Cart --
0 Items in Cart
Your Shopping Cart is Empty

Do Cheap Pet Meds Do the Trick? Generic vs. Brand Names

How Generics Stack Up Against Name Brand Pet Meds

By Lauren Leonardi. October 30, 2013 | See Comments

  • expert or vet photo
    vet verified

    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

    DVM

Dog And Cat Laying In The Grass Together

Prescription medications for pets are similar to medications for humans in that there are both generic and brand name options for many drugs. Find out here if going the cheaper route will give you the same benefits without breaking the bank.

Are cheap pet meds as good as the expensive drugs? The old saying, “you get what you pay for,” doesn’t always apply in the case of veterinary medicines.

Sometimes generic versions of medicines are exactly the same, in every way, as the more expensive brand names. In other cases, a brand name drug has some extra ingredients. Find out how these common pet meds stack up against their brand name counterparts.

HEARTGARD PLUS vs. IVERHART PLUS AND TRI-HEART PLUS

What Are They For?

All three of these drugs are monthly chewable medicines that prevent heartworm. Heartworm is a parasite that can have devastating effect on a dog’s health. Heartworms are transmitted to your pet through infected mosquitoes.

How Are These Drugs Similar?

  • All three drugs have the same active ingredients: Ivermectin and Pyrantel.
  • They’re each formulated for broad spectrum parasite prevention, with the primary focus on heartworms, and offer reliable prevention against hookworm and roundworm as well.
  • They’re each administered monthly, as a flavored chewable tablet your dog should happily accept.

How Do These Drugs Differ?

  • These drugs are essentially the same in terms of effectiveness and administration requirements.
  • Iverhart Plus and Tri-Heart Plus are lower-cost, generic alternatives to Heartgard.
  • Tri-Heart Plus is approximately $10 less, per package, than Heartgard.

RIMADYL vs. NOVOX

What Are They For?

These drugs are both NSAIDs -- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs -- administered to pets for the relief of pain; generally the pain associated with hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, or post-surgery discomfort.

How Are These Drugs Similar?

  • Each of these drugs have the same active ingredient: Carprofen
  • They each contain the same levels of their active ingredient, are administered in much the same manner, and are reported to have equal efficacy.

How Do These Drugs Differ?

  • Novox is the generic equivalent of Rimadyl. As such, Novox costs roughly 30% less than its brand name alternative, Rimadyl.
  • There have been questions about the quality of absorption of the drug in the generic form, Novox. However, testing has shown that Novox is absorbed as well as Rimadyl, and is as effective at treating pain.

KEFLEX vs. CEPHALEXIN

What Are They For?

  • Both drugs are broad spectrum antibiotics, similar to penicillin. These antibiotics are used to treat many types of infections, from wounds to respiratory issues to bladder infections.
  • Neither of these drugs will treat infections caused by parasites and worms, or those caused by viruses.

How Are These Drugs Similar?

  • Cephalexin is the name of the active ingredient. Keflex is the brand name version of this drug. They’re the same medication under different names.
  • Cephalexin is not approved for veterinary use in the United States, nor is Keflex. However, it is still legal for veterinarians to prescribe it, as an “extra label” use. This drug has been approved by the FDA for human use.
  • Some pet parents find that these drugs cause deleterious side effects in their dog. Discuss this possibility with your veterinarian.

How Do These Drugs Differ?

  • Keflex and Cephalexin are the same drug, and they’re administered similarly -- either in tablet form or via liquid suspension.
  • Prices are comparable between the two drugs.

CLAVAMOX vs. AMOXICILLIN

What Are They For?

  • Both are penicillin-like antibiotics, prescribed to treat bacterial infections.

How Are These Drugs Similar?

  • Unlike the drugs previously mentioned in this list, Clavamox and Amoxicillin are not identical.
  • Clavamox contains Amoxicillin. It also contains clavulanic acid. The clavulanic acid enables the Amoxicillin to be more effective than it would be on its own.

How Do These Drugs Differ?

  • Clavamox has a broader range of efficacy in treating difficult infections.
  • However, it’s a very intense drug and can have side effects.
  • Sometimes, Amoxicillin on its own will do the trick. Speak with your vet about the best choice for your pet.

PREDNISolONE vs. DELTA-CORTEF

What Are They For?

  • These drugs are common corticosteroids, used to treat a variety of conditions including itching, hair loss, and skin irritation due to the under-production of an animal’s own corticosteroids. These corticosteroids can also effectively treat eczema, dermatitis, allergic reactions, eye conditions, and even arthritis ulcerative colitis.

How Are These Drugs Similar?

  • Delta-Cortef is the brand name version of Prednisolone.
  • Prednisolone is the active ingredient, and the generic form.

How Do These Drugs Differ?

  • There is virtually no difference to be found between these three drugs with one exception: cost. Prednisolone tends to be less expensive than its brand name counterparts.
More on Budgeting Pet Costs

11 Ways to Save Money on Pets
Can I Buy Canadian Pet Meds?
How Are Pet Prescription Cards Different from Insurance?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

Was this article helpful?