Buying pet medicine at your local pharmacy

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Sometimes our pets take more medication on a monthly basis than their human owners do.

There's the monthly heart worm preventive medicine, and the flea and tick repellant.  Then you have to consider the medications they're prescribed from their veterinarians for the things that ail them.

"We really prefer our patients to get their medicines and prescriptions from us at the office," said veterinarian Dr. Lauren Hessey with Mixed Pet Veterinary Hospital in Charlotte's South End.

Still, she does have many pet parents who ask her to write out a prescription so they can have the option of buying their pets medicine at outlets where it might be less expensive.

For example, Target has a "Pet Rx" program.  The big box retailer sells animal specific medications.  It also dispenses generic drugs including like antibiotics and anxiety medications which are often used for animals as well as humans.   Some of those drugs fall into the $4 generic price range.  They could cost much more through your veterinarian.

"We know it comes down to cost for many families.  Certainly a reputable human pharmacy is better than ordering from an online service where you really don't know exactly where the medicine is coming from.  However, we really recommend you buy medications from your veterinarian so we can keep an eye on safety, drug interactions and so you can be sure to keep your dollars in the local community," Hessey said.

There is a battle brewing between Walmart and the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Walmart is advocating for a bill that would require vets to make it easier for patients to have prescriptions filled somewhere other than the vet's office.  For more information on this from the AVMA click here.