By Macy Jenkins

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Veterinarians say they’re seeing more and more cases where dog owners try to get their hands on prescription drugs. But in some cases, the drugs aren’t for the pet, they’re for the owner.

“It don’t understand how or why they would do that,” said dog owner Joseph Rossini.

“You gotta really be careful on what you’re prescribing out there,” said Dr. James Reynolds.

But Reynolds says using animals to score prescription drugs for themselves is more common than you’d think.  Currently, he works as a volunteer veterinarian with Sacramento Police Department’s Impact Team, but spent 35 years in private practice in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

“We get phone calls all the time for people asking for Tramadol,” Reynolds said. “It’s synthetic morphine drug, it’s used for pain.”

But it can be highly addictive. In 2014, a Kentucky woman was arrested after cutting her dog with razor blades just to get a prescription.

“People will do anything they can to get some of these drugs,” Reynolds said.

He looks out for certain red flags including:

  • Signs of drug-altered behavior in the dog owner
  • Requests for drugs without proof of a prior prescription
  • Requests for drugs that aren’t normally prescribed
  • Not allowing the vet to examine the dog

“Probably the last five years of my practice I saw a lot more red flags,” he said.

When he does prescribe painkillers, he keeps a detailed record. And if the person calls back before the prescription runs out, he won’t give them a refill.

Rossini appreciates a vet on the lookout, but worries too much scrutiny could be harmful for dog owners just trying to take care of their furry friends.

“To be able to get drugs for my dog, I don’t want it to be difficult if I actually end up needing them,” he told CBS13.

Reynolds’ advice for veterinarians when they are prescribing drugs is to have several sets of eyes check prescriptions as they are written.


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