Keeping pets healthy is big business,
and a large and growing component of that business is prescription medications
for companion animals. While many consumers buy medications and other health products
directly from their veterinarians, online outlets are springing up, enticing pet
owners with money-saving offers.
Unfortunately, there is no way
to guarantee the quality of the drugs offered for sale online, and
pets face many of the same
risks as people do when drugs are purchased on the Internet,
especially from an obscure or new outlet. So here are a few tips:
When you're counting your savings, be sure to include
shipping costs and any state tax. Ask at your vet's office what
the medication will cost. Then do some comparison-shopping online.
Most reputable sites require
a prescription from your vet. Diagnosing a pet's condition over the Internet is
as risky a proposition as diagnosing a person's medical condition from afar.
Find out how long it is likely to take for the medication
to get to you. If the medication is something your pet needs immediately,
it's probably better not to wait.
If you're unsure about the quality of the outlet
you want to order from, call the site's toll-free number and ask
some questions. Find out where the company is located, how long
it has been in business and if it has experienced any problems with