Opioid shortage forces vets to make changes

The Santa Clara Animal Hospital is one of several clinics in the area affected by the sedative shortage.

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 6:54 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2018 7:08 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – The sedative shortage in Oregon now has veterinarians adjusting their protocols when it comes to operating on animals.

The Santa Clara Animal Hospital is one of several clinics in the area affected by the sedative shortage.

KEZI spoke with Dr. Amy Barkhurst who works at the clinic. She said they first got word in 2016, that the Drug Enforcement Administration would reduce the amount of opiate and opioid medication made by at least 25% by 2017.

She said the sedative shortage was in response to the growing concerns about opioid abuse and increasing opioid-related deaths throughout the country, especially in Oregon. Barkhurst said the shortage has impacted their supply, and their ability to provide pain and sedative relief to their animals during surgical procedures.

Although it's not ideal, Barkhurst said there are steps they can take to make sure the surgery goes smoothly for their animals.

"There are lots of different ways of helping take away pain and helping pets through surgeries with sedation, other than opioids,” Barkhurst said. “The veterinarians in this community have worked together in sharing our opioid knowledge that we have, and help with pain relief by using local blocks and other drugs that can help take away pain."

She said the shortage has not only affected her clinic, but has impacted most (if not all) of the veterinary clinics in Lane County.

Barkhurst believes the shortage will be ongoing, but said pet owners should be confident in the services Santa Clara Animal Hospital supplies as well as other local clinics.

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