Where do you get your petís medications? Sleuth knows that there are good deals out there, but his friends at the Veterinary News Network think that your veterinarian is probably the best option for safe, effective and reputable pet meds.
1) Pet owners are busy and budget-conscious, just like everyone else. Thatís why online pet pharmacies seem to be so popular. However, pet owners should be aware of the pitfalls and concerns of using an online store for your petís medication needs.
2) First, a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) needs to be established. This means your veterinarian needs to see your pet at least once a year in order to dispense medications.
3) If the online store offers to send you drugs without a prescription, stay away! This is a big red flag warning that the site is probably not reputable.
4) Likewise, having a current VCPR means that you and your veterinarian are in good communication and up-to-date on your petís healthcare needs. An Internet pharmacy may not know all the important details of your petís lifestyle and health.
5) Some pets donít react to the same drugs in the same way. Your veterinarian is only a phone call away and more likely to provide immediate assistance than a distant website.
6) In fact, some web pharmacies donít even list a phone number for contact, only email. This is another red flag that the site isnít concerned about your pet.
7) Your veterinarian and veterinary team know you and your whole pet family. They can help guide you towards safe and effective medications with everyoneís best interest in mind.
8) In fact, many veterinarians now offer their very own online pharmacies. These are great places to get affordable pet medications from a source you know and trust.
9) If you have questions about your petís medication costs, ask your veterinarian. Open and honest communication is the best key for avoiding misunderstandings about money.
10) For more trustworthy and accurate pet health information, visit www.MyVNN.com or www.PetDocsOnCall.com .
Online Pet Pharmacies Ė Saving Money or Risk to Your Pets?
Their ads promise to save you lots of money and even ďa stressful trip to the veterinarianĒ. You are encouraged by slick video and professional announcers to purchase flea medications, pain relief drugs and even heartworm prevention all from the comfort of your living room and laptop computer. But, are online pet pharmacies really the best option for you or are there hidden dangers?
By: Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
With record numbers of families enjoying the benefits of pet ownership and online shopping, it should come as no surprise that the amount of money spent on our pets is huge. Experts are forecasting that pet owners will spend more than $50 billion dollars annually. A significant percentage of those expenses include veterinary care and prescription medications. So, is it any wonder that buying your prescription medications online may also look like a good deal?
At first glance, online pet pharmacies would seem to be a great option. The promise of lower prices and having the medication shipped to your door is a big selling point for busy, budget conscious people. But, there are some pitfalls when relying on Internet based sources for your petís medication needs.
First, they all say you can ďsave a trip to the vetĒ. Unfortunately, this is only partially true. In order to prescribe and dispense medication to your pet, most states require that there is a valid veterinarian-client-pet relationship or VCPR. This is usually defined as a veterinarian having examined your pet within the last 12 months. If the VCPR does not exist, medication cannot be dispensed.
Some websites will offer to sell the drugs without a prescription. This is not only illegal but not in the best interest of your pet! Websites that sell without needing prescriptions are most often based outside of North America, where pharmacy and drug laws may not be as strict.
The requirement for this professional relationship insures that you and your veterinarian have good, up to date facts about your petís health. Plus the medical records and history for your pet are all in one place. The veterinary staff also knows your whole pet family and can help prevent problems when there are multiple species present in the household.
Since pets are unique individuals, some may have unexpected reactions to certain drugs and some medications can even be deadly if given incorrectly. Others may need a special formulation for ease of administration. The online pharmacies will not know this information and this could be a problem if your pet is on several medications or has secondary conditions.
If a life-threatening emergency happens with a medication, your veterinarian is only a phone call away. Some online pharmacies only allow contact through email and this will not help you if your pet needs assistance immediately!
Finally, despite many good businesses online, there will always be a few who are looking for a quick buck at your expense. Avoid sites that offer dramatically lower prices than competing sites or your veterinarian. Likewise, if you have ordered medication online, check the drug to make sure it looks similar to what you have given before. If it looks different in any way, do not give it to your pet.
The FDA is so concerned about this, it is now warning pet owners to be aware of shady online companies. And, the National Board of Pharmacies has instituted the Veterinary Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program (Vet-VIPPS) to help you find properly licensed and compliant online pet pharmacies. Only twelve companies so far have earned the right to display the Vet-VIPPS seal of approval.
Check with your veterinarian about online pharmacies. Many veterinary hospitals now offer their very own store on their websites. You can order your petís medications conveniently from home, possibly even get home delivery and you know that the source is reputable. In addition, you will know who you are talking to in case of any problems or concerns. Honest and open communication with your veterinarian about cost concerns will prevent misunderstandings about money and help you do whatís best for your pet.