The vet’s office: Buyer beware
Shopping online for veterinary products
By Dr. Roger Krogstad, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
We are by nature always looking for a good deal or bargain. As the old saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Sometimes, though, what we order online may not be the same as the original authentic product.
Beware when going online to buy preventatives for heartworm or flea and tick medications. Some of these products, though labeled as the real thing, may be black market knockoffs of questionable potency and effectiveness. Some may require a prescription from your veterinarian to order. This prescription, however, does not guarantee the effectiveness of the medication.
Once the pet’s medical record is reviewed and necessary annual testing is confirmed, a signed release form may be requested by your veterinarian. This form not only informs clients of the risk of online medical shopping but releases the veterinarian from liability issues with the quality of the medication.
Legitimate protection, temperature-controlled storage, and prompt shipping are all assumed when you place your order. If purchased from your veterinarian, these variables are guaranteed and not just assumed.
When we compare our prices upon receiving an online request, we often find only a few dollars separate the clinic price from the mail order price. What pet owners do not realize is often veterinarians will have company promotions — for example buy six and get two free — to make the cost even less than the online store. There is also additional value with the manufacturer’s guarantee, which is only valid when products are purchased directly from a veterinary clinic. Most product manufacturers will provide treatment at no cost to you if your pet becomes infected or ill while using these preventatives.
To address the online purchasing trend, some veterinary practices now offer professionally sponsored online stores such as Vets First Choice. Here medication prices are usually less than clinic supplies, yet the manufacturer’s guarantee is valid, and the quality of product is confirmed.
One final important plus for buying locally is the training and knowledge of the doctors and staff should issues arise or if you are wondering about the best products and how to use them. Newer, more effective products are often available from your veterinarian weeks or months before being available online. We are here to help you with your questions and know how our products can help your pets be safe.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.