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3 Drugs You're Spending Too Much on at the Vet

How and Where to Purchase Them for Less

By Ellen Thompson. January 03, 2014 | See Comments

A Medication Bottle Cap That Says For Animal Use Only

The cost of caring for a pet seems to be going up every year, especially when it comes to prescription medications. The prescriptions that you're getting from the vet probably cost you a lot of money. Find out where you can buy pet meds for less here.

Caring for a pet can cost a pretty penny, especially when it comes to prescription medications. But guess what? It turns out you don’t have to spend as much as you have been. Here’s why, and how, you can get low cost pet meds.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, veterinarians often markup the price of prescription drugs when you purchase directly from their office. The markups can range from 100 percent to 1,000 percent depending on the drug. Not to mention that some vets charge an additional $5 to $15 dispensing fee.*

Luckily, purchasing your pet’s medications online allows you to not only bypass that dispensing fee, but you can also shop at wholesale prices. This price disparity occurs because online pharmacies typically purchase medications in bulk, meaning they receive bulk pricing, in turn offering you the best price possible. Your vet, who has no place to store bulk amounts of medications, has to purchases smaller amounts without the bulk rate discount, forcing them to overcharge. Plus, there’s an overhead cost for keeping the medication in stock and a loss risk if the medication expires while sitting on their shelf.

Instead of walking out of your vet’s office with medication in hand, walk out with a prescription and their quoted price. Then go online and see how their quote matches up with sites specializing in pet prescription drugs. Just be sure you’re shopping at one of the Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy — like this one!

This kind of price shopping is especially effective for medications needed for chronic conditions.

The 3 Most Common Pet Medications You’re Spending Too Much On

1. Prednisone

Vets charge 567% more for this medication!

Prednisone is a steroid — a corticosteroid to be exact. Corticosteroids are designed to mimic cortisol, a naturally occurring hormone that aids in preventing inflammatory and immune responses. This drug is used by vets to treat conditions ranging from inflammation and nervous system disorders to cancer or Addison’s disease. However, it is most often prescribed for inflammation, and typically in tablet or oral liquid form, though your vet could administer it via injection. The dose will likely be low and prescribed for a short amount of time — 7-10 days is most common.

2. Tramadol

Vets charge 800% more for this medication!

Tramadol is a pain reliever for dogs who can’t take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). It is often prescribed post-surgery to relieve moderate to severe pain, but vets have also been known to recommend it for painful, chronic conditions such as arthritis or cancer. In rare cases, it can be prescribed as a cough suppressant. Tramadol is given in tablet form with or without food. Since it is not long-acting, your vet will likely recommend multiple doses daily. It may be taken for short periods of time (post-surgery) or longer for chronic conditions. 

3. Amoxicillin

Vets charge 1,000% more for this medication!

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections. It is related to penicillin, but more effective as it absorbs more easily into the body and is longer lasting. Amoxicillin is designed to prevent bacteria from building cell walls, in turn causing the bacteria to die off. Vets will often prescribe this medication to treat cuts and wounds, as well as skin, ear, oral, upper respiratory, and bladder infections; among many others. Amoxicillin is typically taken for 7-10 days in either tablet or liquid form, and usually given with food to avoid an upset stomach. Just as you have to finish every last tablet when taking amoxicillin, so does your pet. Remember, stopping medication too early can create resistant bacteria that can create bigger problems. If your pet’s infection is severe the vet may actually have to inject the antibiotic to kick start the healing process.

*Consumer Reports

More on Pet Meds

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