

You would be astounded at how much of this goes on on the wildlife
rehab lists. Making assessments, determining what drugs to use,
calculating dosages, and adminstering the drugs is a way of life. If
you were to ever get into wildlife rehab, you would be doing this all
of the time. Few vets have the time to see every animal who comes in
to us, and they come to us because they are ill, injured, or
orphaned, not because they're good and healthy. They all have
problems of some sort, some much worse than others. There is
veterinary oversight but very little hands/eye on unless the animal
is in dire straits. For instance, I administer antiobiotics (Amoxi)
to all incoming opossum babies as a preventive measure (try
calculating the dosage for a 15-20g baby!!). This is on the
recommendation of a veterinarian who has studied the opossum for over
20 years. She's clear across the country from me but I have chosen
to follow her protocols for opossum care. No veterinarian examines
each of these babies. Many rehabbers (with a lot more experience
than I) make decisions, calculate dosages, and administer much
stronger drugs for things such as head injuries. And, just so
there's no confusion here...I consider these wild animals to be no
less important or worthy than my personal "pets".

I'm glad you posted, though. I forgot to remind Debi (and everyone
else) that many antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin, are only good for
14 days after they are mixed. That's why I keep the powder(provided
by a veterinarian)and just mix what I need.

BTW, my vets occasionally give me advice/drug recommendations over
the phone for my personal ferrets. They know that I can accurately
describe symptoms and usually know what the problem is. I will then
tell them what drugs I have available (usually leftover from a
previous illness). They do this to save me money (and because
they're so nice <g>)and don't require that I bring the ferret in
every single time. This, of course, is only for the "little guns"
such as Amoxi. They wouldn't do it for the "big gun" drugs or
illnesses. They know I have enough sense to know when a physical
examination is needed. I've even had the after-hours emergency vets
help me in this way (over the phone) so that I don't incur a huge
emergency room bill. They will help me get the ferret through the
night until I can go to my regular vet in the morning, a wonderful
service, in my opinion. Please keep in mind that this is just for
"little" stuff, not major illnesses or emergencies.

Don't assume that all of the drugs prescribed by your vet are, in
fact, prescription. Many can be ordered through places like Jeffers
as "over the counter".

But, your point is well taken. I will try to refrain from getting
into drug dosages on the list in the future.