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A Little Help for Pet Lovers, Updated

twig's picture

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Did you know you may be able to buy your pet medications at a local pharmacy at way lower prices than the veterinarian? I did not, but the local supermarket pharmacy (part of the Kroger chain) put out flyers about it, so I asked the vet for a prescription for Scout's pain relievers (that's Scout, above). The vet charges $200 a month for her 50 mg Tramadol. The price at the pharmacy: $16!

Human pharmacies don't have everything pets take. I asked about getting her kidney meds through them, but they don't stock that particular product. Still, just saving $184 every month on identical pain pills is a huge relief.

Also too, there was an interesting bonus -- after taking the pain med business elsewhere, my vet started giving me a discount on the dogs' prescription foods. Maybe there's no connection, but the timing is suspicious ;-)

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that even if your pet takes an animal-only medication, there may be a similar human version your vet could recommend. For years, Scout took Rimadyl for arthritis, which is dog-specific. The doc switched her to Tramadol, which is for humans, too, because it's gentler on the stomach. So that's something you might want to ask about.

Comments

Submitted by hipparchia on

veterinarians, at least where i live, typically don't make a lot of money, so even if something costs a little bit more, i usually buy it from the vet. with as many pets as i have, i sure don't won't the vets to go out of business.

of course, my vet used to charge me only about $20 or so for a month's worth of tramadol for the fluffy black dog. if they'd been charging me $200, i'd have looked for alternatives too.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

(vet's income) and should have, hipp, so thanks for the reminder that they don't all drive Corvettes (this guy does).

I'm actually switching all the four-legged kids over to a new doc who's much more attentive and actually likes my goofy dogs. I honestly don't mind paying for whatever they need, but it was kind of jaw-dropping to discover the price difference.

Plus, I hate to see people giving up pets because they can't afford the medical expenses, or the alternative -- pets going without medicine. In his defense, the original vet just adopted a Great Dane that his client brought to him for euthanasia because they couldn't keep up with the medical bills. So he's not evil -- just expensive!

Submitted by hipparchia on

he's not evil -- just expensive!

if he's adopting special needs pets, then he's putting at least some of that overcharge to good use. not a problem if his clientele can afford it - and i'm all in favor of wealth redistribution from the wealthier to the less so, including pets. still, you're absolutely correct that people need to know that there are alternatives available.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

that she's clearly longer-legged (or taller). We always thought Lucky had some smooth-haired "Corgi" somewhere in her lineage.

Vets around here at not inexpensive. We are fortunate to have one of the top vets in the state "one town over" from us. His Vet Hospital employs anywhere from 7-9 vets, at any given time, and includes a very modern and sophisticated facility. But all that good stuff costs a pretty penny, so we look for ways to economize on "maintenance drugs." (Sort of like hipparchia said, I try to buy from the vet. But, I can't justify paying several times more for a drug that I can buy online, or get at a regular pharmacy.)

Here's a link to a very reasonable online pet pharmacy. It may really seem like a savings to you, twig, if you live in, or around LA. We're in a small college town, so I'm sure that our prices run lower than yours, and we saved a considerable amount of money on a medically-necessary supplement for Murphee. Just one of the five drugs/supplements she was on routinely, was about $120 a month, If I bought it in bulk, which was three months' worth, I got it for approximately one-third of that price, from "Entirely Pets."

Check it out. You can also go to websites like: RetailMeNot, and other "web-based coupon sites" and find percentage-off codes, and/or sometimes flat-dollar amount coupons, especially for "first time customers" of Entirely Pets.

Regarding using regular pharmacies, here what we do:

We get the generic lists from Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, CVS, Rite-Aid, Kroger, etc., once a year, and compare prices. We also buy a $35 annual family membership (which I got on special this year for $20) at Walgreen's for the both of us, and all our pets. This gives considerable discounts to one of Bailey's drugs, which is not in generic form. He will be on two maintenance drugs for anxiety for the rest of his life.

But here's where we really save. [H/T to Mr. Alexa's tightwad insurance company. LOL!]

They advised us to check on differences in the "pill doses" in order to save money. So we do that.

In the case of Bailey's Clomipramine, he needs 100 mg daily. It is "twice as expensive" to buy him that med in "50 mg" capsules, as it is if I'm inconvenienced by giving him four "25 mg" capsules.

Now, guess which I do! Seriously, check out that aspect. Obviously, it may not work with EVERY medication. But, Clomipramine is an older anti-depressant, without a generic equivalent. We have saved a huge amount of money over the past five years.

So that was my "earth-shattering news." And some folks might opt to just take the dose that's not as big a hassle. That's a personal choice, I suppose. But by saving money where we can on their meds, we're fortunate to be able to give them very excellent preventive, etc., care, so I think that it's a worthwhile trade-off.

And, yes--your "updated" point is an excellent one. Frankly, most vets won't volunteer this info. You almost have to ask. And I'd suggest that if someone is hesitant to do so, just go home and do your homework, and bring it up when it's time to refill a RX. That might be a little less akward for some folks.

Thanks for this post, twig. I wish someone had told me about this, years ago.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

don't have a "human equivalent." Not sure that I made that plain, earlier.

And their other merchandise seems to be of good quality. Got a nice pet bed from them that's the same style that our boarding facility uses. We let the dogs sleep on them for a few days before we board them (when we have to). We hope that it makes the transition easier for them.

And they have pretty decent customer service. When Murphee passed away, I had three months of one of her supplements (again, I bought in bulk). They hadn't been opened, so Entirely Pets gave me a full credit, with the exception of the few dollars it took to return the meds. [Spent $4.00 for approximately $115-$120 credit.]

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Great information, I'll check out Entirely Pets for Scout's other meds, anything to keep her comfortable. She's also getting acupuncture for arthritis, and it seems to be helping. Fingers crossed it continues ....

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

My vet was the one who told me to I could get my pets' Rxs filled for less at a regular drugstore.

Many drugstores will order meds for you, if you ask. You might try calling around to see if any local stores would do this for you.

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