Under Senate Bill S1289B (a.k.a. Buoy’s Law), New York State veterinarians will soon be required to provide pet medication information to pet owners when initially prescribing or dispensing a drug to a dog, cat, or rabbit for use outside the clinic. Named after Buoy, a Labrador retriever who died of renal failure after being prescribed a painkiller, Buoy’s Law is set to come into effect June 15, 2024, and as veterinarians wonder what this may mean for their practice, the indicators are that the future of pet medication compliance means preparing for it.

What Provision of Medication Information Specifically Means

Pet medication information laws require veterinarians to meet specific criteria when initially prescribing or dispensing a drug for use in an outpatient setting, and the way the laws are shaping up, the criteria will likely be similar in states where such information laws appear next.

For example, under Buoy’s Law, New York State veterinarians will be required to provide a pet owner (or their agent) with a variety of information, including directions for a drug’s use, storage instructions, and drug information provided verbally, in writing, or electronically.

California veterinarians must provide the same. Under Section 4829.5 of the Business and Professions Code (a.k.a. Lizzie’s Law), California veterinarians must meet similar consultation requirements to that which New York State veterinarians will soon have to meet. In fact, the circumstances that led to Lizzie’s Law were similar to those behind Buoy’s Law. Lizzie’s Law was sparked by the death of a Yorkshire terrier named Lizzie, who died as the result of complications from renal failure.

Both Laws Are Indicators of Where the Legislative Winds Are Blowing

Currently, Buoy’s Law and Lizzie’s Law are the only two laws requiring U.S. veterinarians to formally provide pet owners with pet medication information as part of consultation requirements. Yet both laws are indicators of where the legislative winds are blowing and the possibility that veterinarians in other states may soon see laws similar to Buoy’s Law and Lizzie’s Law. 

On its website, for example, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) writes, “There has been a strong push from legislators over many years to have some legislation in place that gives pet owners a right to be informed about medications that are known to occasionally result in serious harm.”

In addition to this, pet owners want practices to provide pet medication information.

On the public Facebook page Support Buoy’s Law, for example, one woman writes, “If only EVERY state had this,” and expresses her feeling that veterinarians shouldn’t require a law to provide pet medication information.” Echoing this, another woman writes, “Hopefully, Buoy’s Law will be enacted federally.”

In other words, irrespective of whether veterinarians are legally required to provide pet medication information, pet owners—the drivers behind these laws—want such information, which fundamentally benefits everyone.

As practices know, pet owners are key members of a pet’s health support team. As such, they want to make informed decisions about pet medications. They want tools to help them confidently follow through with medications and monitor for possible side effects, and client education information about pet medications provides all this. Plus, in an increasingly competitive veterinary market, pet medication information provided by practices builds pet owner trust, strengthens client retention, and helps protect practices from certain liabilities (as acknowledged by the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine).

The Issue for Practices Is Time

While veterinarians understand the benefits of providing pet medication information regardless of existing laws or those coming into effect, veterinarians are also understandably concerned about time burdens. In addition to time added to appointments with verbal explanations and updating patient records, veterinary teams will also have to spend time either researching or developing their own client education resources.

For this reason, more clinics are now turning to client education resources like ClientEd by LifeLearn Animal Health.

Backed by 30 years of specific experience in client education, ClientEd provides practices with instant online access to more than 2,100 trusted pet health handouts covering a wide range of topics and species, all written and reviewed by animal health and communication experts. This helps practices in California and New York save time complying with mandated consultation requirements, helps practices proactively prepare for similar legislation if (or when) it arrives, and empowers pet owners with the information they want and need.

This includes over 290 pet medication handouts (including possible drug side effects and drug interactions) using a variety of veterinary drug formularies and other reference material.

Plus, all ClientEd handouts are easily shareable in print or electronic form, written in jargon-free language to improve pet owner understanding and compliance and include images and illustrations to further support client education.

Client Education Resources Are Ideally Pet Owner-Facing Resources

Whichever client education resource you choose, flexibility and integration are important considerations in that (as previously mentioned) pet owners are a pivotal part of a pet’s healthcare support team.

ClientEd, for example, integrates with most practice management systems or can be used via its online portal. In each case, ClientEd is a practice-facing resource, which is great. Yet client education also involves contingencies like making sure clients can get the information they need if they forgot to ask a question during an appointment. That’s why ClientEd also integrates with WebDVM custom veterinary websites.

When you provide ClientEd as a pet owner-facing resource through WebDVM, clients have easy access to client education information whenever they need it, and to make the most of ClientEd, you need to tell pet owners about it. Using social media management, for example, maintains regular messaging to cut through cluttered newsfeeds while saving practices time.

Optimal pet health is ideally supported by solutions that equally help practices save time and breathe easier, which is why over 4,000 veterinary practices across North America trust LifeLearn Animal Health.

Stay compliant with Buoy’s Law, and request a free consultation today