Are Addicts Abusing Their Pets to Get Pills?

America’s opioid epidemic is affecting the lives of so many people and now it is taking its toll on pets.

Veterinarian Dr. Arvid Edward, star of Amazon’s “Pet Doctors of Atlanta” joins The Doctors to discuss the disturbing reports of pet owners abusing their pets in order to get their hands on the painkiller Tramadol, which they then take themselves.

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Unfortunately, Dr. Edward says this trend is more than just a passing drug fad. “This has been going on for years and it needs to stop… it’s becoming a real problem,” he says, revealing that in his practice he had seen it occur multiple times and he has colleagues that have encountered this horrific act. One instance he dealt with involved an owner asking for Tramadol by name after bringing in her dog for a bruised leg. He says three weeks later the owner brought the dog back with another bruise on the other leg and he became suspicious. When he told her he was going to prescribe something other than Tramadol the woman became upset.

In instances where veterinarians believe pet abuse is occurring, Dr. Edward says that the protocol is to alert police and animal control to intervene.

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Dr. Edward believes that Tramadol should be classified differently, which would make it harder for people to get. He also encourages pet owners to look at natural products like feverfew, Skullcap, St. John's wort and licorice herb to manage pain in pets.

Please check with your veterinarian for opioid-free pain management options for your pets and The Doctors encourage anyone who suspects animal abuse to contact the authorities or your local animal control.