Take caution when buying pet medications online!

There is an interesting article online from WPXI in Philadelphia today and we wanted to share the information. Here's the article:

PITTSBURGH -- Treating a pet's illness with drugs can be costly.

That's why many are turning to the Internet to find cheaper prices on pet medicines.

While it may be cheaper, the Federal Drug Administration says it can also be dangerous.

A Pittsburgh biologist and owner of Pets Supplies Plus, Burton Patrick, doesn't think buying pet medication online is a good idea.

"They think they're saving a lot of money and sometimes they're actually using these meds not under a veterinarian’s guidance comma and that makes a big difference. I think people are better off finding a vet who's reasonable, buy their meds add space from a vet. He's fam i liar with what's bei ng used and he will be better at helping maintain the health of your pet." Patrick said.

However, many pet owners like the convenience of online ordering and now some local veterinarians are now directing pet owners to Web sites they know are safe and dependable.

Dr. Kate Ewald from Wexford Veterinary Hospital said ordering medication online can be safe.

"I don't have any problem with clients ordering those medications online through a good source once they've had the exams, they've had the testing," Ewald said.

But she said consumers still need to be cautious.

Always buy from a U.S. licensed pharmacy.

And always look for drugs that are FDA-approved. because the FDA has found companies selling counterfeit , expired and even contaminated drugs.

Ewald mentioned another red flag to look for. "You should not be getting any prescription medications through a source that doesn't require a prescription."

According to the FDA, the two most common pet drugs ordered online are heartworm medication and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Consumers must have a prescription to buy either of those drugs.

If not properly prescribed those drugs can harm or even kill a pet.

"I think we forget heartworm medication has potential side effects if given to an animal that's tested positive for heartworm disease or has heartworm disease. There can be some serious complications with giving them that medications." Ewald said.

And if not given properly, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat joint pain can cause liver and kidney problems.

Ewald said, "Before you have an animal on these meds, make sure they're healthy, they've had appropriate screening comma blood work to rule out illness."