Discount Pet Meds

Written by Shirley Parker
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Taking an ill or injured pet a few miles or more to the veterinarian is an emotionally charged experience, perhaps even more traumatic than taking an upset child to the doctor. At some level, a child can understand a basic explanation, though he may not like all. But explain to a badly frightened cat or dog that we're trying to help him get better, and at best, we are often met with a malevolent stare. And purring from a cat often indicates a process of calming itself, not pleasure at what's going on.

On top of that, we're worrying about how to pay for the exam and any surgery or treatment, even when the vet's office manager reassures us that they now accept Visa or MasterCard. Most of us already know that veterinary practitioners may charge prices that seem to run parallel to what a physician charges human patients. At least that's our perception when under such stress.

Veterinarians Love Animals and People

In part, the cost of medical care for our companion animals is related to the high price of a veterinarian's education and the competition for admittance to the relatively few universities where such training can be pursued. For example, in the United States, there are 19 DVM programs east of the Mississippi and 13 west of the Mississippi. Each requires a minimum of four years of graduate study on top of a bachelor's degree. A specialty will add at least a ninth year of post-high school education.

Veterinarians don't get into that field unless they already have a great appreciation and concern for the animal kingdom and a desire to serve the rest of us, the public. If they lack those key attributes, they'll likely be weeded out during the long and arduous education process. They also need to be of high moral and ethical character, be intellectually mature, and lean naturally toward scientific studies.

Once set up in practice, veterinarians generally recognize the income level of the neighborhood in which their clinics are located. They'll work with the owner of a pet to keep fees as reasonable as possible. Veterinary pet insurance is also available and will cover part of the cost. (It's best to sign up when your cat or dog or other companion animal is still healthy, of course.)

Purchasing Pet Medications at a Discount

When it comes to medicines, you may be able to purchase a small amount to see how your pet does on it before returning for the full prescription. It will depend on the situation and the seriousness of the problem. Unless the vet says otherwise, you must administer the full course of antibiotics, for example, or continue a prescribed regimen.

Your vet may express great concern about your purchasing medicines from a discount house instead of from her supply. It's more than the loss of income to the practice, since drugs of an unknown source and quality may be risky. Will you blame the vet if the prescribed medicine causes serious problems? You'll need to research carefully to make sure your supplier deals only with reputable manufacturers.

Out-of-country medications for animal or human can be lifesavers, but you must do due diligence. This means looking up the components and comparing them to what your vet recommended. Often though, brand-name and generic drugs can simply cost less when ordered through online outlets. If your pet has a chronic condition, such as arthritis, you will probably want to look into discount wholesalers to see if you can save any money on prescription and over-the-counter medications for your pet.

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