In 2018, California passed a new pet medication compliance law known as Lizzie’s Law, and the law could have far-reaching effects on veterinary practices across the U.S.
Watch our video below with Dr. Mark Stephenson to learn more.
Under California’s revised Business and Professions Code, California veterinarians are now required to provide consultation to pet owners or their agents (either in person or via electronic means) every time a pet medication is initially provided or prescribed in an outpatient setting. Outside of California, veterinarians in Maryland have reported that Lizzie’s Law could soon be implemented there, as well as other U.S. states.
Here’s What “Consultation” Means
As part of consultation minimum requirements, California veterinarians must now provide:
- The name and description of a drug, including drug type and what it is used to treat.
- Route of drug administration, dosage, and duration of drug therapy.
- Common severe adverse effects associated with the use of a short-acting or long-acting drug.
- Any special directions for proper use and storage.
- Actions to be taken in the event of a missed dose.
- Precautions and relevant warnings provided by a drug’s manufacturer, including common severe adverse effects of a drug.
- If requested, a veterinarian shall provide drug documentation, if available.
The change to California’s Business and Professions Code came about from the unfortunate death of a Yorkshire terrier named Lizzie.
In 2015, Solomon Stupp took his beloved pet Lizzie to a veterinarian, who gave Lizzie a shot of a long-acting antibiotic for an infection (much like hundreds of pets across the U.S. receive every day). The problem was, Lizzie had kidney disease. Due to the long-duration nature of the antibiotic, Lizzie suffered irreversible complications and died.
In an interview with the Marin Independent Journal, Stupp said that he was not informed until later that the drug should not be given to dogs with kidney disease.
His experience spurred him to form The Lizzie Initiative for Pet Protection to advocate for the legal requirement of veterinarians to consistently provide their clients with information about medications, including:
- potential risks
- side effects
- drug interactions
In 2016, Stupp testified at the California Veterinary Medical Board’s Sunset Review Oversight Hearing, and in September 2018, the Lizzie-inspired addition of Section 4829.5 to the Business and Professions Code was signed into law, referred to as Lizzie’s Law.
While veterinarians certainly understand the protective nature of Lizzie’s Law, the concern by veterinarians is that verbal explanations will add 2-12 minutes to each pet appointment. Added to this, veterinary teams will spend more time updating patient records if a consultation is provided or declined, and clinics must provide a paper copy of the consultation information if clients ask for it.
Why More Veterinarians Are Turning to ClientEd
To solve the issue of meeting pet medication compliance law and saving time, more veterinarians are now turning to ClientEd, LifeLearn’s one-of-a-kind online client education library.
ClientEd is a unique pet health education library designed to strengthen the veterinary team’s role as effective animal health educators and encourage client compliance through easy-to-understand information. Written and reviewed by animal health and communication experts, ClientEd contains more than 2,100 handouts that cover a wide range of pet health topics and species.
To help practices in states like California comply with consultation requirements as mandated by Lizzie’s Law, ClientEd has over 230 medication handouts.
LifeLearn’s animal health experts use a variety of sources for their pet medication articles, including Saunders Handbook of Veterinary Drugs and Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs, among others.
Unlike a lot of veterinary handouts that can cause confusion for pet owners with information that’s too long and technical, ClientEd articles are written in plain language, making them easily understood by pet owners. ClientEd also integrates easily with most practice management systems or can be used on its own. So, you can access articles from your existing software and place them right into the hands of pet owners either pre- or post-appointment.
The ClientEd free trial includes our COVID-19 handouts, because making sure all pet owners have the right information—regardless of the topic—is something we’re committed to.