I was given an expired medication for my kitty

If I could confirm or not confirm that an error was made, I wouldn’t be here.

As I said, the office is closed until tomorrow.

It actually closed at noon on December 24. I didn’t look at the bottle closely until December 25. Lesson learned to check the meds before I leave the vet office parking lot.

Time line:
12/19: I request refills on 2 medications & food. Tell them I will pick them up on 12/23.
12/21: Office notifies me that the medications are ready for pickup.
12/23: I pick up the medications, but they forgot to include the food and the oral dosing syringes.
12/25: I look at the bottles and discover the expiration date.

@Joanne I know it’s really frustrating to have something that doesn’t look right, especially when you can’t get in touch with the vet (or doctor!) right away to confirm wtf is actually going on. But is there a reason why you’re not willing to consider that the expire date might have just been entered into your vet’s system incorrectly, and that there’s nothing malicious or grossly negligent happening here?

I took a look at the (sadly, many) meds I have around the house. I have several in the original manufacturer’s package, with the addition of the pharmacy label. Here’s what I’ve found:

The manufacturer lists the expire date as MM/YYYY.

The pharmacy doesn’t list the expire date on the label at all, but lists a “use before” date related to the dispense date.

I also have some compounded stuff (from Wedgewood directly) and that lists a manufacture date and a use by date. No expire at all.

With what you’ve shared with us, it seems fairly likely that the expire date from the manufacturer was entered incorrectly into your vet’s system as 12 21 20 instead of 12 2021.

I (kindly, gently) suggest you not worry TOO overly much about this until you can get in touch with your vet’s office to confirm the actual expire date of your kitty’s meds. Best of luck being able to connect with them tomorrow, and I hope it relieves your concerns.


Here is the update.

The vet’s office contacted me this morning. The expiration date of 12/21/2020 was an error according to the vet tech who called me. She offered to give me a new bottle with the correct information on it at no charge, so I said yes.

I just picked up the new bottle with an expiration date of 4/15/2021. The vet tech who brought it out to me has never heard of the office making that mistake. I gave them back the bottle with the expiration date of 12/21/2020.

So you all can say the expiration date should be month/year. Maybe it should be, but that is not what this vet’s office does or the vet’s office up north.

Glad to hear it was just an administrative error.

As a rule there is an expiration date by the drug manufacturer printed on a label which will be month / year format.

A clinic or pharmacy might have a different way of writing down a date and it may come down to a flaw in a computer program that does not accept mm/year as a format. There is little difference between 12/20 and 12/21/20. The OPs issue may simply come down to an understaffed or poorly staffed situation. The OP was wise to call it out as it may be an indication that an employee is undertrained, sloppy or overworked and missing details.

and information given above is false. Expiration dates are set by the drug maker and based on their ability to validate and guarantee potency and safety. You may be able to take a drug beyond the expire date, but the maker cannot guarantee potency , purity or pharmacokinetics and efficacy beyond the label date since there has been no testing and validation.

Why take a medication you cannot rely upon having the efficacy you need.

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No, but there’s a big difference between 12/21 and 12/21/20.

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I have a couple of boxes of Cerenia pills. Original boxes from the Swedish manufacturer Zoetis with medication insert information sheet. Decided to take a look and see what the expiration date is.

The box says: Lot B487102
Exp: 31 Jan 23

I guess some manufacturers do give not only MM/YY but also Day/MM/YY.

The vet’s label on the front of the box also states exp 1/31/23.

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