Over the past month, 93% of representatives of Russian veterinary clinics reported a shortage of drugs. The Invitro survey, which involved more than 100 veterinary clinics in the country, showed that today there is a shortage of vaccines, drugs for general anesthesia, antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs.
Problems in veterinary medicine did not start today. As you know, the supply of medicinal and conventional animal feed purchased in the USA, Spain, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Canada, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland was suspended in March 2021 due to the presence of GMOs in them. Worst of all had animals that were on medicinal or special premium feeds. The remaining feed has risen in price several times. Thus, the price of a package of cat food for animals with thyroid diseases exceeded 3,500 rubles per 1.5 kg. "1st Choice" for castrated cats for 2.7 kg now costs 3.5 thousand rubles instead of 1800. As for dogs, it's still more expensive here. Canadian food "GO!" for dogs with duck and oatmeal for 5.5 kg, it used to cost 3 thousand rubles, now its price starts from 6 thousand rubles.
“Today, these restrictions have been supplemented by difficulties with logistics. Pet stores report that suppliers have raised the prices of approved foods seriously because of the rising dollar. So far, the rise in prices for consumers has been kept in the region of 10%, but if the situation does not change, the price of feed will rise by a third”, - says Tatyana Kolchanova, general director of the Union of Pet Business Enterprises.
In fact, buyers state that feed prices have risen not by a third, but by 20-30%, or even all 50%. “Medicated foods have disappeared and are unlikely to appear in the foreseeable future. Foreign companies have stopped interacting with us. Those who really need it order medicated food through other countries, but all this is already at a completely different price”, - Alina Senyukhina, volunteer of the Feed project of the Urban Animal Protection Fund, told NI.
We asked veterinary clinics how they now give recommendations on medicated feed. “In principle, it is still possible to find a Russian replacement for conventional imported feed. But here the medical lines disappear completely. You can not find food for animals with kidney failure, allergies and digestive problems now, these therapeutic lines are completely gone. We recommend switching to natural foods or we advise you to cook them yourself," the Movet veterinary clinic explained to us.
“Therapeutic food for animals now, if there is one, is at the price of an airplane”, - Svetlana Dunayevskaya, head of the “Feed” project of the Urban Animal Protection Fund, says to NI. "In principle, for street animals, all this is not important. But I myself have several cats at home, and I don’t know what will happen to them. There are, of course, Russian-made medicinal feeds, but they cannot be compared with imported ones. The situation is worrisome. Foreign feeds are leaving the market, the supply of vital medicinal feeds for animals may at some point completely run out”, - Svetlana Dunaevskaya told NI.
But if pets still have any chance, animals in shelters have less and less chance. In one of the city shelters in Moscow, they commented on the situation to us as follows: “Although the shelter is state-owned, we exist mainly on donations and donations. State food is purchased for dogs, cats are mainly donated by various funds. But now the flow of good feed has noticeably decreased. Bring only for sterilized animals. Volunteers buy food for sick animals at their own expense. Now we really need moist good food for sick animals, without them many will simply die”.
The most dramatic thing in this story is the treatment of animals. As we know, prices for operations in veterinary clinics have increased. Even in social and urban veterinary clinics, prices have risen by at least a thousand rubles. In private clinics, the price increase is even higher. Problems with equipment. It's no secret that X-ray machines, MRI and ultrasound equipment, chips are all foreign. If all this becomes unusable, where to buy a new one is not clear.
“There was information that there is a shortage of anesthesia in veterinary clinics, and the cost of operations has risen. From our shelter there is some kind of city veterinary center, but we mainly take sick animals to familiar veterinarians and treat them at our own expense. Imported medicines are disappearing, not everyone has Russian analogues. The antibiotic Synulox, for example, has disappeared; it is not clear what to replace it with. There have been no medications for allergies for several weeks now. We are massively vaccinated against rabies with Russian vaccines. We usually do re-vaccination with imported vaccines, but we can’t even imagine what to do now, ”we were told in one of the Moscow city shelters.
Many pet owners on social networks began to share news about the purchase of medicated pet food and medicine through intermediaries and dealers. It looks like a real “black market” of veterinary medicine is gradually emerging in the country.
