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Prescription Only Medication...

This is a post written by Co-Founder of the WCB, Lucy Steele, from Wild Things Rescue...

"This will be a bit of a controversial post but I would like to highlight the dangers of using medications when they're not prescribed and the impact it can have on the very animals we are trying to save.

When I started rehabilitating wildlife Baytril was pretty much the only antibiotic we used because it was the 'go to' antibiotic for exotics. Broad spectrum and nice and cheap! Perfect! Or so we thought...

As the years have gone on and there's been more research, it has become evident that we really shouldn't be using Baytril in the vast majority of cases. There's evidence it shouldn't be used in young and growing animals along with growing issues with anti-microbial resistance. I can appreciate that it is probably the easiest antibiotic to get your hands on, I see it being swapped on Facebook all the time after people have been prescribed it for their pets and no longer have a use for it. The reality is that legally, antibiotics must be prescribed by a vet and actually, Baytril can (in some circumstances) be very detrimental to the animal. I can't honestly tell you the last time we used it and if we ever do, it's absolutely a last resort (usually a result of a culture and sensitivity profile being done).

People also find Metacam really easy to get hold of as people often have left overs after it has been prescribed to a pet. Yes, Metacam is a painkiller but actually, often it isn't the most appropriate painkiller for animals coming into rescue. It shouldn't be given to animals that are dehydrated as it can result in organ failure and, let's be honest, the vast majority of patients coming into rescue are dehydrated to some degree! It also isn't strong enough to give sufficient pain relief for animals with broken bones.

I would encourage anyone who finds an animal to be cautious of someone who is saying 'don't take it to the vets I've got medication at home'. Just ask a few more questions. There is a reason we need a veterinary involvement in rescue and it's because they have a far greater understanding of how these medications work than (most) rehabiliators do! That's not to say that rehabbers don't have greater knowledge of care or behaviour or common conditions, but certainly the medication side of things is very much a veterinary area.

Trust me, I am VERY aware of the difficulties of getting vet appointments and the costs surrounding it all, but the animals deserve appropriate treatment. This post isn't aimed at anyone, it's a topic I've been mulling over for a while now and I just want to make the public aware of why we do what we do, how we do it.

In the absence of government legislation I really think it is time we club together and self regulate the wildlife rehabilitation industry. The animals deserve it. You can watch my presentation here about why I think the Wildlife Care Badge is a brilliant idea!


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