Purchasing On Line Pet Medications…..What IS Safe?

In the previous post we discussed the concerns that the veterinary community voices when it comes to on line purchasing of pet medications. It was also mentioned that in order to cut costs clients will continue to buy on line in spite of the risks associated with medications that have not been acquired directly from the manufacturer. So what is safe to purchase from internet suppliers?

As a veterinarian I shudder when I think of clients purchasing medications such as thyroid supplementation or prescriptions to treat Addison’s Disease from a source that can not easily be traced. Such is the case when many medications are purchased over the internet. What does this mean? In the event of a drug being tainted or contaminated it may be impossible for the original manufacturer to issue a recall to the end user. In the best case scenario the drug in question is insufficiently effective for the disease for which i is targeted. However if the substance is contaminated as was the case in the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_Compounding_Center_meningitis_outbreak it could be virtually impossible to find all at risk patients. Several years ago many feline patients died from premature kidney disease from tainted food. The sole reason there were not many more deaths was the ability to track where the foods were distributed and what pets were at risk. We still see fallout from that event.

So what is the answer? There appears to be less risk with nutritional supplements, vitamins and insecticides such as Frontline and Advantage. But when it comes to prescription medications, special diets, and heartworm preventatives BUYER BEWARE!! Saving a few dollars may seriously be putting your pet at risk. Skipping one latte a week is a much safer way to conserve dollars without any inherent risk…..unless you consider owner crankiness on that day. My solution….skip the latte on a day when you sleep in. 🙂 Get the critical medications from your local vet