With online shopping’s ease and convenience spreading into every part of people’s lives, searching for your pet’s medication and parasite prevention products online also comes naturally. However, purchasing pet medications online can be ineffective, or downright dangerous. Take a look at potential issues caused by ordering through online pet pharmacies.

Scenario #1: Heartworm horror

Marley the Labrador was a big fan of heading outdoors and romping with his family, so they ensured they administered his heartworm preventive every monththey set up delivery with autoship, so they never missed a dose. However, at Marley’s annual wellness visit, he tested positive for heartworm disease. How could that happen? Well, Marley’s owner showed us the preventive box, and we determined it was a counterfeit product. The packaging was similar, but the differences threw up a red flag. Poor Marley had to undergo heartworm treatment, which required months of inactivity, and his owners had to pay out-of-pocket, with no help from the manufacturer.

Scenario #2: Insulin mix-up

Harley the diabetic miniature schnauzer had been well-regulated on Vetsulin since his diagnosis. But, his family was looking to save some money, so they searched online for a cheaper Vetsulin vial and syringes, and ordered products from an unheard-of online pet pharmacy. When the package arrived—after being lost for a week during shipping—the insulin had precipitated and formed solid chunks. Plus, the syringes were the wrong type. Vetsulin requires U-40 syringes for proper dosing, but Harley’s owner received U-100 syringes. While these syringes would not have given Harley an insulin overdose that caused a diabetic coma, he would have become unregulated and displayed diabetes signs again. After this incident, Harley’s owners stuck to a trusted source for their beloved pet’s medications.

Scenario #3: Flea prevention fiasco

Sasha, a gorgeous long-haired Maine coon, tipped the scales at 25 pounds. When her owner ordered her flea and tick prevention product online, she mistakenly chose the canine over-the-counter product instead of the correct feline dose. Since the product did not require a prescription, the online pet pharmacy shipped out the product without double-checking the species. After Sasha received a dose of canine flea preventive, she began trembling and drooling almost immediately. Realizing her mistake, Sasha’s owner began rinsing her in warm water and Dawn dish soap, which is no easy task with a panicked cat suffering from neurologic issues. After her bath, Sasha still had tremors, so her owner rushed her to Cranberry Holistic Pet Care for further treatment and hospitalization.

The problems with online pet pharmacies

As you can see, many problems can pop up with online pet pharmacy orders. While not all online pet pharmacies are created equal, the number of disreputable ones can be a problem. Online pet pharmacies can:

  • Distribute counterfeit medications — While online pharmacies can be supervised by governing pharmacy boards, they can also be self-regulated, giving no guarantee their products are legitimate. Counterfeit medications are much cheaper to source, and the savings are passed onto the pet owner, who thinks they’re getting a great deal. However, these medications may be contaminated, worthless, or poisonous. The incorrect drug or strength may be on the package, or the medication may include toxic additives. Counterfeit products can easily use similar packaging to the real thing, making distinguishing the two extremely difficult. 
  • Improperly store sensitive medications — Many medications are heat- and cold-sensitive, and must be stored in a specific temperature range to maintain efficacy. Online pharmacies do not always have heated or cooled warehouses, and their products may sit on shipping trucks for days. 
  • Fail to guarantee their products — When you purchase your pet’s medications and parasite prevention items from Cranberry Holistic Pet Care, we safety-guarantee our products. Our team works directly with manufacturers and representatives who guarantee their product and ensure you receive the correct one. Plus, if your pet becomes ill, the manufacturing company will often pay for treatment. For example, if your pet develops a roundworm infection, despite taking Heartgard Plus every month on time, and you have proof of purchase from your veterinarian, the company will pay for your pet’s deworming treatment. On the other hand, counterfeit companies cannot guarantee their products’ efficacy or safety.
  • Ship the wrong product — Have you ever ordered something online and received  a totally different product? Whether the wrong size or color, or something you’ve never heard of, mistakes happen all the time with online orders. But, with your pet’s medications, a mistake can be deadly, if the wrong dose or product is shipped. Here at Cranberry Holistic Pet Care, we have multiple checks in place to ensure your furry companion receives the correct medication every time.

  • Be ignorant of your pet’s medical history — Online pet pharmacies don’t have your pet’s medical history handy when you order medications. They don’t realize your pet has a sensitivity to a certain drug class, or that you mistakenly ordered a dog flea preventive for your cat. When you work with an online veterinary pharmacy, your pet’s weight and medical alerts are synced with the pharmacy, ensuring your pet receives the correct product.

Rather than buying from massive online pharmacies that may not source legitimate products or store them properly, turn to a source you can trust—Cranberry Holistic Pet Care. Our team always has your pet’s best interests at heart, and distributes only products that undergo rigorous quality control measures, from manufacture, to shipping, to storage. Contact us with any questions you may have about your pet’s medications.