It’s hard for dog lovers to think about anyone intentionally harming one of our canine friends, but that’s what sometimes happens when drug addicts are trying to score painkillers from veterinarians. Vets want to believe that every pet owner loves their precious animal, too, but watching out for abuse goes beyond looking at repeated injuries. Now vets have to look at the owners, themselves, to discover abuse.
Addicts will sometimes harm pets, then take them to the vet hoping to get a prescription for pain medication that they can then take for themselves, leaving their animal to suffer. To catch these abusers, vets look for specific signs among pet owners. Addicts usually know not to go to the same vet over and over again, so they bounce from vet to vet. If a pet owner refuses to allow a vet to look up the dog’s medical records, that’s a red flag. If the pet owner asks for a drug by name, like Tramadol, that raises another red flag.
Vets also take note when a prescription is used up and requires a refill faster than usual or when an owner reports that the medication spilled multiple times. Some pet owners end up taking their pet’s medication and refill their animal’s prescription early, and this also takes medicine away from the pet that needs it. Vets have to go as far as trying different treatment methods without prescriptions, and the dogs are the ones who have a harder time because of it.
A Kentucky woman named Heather Pereria intentionally cut her dog with a razor to get painkillers from the veterinarian. She returned a few days after getting the prescription claiming that her kids had flushed the pills down the toilet. Later she brought her dog in with the same suspicious injuries, and the vet called the police. She admitted to the crime and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Last year, a raid in Portland Oregon found over a dozen dogs being kept in horrible conditions while their owners took advantage of their pain. Authorities found over 100,000 Tramadol pills while rescuing the dogs, and they believe the owners were distributing them. It’s heartbreaking to see animals being taken advantage of like this. Opioid addiction is an epidemic, and addicts will stop at nothing to get a fix, even if it means hurting a defenseless animal.
What do you think vets should do to put a stop to the abuse? What would you do if you found out someone was hurting an animal for drugs? Let us know in the comments below!