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Buying heartworm meds without a prescription?


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#1 Christy

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:49 PM

I was curious about the 1-800 Pet Meds and other places where you can buy flea meds or heartworm medication on-line. I heard you can get things on-line cheaper, but then I've also been told if your dog gets heartworm and you've bought them from some on-line source and not your vet, too bad for you!

In looking around I saw some places required a prescription and some don't??? What's with that?

For example 1-800 Pet meds requires a script http://www.1800petmeds.com/
but Pet Care Choice http://www.petcarechoice.com/ does not. I called on the phone and asked them too!

This article http://www.infobarre...a_Prescription?
says we can't get them without a prescription in the US, but in Canada they can. I'm guessing that is where you get them from when you order on-line. Why is it ok there, but not ok here?
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#2 Sally

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 08:21 PM

The Vet I had said "never get things on line but to bring in the price and he would match it"

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#3 jetsetgo

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 08:29 PM

My vet referred me to the 1-800-PetMeds. He's not the greedy type. ;)

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#4 Kat

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 08:33 PM

I use Drs Foster & Smith (google them) - they have a full catalog of pet supplies and a pharmacy with free shipping for medications. Clover's Rx allergy pills are around $1.05 each at the vet and $0.65 cents each through them, for something he takes most days that's too big to ignore! I do have to send them a paper Rx from my regular vet.

I don't do heartguard/etc, but, I would be suspicious of the ones that don't require an Rx if many do.

Edited by Kat, 22 March 2011 - 08:35 PM.

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#5 Christy

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:07 PM

I would be suspicious of the ones that don't require an Rx if many do.


This article http://www.infobarre...a_Prescription? says we can't get them without a prescription in the US, but in Canada they can. I'm guessing that is where you get them from when you order on-line. Why is it ok there, but not ok here?


But if you are buying them from Canada and it's the same meds they sell over the counter what would be the problem? I'm just thinking out loud here.
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#6 Kat

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:23 PM

But if you are buying them from Canada and it's the same meds they sell over the counter what would be the problem? I'm just thinking out loud here.


Well, the controlled substances/Rx/OTC requirements can vary dramatically among countries, so I'm not sure you can be 100% sure the Canadian and American products are the same. Similar, probably, but not the same.

Also, if anything happened to your dog as a result of the heartworm meds from Canada (heaven forbid!) I think the fact you brought them into the country illegally pretty much guarantees you have no legal rights. And if you went to the vet with problems, a potential formula difference could cause a barrier to correctly identifying the problem.

I don't know any of this for sure but that is my thinking out loud!

Is there a particular reason you couldn't get an Rx from the vet? Many offer price match, and the rest (like mine) are more than happy to provide the paper copy.

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#7 Christy

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:39 PM

Well, the controlled substances/Rx/OTC requirements can vary dramatically among countries, so I'm not sure you can be 100% sure the Canadian and American products are the same. Similar, probably, but not the same.

Also, if anything happened to your dog as a result of the heartworm meds from Canada (heaven forbid!) I think the fact you brought them into the country illegally pretty much guarantees you have no legal rights. And if you went to the vet with problems, a potential formula difference could cause a barrier to correctly identifying the problem.

I don't know any of this for sure but that is my thinking out loud!

Is there a particular reason you couldn't get an Rx from the vet? Many offer price match, and the rest (like mine) are more than happy to provide the paper copy.


No problem at all Kat! I've always bought my Flea and Tick and my heartworm meds from my own vet. I've heard of the 800 Pet Meds place before..isn't it Betty White that advertises for them on TV? I've never bought from them, but I was chatting with a friend and we were arguing over whether you needed a prescription or not. So, I looked it up on-line and that's where I was seeing that you need a script in the US but not in Canada. I can only imagine how that feels when you are way up there in Washington needing a script and a couple miles away they sell it over the counter.

We have Canadian members here, so I am hoping they will add their two cents too! :ike:
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#8 Sharlene

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 07:14 AM

I use Drs Foster & Smith (google them) - they have a full catalog of pet supplies and a pharmacy with free shipping for medications. Clover's Rx allergy pills are around $1.05 each at the vet and $0.65 cents each through them, for something he takes most days that's too big to ignore! I do have to send them a paper Rx from my regular vet.

I don't do heartguard/etc, but, I would be suspicious of the ones that don't require an Rx if many do.


