In our 24-7 world of instant gratification sometimes the smallest of tasks can seem burdensome. Online stores offer the convenience of shopping for flea, tick and heartworm medications without leaving the house or changing out of your pjs. But there are other conveniences your veterinarian can offer that online pharmacies can’t contend with.
The advantage of getting preventative medications straight from the hands of your doctor is that your doctor knows you and your pet. If Mr. Puffin’ Stuff suddenly decides he no longer likes the taste of the monthly preventative you purchased, you won’t have to find sneaky ways of making sure he eats it. Since most preventative medicines are individually packaged your local veterinarian will be able to take them back and find something else that’s easier for you to administer. Online stores don’t offer this convenience.
In the same vein when you purchase from an online pharmacy the technicians on the other end of the computer don’t know your pet’s overall state of health. Not only that, but retail pharmacists are not required to be trained in animal pharmacology, which means they may be unable to provide advice regarding side effects or substituting medicines. If your pet has seizures, skin issues, or protein allergies your veterinary medical professionals will know to steer you clear of purchasing certain products or product flavors. If you have a growing dog or cat their weight may change making certain medications ineffective or inappropriate for use in puppies / kittens. Your regular veterinarian can offer you individual monthly treatments for your developing pet.
Additionally, online pharmacies also don’t know the environment that you live in when they recommend flea and tick preventatives. They’re working towards sales goals and product stock movement. You’re neighborhood vet and the technicians that work their actually live in your neighborhood. They know if there’s a tick problem at the local park because they go there too. They’ll know if there’s a high population of feral cats in the area or displaced wild life that are bringing in certain parasites and they’re more in tune with how products are working in these conditions.
Another benefit of patronizing your local veterinarian for preventative medications vs. online pharmacies is that they’re able to stand behind the products in the event they’re ineffective for some reason. Most manufacturers will replace, refund or in some cases pay for treatment in the event that you’ve purchased preventative products from your veterinarian and they failed. However, most guarantees will expressly state that you must have obtained the product from a veterinarian with whom you have a doctor, pet patient relationship with;
“The Plus Guarantee remains in force only when you obtain HEARTGARD Plus from a licensed veterinarian with whom you have a valid doctor-owner-pet relationship. If you are not satisfied with the performance of HEARTGARD Plus against heartworms, hookworms, and/or roundworms, all or a portion of treatment costs may be covered.” –Heartgard Plus guarantee
“If pet owners are not satisfied, they should consult their prescribing veterinarian for appropriate medical advice. The attending veterinarian’s involvement is required to exercise this guarantee. Product must have been purchased through a licensed veterinarian within the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.” –Trifexis guarantee
“An established veterinary-client-patient relationship must exist and the product must have been prescribed by, and purchased through, a licensed veterinarian”–Bravecto guarantee
“If you are not completely satisfied with REVOLUTION,* we will replace the product or refund your purchase price. Guarantee applies to current product purchased from a veterinary hospital only.” –Revolution guarantee
Drug companies will stand behind the products purchased from your local veterinarian because they can ensure that the products came directly from their company. There’s no question as to whether they’re imitation products or worse yet counterfeit products that are designed specifically to look like preventatives that work well. In fact most counterfeit products look identical to legitimate products but on closer inspection tubes / applicators may be in a different language.
Can you spot the fakes?
It’s harder than you’d think…
Your local veterinarian may not be able to carry everything on hand but they can always order you things that you want or need if they don’t have them in stock. At the same time they may not be able to compete with the prices of online pharmacies but that $2 difference in price is worth it when you consider where that money goes. The funds generated at your veterinarian’s pharmacy go back into the clinic. If more people buy local, more products can be carried at the clinic, which means better care for your pets.