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Online Pet Meds: Good Choice or Bad Decision

A few days back I posted an article, Leashing In Those Huge Vet Bills, which had tips on ways to save money on the medical...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Jul 24th 2008


A few days back I posted an article, Leashing In Those Huge Vet Bills, which had tips on ways to save money on the medical costs associated with keeping our pets healthy. While most of the comments were regarding the pros and cons of pet insurance, I received a comment on ordering pet medications online that I thought deserved a special posting. The following is the message I received:

Bad Dogster, Bad!

What am I talking about? The recent Blog entry about “Leashing In Vet Bills”, one suggestion was to go online to get medications. SHAME! I work for a vet (and a life long friend) and we are trying to combat this because those places (1-800-Pet-Meds especially) are DANGEROUS! They are unregulated and no one really checks to see if your pet needs to be on “that” medicine for long-term or short-term.

We are dealing with a case now that a vet, different from the one I work for, prescribed a medicine for 10 DAYS, the owner thought “well, since it’s helping Fluffy I’m going to get it thru one of the on-line places”, and didn’t inform us of this, she came to us with “Fluffy” several months later complaining that “Fluffy”was getting worse. “Fluffy” died! Why? It was because of the meds! They did more harm than good and NOBODY AT THE ON-LINE PLACE CHECKED TO SEE IF SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THEM!!!!!!

Now, not only are we dealing with “Fluffy’s” owner’s grief, but the anger at the companies that are not regulated. NEVER, NEVER tell anyone to get their meds from an on-line place, and yes, even the flea & tick products are not safe! Yes, they may say “NAME BRAND, WELL KNOWN”, but they are usually old, out of date (which is covered up), not inventoried by the vet system so they too are not regulated!

I feel everyone needs to know about this and they need to get their meds from their vet.

This certainly serves as a cautionary tale for those purchasing, or looking to purchase, meds online.

I came across what I believe to be a well balanced article on the online pet medication industry identifying the pros and cons of online ordering. I urge you to give it a read as it has some very good information. Here’s an interesting excerpt, and alluded to by the anonymous commenter:

Some online pet pharmacies are more reliable than others. Some may sell foreign or counterfeit products. Items like flea and heartworm preventatives seem to be more common targets for this problem. Luckily this isn’t too widespread anymore, but it does still happen. On more than one occasion we’ve had a client complain about a flea product that didn’t work, and when they show us the package, it was a counterfeit.

I do want to take this opportunity to say that when I post a story, it is to bring information to you. As with anything, it is still up to the reader to do their due diligence in making a decision about the information. This is especially true when the decision directly impacts the well-being of our beloved friends.

I am not for or against ordering pet medications online, but I am for making informed decisions.