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.
“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.