Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

F.D.A. Warns Against Purchasing Pet Medications Online

The United States Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) has recently issued a consumer alert to pet owners, warning them about the dangers of buying discounted pet drugs online.

In particular, the F.D.A. is concerned with the sale of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heartworm medications, and prescription pet food without a veterinarian’s written script.

NSAIDs should only be given after the veterinarian has physically examined your pet and blood tests have been run. Failing to do so could cause a variety of detrimental health issues for your pet one example of which is internal bleeding.

Heartworm medications should also only be given to a pet that has had a physical exam and a recent negative heartworm test result. It is important to remember to test for heartworm each year even if you give the heartworm preventative religiously due to the occasional occurrence of the preventative being ineffective. If heartworm medication is given to a dog that has the parasite severe health issues may occur. Remember it is always easier to prevent heartworm than it is to treat it.

Finally it is important to realize that many of the veterinary prescribed pet foods on the market are designed for pets with very specific dietary requirements. It is never recommended to feed these foods to any animal without a veterinarian’s permission as they have been specially formulated to meet your pet’s very specific health concerns.

Tips for purchasing your pet's drugs online:
1. Never purchase from an online pharmacy that says no prescription is required or that they will have their own in-house veterinarian review what medications your pet needs. In many cases your pet needs to receive a physical exam by your veterinarian and may require blood tests before starting these medications.

2. Order from a Web site that belongs to a Vet-VIPPS accredited pharmacy. Vet-VIPPS (Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) is a voluntary accreditation program of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). NABP gives the Vet-VIPPS seal to online pharmacies that dispense prescription animal drugs and comply with NABP’s strict guidelines. It is important to note that Vet-VIPPS is a relatively new organization (formed in 2009) so there are currently only a few Vet-VIPPS accredited online pharmacies.

3. Mail your pet’s prescription provided by your veterinarian to the pharmacy after your pet receives a physical examination. While it may seem quicker to just fax a prescription or have approval given over the phone many veterinarians are hesitant to do so because of rampant fraud and the uncertainty of who they are actually speaking with.