Posts Tagged ‘Pet Disaster Preparedness’

Your Pet’s Medical Needs in an Emergency

Sunday, March 15th, 2015
Henry at the Office

Henry at the Office

In Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses (page 103), I wrote about the need to ensure that you have an adequate remaining supply of prescription medicine on hand in the event of an emergency. I also wrote that mail order pharmacies are a great convenience, but you need to plan for how you would receive your prescription refills should a disaster force you to leave your home. If your pet takes medications, you have to have a plan for obtaining his or her prescriptions as well. Now I have some new information that I want to share with you about filling your pet’s prescriptions.

This photograph shows Henry taking a nap at the foot of my desk as I work. I adopted Henry from a municipal shelter and immediately took him to the veterinarian for a check-up. He was found to be in good health, but about nine months after I adopted him, he had a seizure. I immediately brought him to the veterinarian for an evaluation and we decided not to medicate him at that time. The vet explained to me that the medication that is typically prescribed reduces the frequency of seizures, but does not eliminate them entirely. The medication does, however, cause side effects and as Henry had only a single seizure episode, which was mild, or “partial” as the vet described it, we decided to keep a watchful eye on him. I called Henry’s seizure episode “mild” because he did not lose continence or consciousness and he was back to normal in short order. The correct term for such a seizure is “partial”. Thereafter, Henry had additional seizures, all mild, and occurring about once every three months. I kept careful notes of these episodes to share with the vet. The vet advised that we would reconsider the decision to medicate Henry should (1) the seizures become more severe or (2) the seizures occur more frequently or (3) Henry were to suffer a “cluster”, or back-to-back seizure, in which he comes out of one seizure and immediately goes into another. In the event of a cluster seizure, I would have to immediately bring Henry to the local 24-hour veterinary hospital where they would stop the seizure by administering Valium, as cluster seizures can be fatal.

Henry did well without medications, having one mild seizure approximately every three months. After a year, however, he had his first cluster seizure. The vet referred us to a veterinary neurologist as there are new, safer drugs on the market. As my vet’s practice did not have sufficient experience with these new drugs, it was decided to see a specialist. Thankfully, Henry had a normal neurological examination and the decision was made to start him on Zonisamide. He has been on the drug for about nine months now and has not had a single seizure and has not experienced any side effects, for which I am very grateful. I did some comparison shopping in getting Henry’s prescription filled. All of the major chain pharmacies fill pet prescriptions with the order of a veterinarian. The average price was a 30-day supply of Zonisamide was just under $200. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club can each fill┬áthe same prescription for $22!

Then I asked pharmacist at my local Wal-Mart if they offer mail order delivery for pet medications just as they do for humans, and the answer was yes. Wal-Mart would issue a 45-day supply of Henry’s prescription for under $20 and free shipping! It is a great convenience to have Henry’s prescription delivered by mail at no extra charge. And because it is a pet medication, for which I am paying cash out of pocket, it is not so difficult to order refills in advance, such that if we had to leave the home under an evacuation order, I would have a sufficient supply of Henry’s medications on hand to ensure that he remains well. I want to share that information with all pet owners, as I was shocked to learn of the range of prices for pet medications and the flexibility for mail order delivery.