There are thousands of online veterinary pharmacies constantly advertising to pet owners. They frequently say “free shipping,” “no prescription required,” or “the same medication your veterinarian sells only cheaper.” These comments can sound very appealing to the consumer but there is a lot the pharmacies aren’t telling you.
Many of these pharmacies have no regulatory body overseeing them; therefore, heartworm and flea preventatives refuse to sell these products to some online pharmacies so they are forced to obtain them through alternate sources. This means these products may have come from a foreign country, may be expired, may not have been handled and stored properly, or may not contain the active ingredient at all. Drug companies have filed lawsuits against these pharmacies for misleading consumers.
The drug companies offer guarantees of efficacy & safety for their products and will often provide financial assistance if diagnostics or treatment are needed due to an adverse reaction to a medication. However, if you purchase products from an online pharmacy not supported by your veterinarian you will be “on your own” and will lose all support from the drug manufacturer. For example, if you consistently use heartworm prevention for your dog and do annual heartworm testing, the makers of the prevention will pay for heartworm treatment if your dog were to become positive, which is costly. These policies extend to other commonly prescribed products such as arthritis medications and flea preventatives.
Your veterinarian is the most trusted source for all information about your pet’s health. Please speak with our doctors and staff about any concerns or questions you may have. We feel it is our responsibility to protect our patients and their owners.
Sincerely, Herbst Veterinary Hospital