In the nation’s dramatic epidemic of opioid drugs and medications estimated to have killed more than 33,000 people last year, veterinarians have been reporting cases of pet owners injuring their dogs and cats to get their hands on pain drugs, labeled Tramadol. The inexpensive painkiller has become a favorite of addicts, and thus they are injuring and torturing their dogs just to obtain the prescription.
According to the New York Post, Tramadol wholesales for less than $25 for a 1,000 pill bottle, where oxycodone can cost $10 for each 10-milligram pill. As the cheap pet pain medications have been barreling through Third World countries, the problem has reached developed countries, and just one week ago, a medical examiner in Northern Ireland reported more teens dying from Tramadol than from morphine or heroin.
Although veterinarians would like to believe humans would never harm their pets to score drugs for themselves, the epidemic has veterinarians on the alert and more critical of the pets’ injuries. In Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Heather Pereira, 23, intentionally cut her dog with razor blades so she could get Tramadol. Dr. Chad Bailey, with the Elizabethtown Animal Hospital, described the woman’s Golden retriever as needing stitches twice in one month. And then a few months later, it happened again. Each time she came for a visit with her dog, Pereira asked for more pain medications. Pereira was finally arrested and subsequently sentenced to four years in prison.
And now CBSNews reports veterinarian students are being taught to take a close look at pet owners when animals come into their offices with recurring wounds and new clients.
“We’re really looking for things that don’t match up,” stated Dr. Duffy Jones, owner of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. “The ones being abused aren’t seeing us regularly; they’re moving from vet to vet.”
In Portland, Oregon, the owners of a dog that had been euthanized didn’t stop them from going back to their vet for more Tramadol. The two owners had already filled two prescriptions and were “trying to fill a third (120 tablets each)” when they were caught, stated one veterinarian reports on a vet specific bulletin board.
If a pet owner won’t let a vet get in touch with their previous vet or comes in looking specifically for Tramadol, vets are advised to look for a drug-free, safe alternative to treat the pet for their pain. What is our world coming to when even our pets are made to suffer in the egregious world of drug addicts?
(Golden retriever hurt to score pain drugs via screenshot by AJC News)
Follow the Pet Rescue Report on Facebook.