Veterinarians in Utah, Washington state warned about 'doggy doctor shopping'

Two recent "doggy doctor shopping" incidents, one in Washington state and one in Utah, are forcing veterinarians to be even more vigilant when dispensing prescription drugs.

Animal hospitals targeted in Utah

The first incident occurred in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, when local veterinarian Jolie Pope, DVM, alerted police that a man was apparently using his dog to obtain prescription drugs for his own use.

The man allegedly admitted to the crime during police questioning, reported.

Pope told the news that one day after she prescribed tramadol for the man's dog on Jan. 23, he called the clinic and said he had lost the prescription. Even though she was slightly suspicious, she said she refilled the prescription.

A veterinary technician later followed up with the man to check on the dog, and the man reportedly said he would need more tramadol even though he should have had two weeks of medication remaining on the prescription.

The veterinarian alerted police about her suspicions and was told to call them again if he came back to the hospital, which he did soon after. The clinic again called police and the man was arrested for suspicion of prescription fraud.

"This is the first case of the 'doggy doctor shopping' we've run into," Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Corbett Ford told the news. "He actually admitted this has been going on since July. And he had gone to about six vet clinics that we're aware of."

Similar crime in Washington state

The Washington State Veterinary Medical Association (WSVMA) reported a similar crime in the Spokane area, only the suspect has not been caught.

According to the WSVMA, police records show that a man has recently visited several veterinary hospitals and requested a one-month supply of tramadol for his dog. He sometimes brings in an old German shepherd or Labrador retriever without records during these visits.

Police do not yet have a physical description of the man. The WSVMA is encouraging clinics who think they may have been targeted to contact the local police.