“In Russia, as you know, you can buy everything. If painkillers and anesthesia are needed, I order through resellers and speculators. There are veterinarians who, through intermediaries, purchase the necessary medicines in other countries, this channel also exists, but the prices, of course, are sky-high. As far as I know, veterinarians I know go to neighboring countries for anesthesia”, - said Svetlana Dunayevskaya, head of the “Feed” project of the Urban Animal Welfare Foundation.
We decided to ask the veterinarians directly what drugs they currently lack and how these problems are being solved.
“To a greater extent, the current situation relates to the vaccines that we routinely use for the annual preventive vaccination of dogs and cats. However, among domestic vaccines there are good analogues that are no worse than popular foreign drugs”, - said Olga Mikheyeva, head physician of the Vet Union clinic.
As for the operations, so far they are going according to plan. “In our clinics, operations are not disrupted yet. We have taken care of a sufficient supply of drugs. However, some colleagues may have experienced a temporary shortage of drugs due to logistical problems with suppliers. At the moment, according to the data we have from suppliers, the supply of drugs should not stop, but logistics has become more complicated and expensive, and this cannot but affect the final increase in prices for clinic services,” Olga Mikheeva explained.
The problem is that there is a rather large list of unique veterinary drugs that are produced only in Europe or the USA. Their absence or several times higher prices will negatively affect the quality of life of many animals, including those suffering from chronic diseases. “We are talking about drugs for pathologies of the cardiovascular system, autoimmune diseases, diseases of the nervous system. Even if deliveries continue, the increase in purchase prices may make veterinary clinic services unaffordable for some of our citizens. There may be a problem with anesthesia: the most common gas for anesthesia and breathing apparatus is imported, we still do not have domestic analogues that are safe and well tolerated by animals. It is possible to find imported gas, but its cost has already doubled. The good news is that now the supplier has imported gas in stock”, - Olga Mikheyeva, head physician of the Vet Union clinic, explained to NI.
What will happen to the animals next? After all, caring for them has become almost unbearable, especially in times of crisis. Probably, many will now sell or, in the worst case, throw animals into the street. Shelters can't handle all pets anymore. As for breeders, animals may be sold or sterilized. Since holding international shows is now impossible, the issue of pedigrees will most likely come to naught. Exchange with foreign owners for crossbreeding is also now unrealistic. So breeders are advised to purchase thoroughbred pets right now.
But the main thing is how to treat animals? According to veterinarians, the underlying problem is that drugs are not allowed to be used in Russia if they are not registered in the register for veterinary use.
“We believe that this is a legal conflict that needs to be resolved. In reality, in practice, veterinarians are forced to use drugs from the register of medical drugs, since there are very few registered veterinary drugs - 2 thousand items against 18 thousand in the register of medical drugs. At the same time, 75% of drugs in the veterinary registry relate to the treatment of farm animals and are not suitable for the treatment of companion animals - dogs, cats and other pets. Most of the diseases of companion animals cannot currently be cured if only veterinary drugs from the relevant registry are used”, - explained Olga Ovsyannikova, General Director of Vet Union. “My industry colleagues and I turned to the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Duma, the Public Chamber for help, and we look forward to solving the problem”.
Apparently, the appeals of veterinarians reached the corridors of power: on April 20, the State Duma at a plenary session adopted in the first reading a bill to simplify the procedure for using drugs for people in the treatment of animals.
It is also consoling that the government has finally thought about curbing the prices of animal feed: the head of the Duma Committee on Information Policy, Alexander Khinshtein, said that the amendments to the legislation are ready. In addition to food and medicine, the list of goods should also include pet products. And the deputy head of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Vladimir Burmatov, turned to the Prosecutor General of Russia and the head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service with a request to check the validity of the increase in prices for pet food and veterinary drugs. There is also information from the Rosselkhoznadzor: they promised to act as an intermediary between Russian pet stores and Korean and Chinese feed manufacturers in order to make up for the shortage.
It is still difficult to guess how much all these measures will help. But now we cannot do without radical changes and state intervention. After all, according to the words of the outstanding scientist, the founder of veterinary surgery Sergey Stepanovich Yevseyenko, "human medicine saves a person, veterinary medicine saves humanity".