TAMPA - "He’s a good little dog,” says Dr. John Gicking, a veterinarian at Blue Pearl, of a patient.
But not all pet owners, Gicking warns, are good caretakers of their four-legged friends, due to their need for a medication for a drug meant for their pets.
“There isn’t specific training that’s done, and that’s probably one of the reasons vets are targeted in particular. We want to make sure pets are being comfortable if they are in pain,” says Gicking.
Veterinarians across the country have reported cases of owners using their pets to get their hands on a drug called Tramadol.
“Tramadol is an oral medication that has opiate-like effects,” says Gicking.
In Kentucky, police say, a dog owner named Heather Pereira cut open her dog so he would be prescribed the painkiller in 2014.
Then in Oregon last year, a raid led to 100,000 Tramadol pills and a rescue of over a dozen dogs.
Stories like those have vets like Dr. Gicking on the lookout for red flags.
“Prescriptions are being used up faster or they have been reported to being spilled multiple times,” he says.
Some vets have even gone to the extreme of not issuing the medication any longer, which Dr. Gicking says is sad because the dogs are the ones who suffer.
“Unfortunately, options we have are limited and Tramadol is one of those drugs with good pain controlling and not the side effects other medications have,” says Dr. Gicking.
But because some addicts have gone to the extreme of using the pets to get their fix, some vets don’t have any choice.