I order the Rx allergy med from Drs Foster and Smith as well. The vet charges over $1.00 a pill and I get them through Drs F&S for .45 each. They faxed the the vet for the prescription. My vet was more than willing. I know that isn't Christy's question but I'm curious too so I will follow along.
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#9 Marj R.C.

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 10:21 AM

Christy, I don't really know about the difference in products, if there are any. I think, many times, it's simply a difference in laws, not in actual ingredients in the products, but I have no idea about some pet medications as I'd have to compare. One example of what you're talking about is 'Denamarin', a supplement that supports liver health. It isn't even available in Canada, via your vet or online. Why? No idea! It is better than Denosyl, in my opinion, as it has milk thistle added to the SAM-e, so I preferred giving Denamarin to Ricky for many months, as opposed to the Denosyl my vet had available (not to mention that even if it had been available here, it would have been VERY expensive!). He was fine with that, but I had to order it in the U.S. and either ship it to a U.S. address and bring it over, or once had it shipped here and paid a lot for shipping. :( What is it about Milk Thistle in this supplement that won't allow it to be sold in Canada? Haven't a clue! We can buy milk thistle in capsules for humans all over the place - go figure!

I used to get heartworm/flea meds. from the vet, but haven't used it in 2-3 yrs. because I prefer not to. I dont' know where I can find it OTC though, so maybe it's not available here in Quebec...?
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#10 Christy

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 11:00 AM

Christy, I don't really know about the difference in products, if there are any. I think, many times, it's simply a difference in laws, not in actual ingredients in the products, but I have no idea about some pet medications as I'd have to compare. One example of what you're talking about is 'Denamarin', a supplement that supports liver health. It isn't even available in Canada, via your vet or online. Why? No idea! It is better than Denosyl, in my opinion, as it has milk thistle added to the SAM-e, so I preferred giving Denamarin to Ricky for many months, as opposed to the Denosyl my vet had available (not to mention that even if it had been available here, it would have been VERY expensive!). He was fine with that, but I had to order it in the U.S. and either ship it to a U.S. address and bring it over, or once had it shipped here and paid a lot for shipping. :( What is it about Milk Thistle in this supplement that won't allow it to be sold in Canada? Haven't a clue! We can buy milk thistle in capsules for humans all over the place - go figure!

I used to get heartworm/flea meds. from the vet, but haven't used it in 2-3 yrs. because I prefer not to. I dont' know where I can find it OTC though, so maybe it's not available here in Quebec...?

Thanks for chiming in Marj. :) I use Heartgard here for my dogs but in asking around I am kinda shocked by how many people in my area aren't using any heartworm medication. The standard reason seems to be it's too expensive. :( I would think if expense is a problem more people would be buying through the mail--especially small rescues, but the predominant feeling is that they don't trust the products. I also have heard the "scare" type stories but I'm curious to find out the real truth. I can't imagine that Merial sells a different product to Canada than they do to the US, so I would guess it's the same stuff.
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#11 Havanese Mom

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 12:58 PM

I have started to buy my Flea/Tick medications from 800 Pet Meds on line.

800 Pet Meds do require a prescription for the Heart Worm Medication. My Vet gives you the scare tactic about using the Heartworm medications on-line. If you read the fine print on 800 Pet Meds concerning the Heart Worm Medications, it says something about 6 months with pets being on the Heartworm medications before the manufacturer will pay for any heartworm disease....lots of paperwork involved if you asked me...just not worth the trouble.


The Vets will usually match prices for the medications and lots of times you can get a $5.00 refund (mail-in) from the Vet.

When I was young, we never heard about Heart worm problems with dogs. I just know we never gave our dog a heart worm type medication.



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#12 Christy

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 01:56 PM

My Vet gives you the scare tactic about using the Heartworm medications on-line. If you read the fine print on 800 Pet Meds concerning the Heart Worm Medications, it says something about 6 months with pets being on the Heartworm medications before the manufacturer will pay for any heartworm disease....lots of paperwork involved if you asked me...just not worth the trouble.


Yes, my vet gives me the scare tactic too! They say that IF your dog gets heartworm then you won't be able to blame the product and make a claim against the company unless you've been buying it directly from your vet.

