The Vet or Online:  The Best Place to Buy Pet Prescriptions

These days, discount prescription pet medicines are widely available online. Many people choose to purchase prescriptions this way instead of referring to their veterinarians. However, there are many risks involved when buying medication online. Pet owners should be aware of what is at stake before they make the choice between online discount drugs and their veterinarian.  The FDA has published it’s own concerns,  everything from outdated and unapproved drugs to counterfeit products.    The FDA has recently released a report stating that over 97% of the online pharmacies are out of compliance or are not following industry standards.

Veterinarians Offer Better Customer Service

Your local veterinarian can provide immediate access to your prescriptions and avoid the wasted time and fuel to try to fill your prescriptions elsewhere. When pet owners purchase prescriptions from their veterinarian, they have the benefit of asking questions about drug interactions and knowing exactly what to expect.  Often times, the most valuable asset your veterinarian can provide is their expertise in knowing what is most likely to work successfully in your pet. Your local veterinarian can sell you the exact number of product you prefer, instead of having to purchase a prepackaged amount which may not meet your needs or may be expired by the time you choose to use the product.  It is also important to know that many of the manufacturers will not stand behind products if purchased through an online distributor, since these are often purchased through 3rd parties and cannot be authenticated.  Your veterinarian can stand behind the medications they sell and the guarantees that are offered by the manufacturer!

Many Medications are Temperature Sensitive

Some prescriptions, especially vaccines need to be kept at precise temperatures, while others can’t tolerate too cold temperatures. Online retailers have little control that medications are kept at the proper temperature throughout the shipping process and do you really want to trust the local high school student, at your local feed store, to ensure proper handling of your pet’s vaccines . Since this is often difficult or impossible to achieve, pet owners have no guarantee that the medicine will still be effective by the time they receive it and certainly at Petplex Animal Hospital, we see pets with preventable diseases, that need expensive treatment because of ineffective vaccines. When medicines are purchased from a local veterinarian, pet owners can trust that it has been handled properly because their reputation depends on it.

Not All Prescription Retailers are Reputable

While it is true that some discount prescription retailers are legitimate, more and more fraudulent companies, outside the United States, are preying on pet owners looking for a bargain. The most common scams involve selling counterfeit drugs and expired drugs. Sometimes these companies will also sell drugs that haven’t been approved, or they will make wild claims about conditions a particular drug can treat. Pet owners often mistakenly think they are getting a great deal, when in reality, they could actually be putting their pet’s life at risk.


This is often what drives our decisions and so often we expect to be able to get comparable products from any source.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.  It is important to remember that since many of these products like heartworm and flea preventatives are only sold through veterinarians by the manufacturer, online pharmacies would typically have increased costs with these products, since they often purchase these products through 3rd parties.  (3rd parties which cannot always be verified.)  Online pharmacies and local retailers are also not included in rebates and free product giveaways offered only through your veterinarian.  It is amazing how often clients end up paying more for these products because they don’t inquire about the offers available through their local veterinarian.


It is important to remember that the most expensive medication in the world is the one that doesn’t work!