PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- While legislation in Arizona continues to fight the massive opioid epidemic, it is also causing some problems at local veterinary clinics when getting the drugs they need to treat dogs and cats who have undergone surgery.

Nobody wants their pet to be in pain. They're part of the family. They require some of the same things human family members need.

[WATCH: Phoenix vet says how opioid epidemic could be affecting family pets]

“It’s important for people to realize that we do use a lot of medications that are used in human medicine,” said Dr. Brian Serbin.

Dr. Serbin at Ingleside Animal Hospital in Phoenix has been a veterinarian for 25 years.

He says they use opioids on pets during pre and post-surgery every single day.

But now, they've found themselves in the middle of the problem.

“There’s been shortages of certain medications for veterinarians and medications we use on a daily basis," said Dr. Serbin. "We’ve had to make adjustments."

Dr. Serbin said, over the past year, they were given such little supply they had to quickly buy different, less pure drugs from compounding pharmacies that end up costing pet owners more.

He said they now have to report to law enforcement if they suspect any pet owners are using their dog or cat's opioid prescription for themselves.

This is such a serious issue that they keep drugs like hydrocodone and morphine inside a lockbox at all times. The lockbox is monitored by two different security cameras to see what drugs are coming out and who is taking them.

With this year's opioid legislation, Dr. Serbin said there is more of a burden on owners who have a pet with a chronic illness.

“Whereas in the past we may have sent home a larger quantity, we have to scale back that amount by law,” he said.

Dr. Serbin said while supply became better over the past few months, pets aren't the ones abusing. They are the ones losing when they need medicine most.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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(7) comments


Governor Doug Ducey is responsible for the suffering of our animals. His strictures in the Arizona Opioid Act ensures that our pets will suffer. It's not enough to cause suffering to human beings in need of pain relief, now he wants your animals to suffer as well. #OurPain is the truth. There is no opioid epidemic. Our illegal (NOT prescription) drug crisis pales in comparison to our deaths due to alcohol. Call Ducey and tell him how you feel about his actions that harm both animals and people. Let him know.


Oh brother so now the idiots who spend millions on animals are wanting drugs for their animals? Actually they are just wanting to get the drugs to sell to their victims.

JF Conlon

Do you really think vets hand these drugs out to the animals' owners? Or is it the vets doing the dealing? People have kept animals as companions for at least 10,000 years. That won't change with this trumped up war on opioids (WMDs!).

Mister Frisk

What the heck are you babbling about? People with animals want drugs so they can sell them? You are seriously misguided and ill-informed. And crazy!


Not sure what you're talking about? Much cheaper to buy opiates on the street without paying a vet bill AND retail markup on a script. And yes, half or more of the country are pet owners and occasionally save up their beer money to pay for vet care.


No, it's because dogs and cats get arthritis and have surgeries. Several medications appropriate for humans also work for animals. Ducey created the shortage with his opioid hysteria.


Do some people need diaper and pacifier. [unsure]

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