The number of dogs changes in my house as I bring in foster dogs and then adopt them out. I buy a years worth of Heartgard at a time but it lasts 3 to 4 months depending on how many dogs are here receiving it. The purchase goes on the record of whatever dogs' name I throw out there at the time, so honestly I would probably have a really hard time making a claim against Merial anyway.
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#13 Barbara

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 02:56 PM

Yes, my vet gives me the scare tactic too! They say that IF your dog gets heartworm then you won't be able to blame the product and make a claim against the company unless you've been buying it directly from your vet.

The number of dogs changes in my house as I bring in foster dogs and then adopt them out. I buy a years worth of Heartgard at a time but it lasts 3 to 4 months depending on how many dogs are here receiving it. The purchase goes on the record of whatever dogs' name I throw out there at the time, so honestly I would probably have a really hard time making a claim against Merial anyway.


Christy, My vet suggested 1800petmeds.com for buying Comfortis because it was cheaper online. I found an even better price at drsfostersmith.com. They just ask for your vet info and get his okay before sending a Rx. I think shipping is free on both of them. I ended up only using 2 of the Comfortis pills although you're supposed to give them once a month. I only use one if I actually find a flea on Huggie and I haven't seen one for a couple of months since the last pill. I have never used heartworm meds for any of my dogs even though the vet tried to sell me some. Ticks don't seem to be a problem down here, but fleas are, especially when it gets hot. I hate to use any medications unless I know I really need to, but that's just me.
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#14 Lina

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 06:48 PM

My vet has an online ordering service through VetStoreRX and every person has a username when you become a client that you can use to order whatever you need from them. It's nice because they have all your info already there so it's easy to order new or refill. Shipping is free on almost everything too!

I just checked and Interceptor (what I order) is $4 cheaper for a 12 pack than it is through drsfosterandsmith.com. I don't feel like I'm getting ripped off at least. ;)
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#15 Christy

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 07:08 PM

My vet has an online ordering service through VetStoreRX and every person has a username when you become a client that you can use to order whatever you need from them. It's nice because they have all your info already there so it's easy to order new or refill. Shipping is free on almost everything too!

I just checked and Interceptor (what I order) is $4 cheaper for a 12 pack than it is through drsfosterandsmith.com. I don't feel like I'm getting ripped off at least. ;)


That's really cool! I wish my vet had a system like that. :)
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#16 Murray's Mum

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 07:15 AM

I'm still buying the Heartguard from the vet, but I buy the Frontline from the farm supply store in town. It is $9 less than at the vet's office for a 6 month supply. That's a significant difference!
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#17 truedat

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 08:43 AM

Yes, my vet gives me the scare tactic too! They say that IF your dog gets heartworm then you won't be able to blame the product and make a claim against the company unless you've been buying it directly from your vet.

The number of dogs changes in my house as I bring in foster dogs and then adopt them out. I buy a years worth of Heartgard at a time but it lasts 3 to 4 months depending on how many dogs are here receiving it. The purchase goes on the record of whatever dogs' name I throw out there at the time, so honestly I would probably have a really hard time making a claim against Merial anyway.



And I would be willing to bet that EVEN if you bought the meds from your vet, the company would dispute it anyway claiming that you didn't give it properly, or the dog didn't swallow it, or some other reason not to honor the claim. My old vet had the same story, and I think it's ridiculous. If the drug manufacturer sells through other outlets, then why wouldn't they be on the hook for their product regardless of where it's sold?
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#18 Christy

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 09:47 AM

Here is another reason I find this situation so interesting. I work in rescue. I don't know what the rules are for adopting out in all of the various rescues, but I would assume most are going to check vet references and want to know the dogs are being vaccinated and protected against bugaboos.

IF someone were buying Heartworm meds through the mail, this information wouldn't come up in a vet check. OR if the potential adopter was Canadian, there would also not be proof of giving Heartworm. How would the rescue verify the use of Heartworm meds? (especially if it was a real high risk area???)
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#19 Christy

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 09:49 AM

And I would be willing to bet that EVEN if you bought the meds from your vet, the company would dispute it anyway claiming that you didn't give it properly, or the dog didn't swallow it, or some other reason not to honor the claim. My old vet had the same story, and I think it's ridiculous. If the drug manufacturer sells through other outlets, then why wouldn't they be on the hook for their product regardless of where it's sold?


I forgot to mention, I totally agree with you! Maybe I am just cynical (a gift from my father), but I think Meriel would find all kinds of reasons NOT to pay out on a claim.
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#20 Murray's Mum

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 10:01 AM

I wonder if on the rescues, they would accept giving the lot # and expiration date from the package and source as proof of being on it?
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