dr. paige wallace doing a recheck on a dog

Checking Off the Recheck: When & Why Rechecks are Important

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One of the most common messages I find on my board is that an owner wants a refill of a medication. Slightly less frequently, it’ll have written underneath that the owner does not want to come in for a recheck.”Why do I need a recheck? Why can’t they just send me more medications? It’s just the same old thing flaring up again, and this med worked last time.”

Well…from a vet’s perspective, here’s what I’m thinking: “How long ago was that? Did it actually work last time — would you be here if it had? Is it getting worse, or is something else going on here? Is that medication harmful? Are we creating resistance? When did we last check your pet’s organ function?” Here are two factors that determine whether or not a recheck for your pet is necessary because there’s often more to consider than just refilling a prescription.


In order to prescribe for your pet, I have to have what’s called a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (vcpr). I have to have seen them within the last calendar year and know them well enough to diagnose and treat them credibly. So if I haven’t seen you in 15 months, I’m not able to refill anything. Also, that far out is not a recheck; that’s a yearly exam. If I haven’t seen them for the issue you’re concerned about, then I’m not just going to send home medications. Why? Some of the medications we use are dangerous and need to be used carefully. Sometimes that eye issue is actually a nerve problem in the neck. Maybe that ear infection won’t resolve because the eardrum is ruptured. It’s my job to ask and address those questions, and I need to examine your pet to provide those answers.  

Ongoing or More Complicated Issues

Suppose I saw your pet two weeks ago for an infection, limp, cough, etc. Perhaps the medication I prescribed helped a little, but the problem is not completely better. Maybe as soon as you stopped the medication the issue came right back, or now it’s a bit different….did the medication actually work? Refilling the same prescription may not be appropriate, or it may actually make things worse. Infections can be resistant to antibiotics, inflammation can look like infection (but doesn’t need antibiotics), fractures are sometimes not evident day 1 or ligament issues become more obvious with time, and kennel cough can cause pneumonia. It’s not about being a barrier to getting your pet medications; it’s about trying to properly diagnose and treat your animal.  

Plenty of the medications we use every day are harmful to animals. They may need to be adjusted or switched over time to protect your pet. NSAIDs, in particular, are hard on your pet’s stomach lining, liver, and kidneys. Maybe it’s time to switch or add another medication, so we don’t need to rely as heavily on the anti-inflammatories. There are other ways to address pain, sometimes without medication altogether, or with natural supplements. If I have your animal on medication long-term, there are very few situations that I’m not going to want to check up on them at regular intervals to evaluate blood work or how that medication may be working or affecting their body. 

Book a Recheck for Your Pet in Advance

Currently, most vets in the valley, the area, and the state are booked way too far out on appointments. So ask if your pet will need a recheck when you’re in for their initial exam or procedure. We can discuss the importance of a recheck for your pet then and be sure to get you booked so you don’t have to scramble last minute or default to a walk-in.

If it’s an issue we started treating, we will know if we need to follow up or what criteria would qualify for a recheck. We leave appointments available for rechecks because they are necessary. When we’ve started a case, we want to see it through to ensure the animal gets better; I may flex more to get that recheck in because I’m invested in the recovery, and I want to make sure your pet does well. That being said, no matter how much I like a client or patient, if I don’t need to see you again, I’ll tell you. We’re too busy to waste your time and money with unnecessary follow-ups.

Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center in Palmer is Alaska’s only comprehensive animal hospital. We are available by appointment, in addition to accepting emergencies and walk-ins. With CT, MRI, and Ultrasound available on-site, our facility provides advanced treatment options for your pet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Sean McPeck

A 2010 Graduate of Colorado State College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Sean McPeck developed his leadership as a Sniper Team Leader and Veterinarian with the US Army Special Operations, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Dr. McPeck has multiple combat deployments, totaling almost 2 years in combat theaters of operation.

He is the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, and is Ranger, Sniper, and Airborne qualified. While serving as an officer in Special Operations, Dr. McPeck was repeatedly recognized for his Honor, Integrity, Courage and Selfless Service in the name of the United States. He was recognized with not one, but two, Meritorious Service Medals.

Under his leadership, Dr. McPeck worked with Working Dog handlers, and canine units, to detain and seize enemy combatants. The canines that Dr. McPeck worked with are credited with savings thousands of United States soldiers deployed in combat areas.

Dr. McPeck authored The RCAP, Ranger Canine Athletic Program, which was the 1st comprehensive Military canine conditioning program.

His specific training and certification classes for Dog handlers to be proficient in Canine Tactical- Combat Casualty Care, and knowledge of current medical equipment and procedures, which led to the successful life saving interventions by handlers in real world operations.

Dr. SaraRose McPeck graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. A Massachusetts native who attended Becker College for her undergrad, Dr. McPeck has lived and worked around the country and even the world. She served four years in the United States Army as a Veterinary Officer, during which she was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, and completed a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.

Her time serving in the Army provided her the experience as the primary veterinarian for over 350 Military Working Dogs, in which she provided all emergency, trauma, surgical, critical, and primary care. In addition to caring for animals, she trained, mentored, and led six Non-Commissioned Officers and twelve junior enlisted Soldiers, giving her not only impressive veterinary experience but also exceptional interpersonal and leadership skills.

As a Veterinary Corp Officer, she received a variety of awards, including a Bronze Star, a NATO Medal, a GWOT Medal, two Army Accommodation Medals, among many others. She gained experiences in which she exemplified impressive leadership skills and the ability to adapt to both clinical and combat support situations. Her years of experience serving our country and in veterinary medicine have equipped her with the knowledge and skills to provide exceptional care to our patients.