Nova Scotia

N.S. pets could be affected by Canada drug shortage

An injectable painkiller and anesthetic shortage nationwide is not only affecting people, but could soon affect pets in Nova Scotia.
Because of a nationwide shortage, drugs are being rationed for humans, and pets could be affected. (CBC)

An injectable painkiller and anesthetic shortage nationwide is not only affecting people, but could soon affect pets in Nova Scotia.

The drugs manufactured by Sandoz Canada are being rationed because the company cut production to meet safety standards and deal with a recent fire.

In some cases, animals and humans use the same medications, so while there's a shortage — it affects hospitals of all kinds.

Many of the drugs are being reserved for human use.

"Narcotics, tranquilizers, some of the antihistamines, there's a wide range of products that are affected," said Ian McKay, a veterinarian at the Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital.

The Dartmouth clinic has a stockpile and isn't in danger of running out of supplies immediately, McKay said. But it's counting on at least a four-month delay before it can replace what they use.

"What they had on hand, once that was gone, it's gone. So what we've been able to get to keep on hand is at the moment, we can't replace," McKay said.

To handle the shortage, the clinic can substitute other drugs.

"This is something that we really are concerned about that we have to look ahead and see if we can get alternate sources for some of the drugs, see if we can get some of them compounded."

The drug shortage has been frustrating, says veterinarian Frank Woodbury.

At the Woodbury Animal Hospital, veterinarian Frank Woodbury has also been looking for substitutes.

"It's frustrating for us. That's the problem. We'd love to be able to just continue using the drugs that we're just so used to using," Woodbury said.

He doesn't know yet whether these substitutions will cost more. Sometimes the substitutions are quite simple.

"The local anesthetics have not been impacted, so we should be able to use local anesthetics in certain cases to control pain," Woodbury said.

The Quebec drug plant said the upgrades could take up to 18 months.

 

 

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