My vet's office has faxed prescriptions for heartworm medication to the pharmacy before, but they are refusing to do so now. They say it is illegal. Is this true?

Modified on Tue, 16 Jan at 4:39 PM

For animal patients that have been examined within the last year, it is legal to fax an original hard copy prescription to a pharmacy as long as it is written on an official New York State prescription form and is manually signed by the prescriber.  Without a recent exam at the vet's office, however -- and in particular, without a blood test to make sure your pet isn't heartworm-positive -- the veterinarian may not be willing to issue a prescription for heartworm medication.

Professional practice guidelines at say that veterinarians should only prescribe, deliver, or have delivered prescription drugs when a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is established and the veterinarian has determined that the prescription drug is therapeutically indicated for the health and/or well being of the animal.  Further, a VCPR can only exist when a "veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient."  The vet should not prescribe medication that could harm the animal or cause an adverse reaction, especially without a timely exam and without your signature on a form that relieves the vet of liability if you choose not to have your pet's blood tested.

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