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New Controlled Substance Law A Relief For Veterinarians

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Veterinarian Heather Case draws blood from a horse. Case is now legally able to take controlled substances outside of clinics to administer care to patients thanks to the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act.
Veterinarian Heather Case draws blood from a horse. Case is now legally able to take controlled substances outside of clinics to administer care to patients thanks to the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act.

Veterinarians across the nation are celebrating the recent changes in the controlled substance allowance with the passing of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act.

The new federal law, passed on Aug. 1, allows veterinarians to transport controlled substances, such as anesthetics, outside of their clinics, giving them the ability to provide quality medical care to patients. While many veterinarians are reaping the benefits of the change, mobile veterinarians have arguably been the most impacted.

As a strictly mobile veterinarian, Dr. Susan Tanhauser of North Florida Equine said she is thankful the new legislature legally allows her to do her job. She said it’s essential for her to carry euthanasia and anesthesia supplies with her.

“It was a common sense law,” Tanhauser said. “It needed to be passed, and I’m glad they passed it.”

Some veterinarians have already been taking controlled substances on the road with them for years, accepting the potential repercussions from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dr. Carrey Bailey of Tobias Mobile Vet Services, which treats animals in Gainesville and surrounding areas, said she would not deny her patients the care they needed. She said she was willing to accept the potential consequences of providing pets with a better quality of life.

However, Bailey no longer has to worry about penalties.

“We [veterinarians] are going to provide healthcare, regardless of the laws,” she said. “It’s one less thing I can get in trouble for now.”

Veterinarians are not the only people benefiting from the new law. As veterinarians gain controlled substance accessibility, pet owners gain time.

Pet owners no longer have to load their large animals into trailers just to haul them down the road to the vet’s office, said Florida Congressman Ted Yoho, co-sponsor of the law.

Many elderly people have issues loading their heavy dogs or other pets into vehicles to transport them to the vet. This law alleviates the burden of transportation, allowing owners more precious time with their pets, Yoho said.

As one of two prior veterinarians in the House, Yoho said he understands how essential this law is and how much veterinary practices have already benefited from it.

“I know the importance of having access to those drugs,” he said. “It feels great to have this bill passed.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association worked more than two years to get the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act passed. Ashley Morgan, assistant director for AVMA’s governmental relations division, said the association met with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Congress to explain why the Controlled Substances Act needed to be amended for veterinarians.

Morgan said many of the bill’s supporters, including the 130 medical organizations that helped push the bill through the legislature, said they feel they have helped alleviate many of the problems veterinarians face.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

About Katelin Mariner

Katelin is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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