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New York veterinarians will have to disclose potential risks of pets' medications thanks to Long Island woman's decade-long fight

New York vets have to disclose risks of pets' meds under new law
New York vets have to disclose risks of pets' meds under new law 02:20

SEAFORD, N.Y. -- New York pet owners have new protections thanks to a Long Island woman's decade-long fight.

Veterinarians will soon have to disclose potential risks of prescription medicines.

"We never wanted to see another family suffer the way that we did," said Mary Kate Tischler, of Seaford.

It's a bittersweet "mission accomplished" for her, 10 years after her beloved 3-year-old Labrador named Buoy died following knee surgery.

"They gave us a drug called Rimadyl and gave us no warnings whatsoever ... It's a painkiller to help him with the post-surgical pain," Tischler said.

Buoy became violently ill and suffered kidney failure. After six weeks on kidney dialysis, he had to be put down.

"I wouldn't have taken the risk that he was going to die from a painkiller, and it turned out that this particular painkiller was well-known to cause significant damage in yellow labs," Tischler said.

Tischler set out to change the law.

"He or she needs to tell you what the common risks and side effects are of that drug ... which is such common sense. It's done with humans," she said.

For years, New York veterinarians opposed Buoy's Law, requiring vets to share with pet owners all potential risks in writing.

The bill was amended so vets must inform the owner of "common, reasonably anticipated adverse effects" of medications. Opposition was withdrawn, and Buoy's Law was signed in December.

Among the advocates is a veterinary school dean who says there is always the potential for bad reactions from medicine. It's an essential conversation for a vet to have with pet owners.

"It's important that we address pain control in animals, so we're not saying you shouldn't use these drugs, we just say you have to use them very judiciously," said Dr. John Tegzes, interim dean at Western University of Health Sciences.

Now, it was finally time for Tischler to lay Buoy to rest.

"I waited ten years to bury him because I felt like there was unfinished work to be done ... He can rest in peace," she said.

Animal painkillers have treated millions without adverse reactions, and now, thanks to Buoy, pet parents will now be made aware of the risks.

The law takes effect in June. The only other similar law in the country is in California.

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