Piggybacking on Dr. Kay’s post about the perils of price shopping, I did want to share a better way to try and save money at the vet: medications.
There are lots of good reasons for getting your medications from the vet, but the number one is convenience. You have the meds in hand when you leave. The other reason, one often given by vets who don’t want to write a prescription, is that you don’t know where some of these online pharmacies have obtained their meds. This is true. Some may have counterfeit or close to expired meds that they are passing out. Still others are perfectly legitimate pharmacies offering a good price on meds.
At the end of the day, if you want to get your medications from an outside source your veterinarian should be willing to provide you with a written prescription if that is what you ask for.
Another tip is to ask your veterinarian if there is a generic equivalent available from a human pharmacy. Sometimes, especially with resistant infections or certain pain medications, there really isn’t. A nasty middle ear infection that needs Baytril, needs Baytril. However, a simple skin infection might respond well to cephalexin, as an example, which is on the generics list at our local Wal-Mart for $10 for a 30 day supply. For some dogs, especially large breed dogs, those meds may make the difference between being treated and not being treated.
As always, communication is key. There’s nothing wrong with asking. If there is not a generic equivalent, your vet should be able to explain why that specific medication is necessary. And if there is, you might have just saved a nice handful of dollars. It never hurts to ask! In this day and this economy, we all know firsthand that finances are a concern for everyone.
I have always gotten Mellan’s meds through his vet, because I find his services so thorough and really am so appreciative that he is Mellan’s vet that I want him to get his money… Like I would rather any profit off of the meds go to him than saving a few bucks elsewhere.
I’ve always wondered if this is all in my head or if he does get money in his pocket if I get them through his office.
Dr. V says
Christine- Absolutely vets make money off their meds. Not that that is bad, any retailer marks up. I’m sure he appreciates you doing that (and it really is easier for us than writing a prescription!)
julie g. says
Great topic! So many folks don’t know about the possibilities of purchasing at a local drugstore, etc. “standard” types of medications (and some of them on the monthly ‘flat rate’ cost). Costco suprisingly carries a great deal of canine only medicines also, and you don’t need to be a member to shop there.
The money I try to save is almost always used to better the life of the animal in other ways (veterinary care, homecooked food, daycare, etc.).
On the topic of meds, we have really small dogs, often the dose is so small that the best solution is to have their meds compounded. Not all pharmacies do this, but your vet will likely know one that does. Really makes it easier to get them the right dose instead of trying to cut pills into 16 pieces.
I get prescriptions for the pets and myself at a friend’s small drugstore. I get the “friends and family discount” which really helps. Our vet understands this and is okay with calling in Rxs for the dogs and cat to this drugstore. This drugstore doesn’t do compounding so I go to another one to get Florinef. Our eldest dog has Addison’s. Brand Florinef is $$$$$ and the pharmacy compounds 100 pills at a time at a lower cost-so it is only $$. I keep telling the dog to get a job and help with her vet care/med bills but being a standard poodle-she said it was my job and then went back to her nap.
Two Little Cavaliers says
Great post. When I worked at an animal hospital it was the biggest complaint on the bill the cost of mediation but in most cases there was no alternative.