Monday, August 4, 2008

Reducing Vet Costs

Taking your pet to the vet is as daunting as making a trip to the emergency room. Your mind buzzes with thoughts of the lack of control (too bad animals can't talk) and the cost.

I was so surprised and upset to hear the following story from a friend that had taken her cat for several vet visits and paid for several prescriptions besides the office visits and procedures, so frugal thoughts took over.

This email is from the friend in Canada:

I was previously charged $15.69 for 10 ml of Lactulose at the Vet. Yesterday, they were going to give me 100 ml since I have to keep her on it, and charge me $156.90 for it.

I said, "Wait a minute ... That sounds like a lot! I would like to check and see if I can buy it at Shopper's (pharmacy), and I'll let you know if I need a prescription." So I called the pharmacy and sure enough, I can buy a litre bottle (1000 ml) for $25.

Let me do the math for you: $25 for 1000 ml (instead of $156.90 for 100 ml)
So the comparison for the same amount of Lactulose is: $25.00 at pharmacy or $1569.00 from vet

After reading this I asked another friend about this since she visits the vet frequently since she provides foster care for rescues at her local shelter. She said this was definitely an option since her vet at times has told her to get the necessary drugs from the pharmacy because it would be cheaper there.

So, we find that there may be another way to keep our pets healthy within a limited budget.

If you've had experience doing this, please let us all know about it by posting a comment below.  Read comments at original article.


Anonymous said...

This is VERY true. I used to work at a large and small animal clinic and this "markup" happens all the time. Some of the "prescriptions" used to treat worms in our cats and dogs is the very same medication you can buy over the counter through a livestock catalog without any prescription. The only problems with this is knowing the correct doseage for the smaller pet (this is crutial!!)and the large amount you have to buy due to the fact it's sold for 300 + lb animals. Just be careful that the active ingredients are at the same percent of concentration you're familiar with. I've seen lots of horse owners come in to the clinic with their dogs dying from overdose because they didn't take the time to do the math right. Grim but true. Sometimes being frugal just isn't worth the risk.
Another saving tip (also meant to be calculated and measured carefully). Frontline is great for killing ticks and fleas, is MUCH safer than many, many other products, is the exact same medication for cats and dogs (not so for some other tick and flea medicaions) and is in the same concentrations throughout all of the packaging. I buy the extra large dog pack, empty contents into a childproof pill container and share it between my 3 cats, large dog and small dog and still have some left over. The liquid amounts for each size animal is posted on the outside of the other packages and can be measured easily with reusable 1mL and 3mL syringes. So take note of the correct ammounts for each pet and applied properly, all of your pets can enjoy being bug-free for less $.

Anonymous said...

Walgreens has an indivudual pharmacy discount card for $20.00 or a family card for $35.00. I thought this was just for people, but the pharmacist informed me that I could sign up my pets on a family plan and get prescriptions filled there, if they carry the item-most meds pets are on are human meds. I was thrilled, and signed up right away! Not only do I get scripts for less than at the vet, but I also get 10% cash back on all Walgreen's brand items I purchase when I swipe the card at the register. What a deal!!
I also have a vet that will match the price of any pharmacy to fill a script, so ask!! Here's to being frugal!

Anonymous said...

Definitely price check around before buying from your vet. I have had my pets on oral meds and fluids for my older cats, and prices vary at many online stores. I have used fosters and smith, healthypets, hydrovet, to name a few. Most require a form for Rx from your vet. My big moneysaver is using Cattle ivermectin instead of heartguard for monthly heartworm prevention. Check with your vet for dosage and if your dog will tolerate, it's toxic in some breeds, but for $50 I can buy 50ml and that lasts me for basically 1-2 years depending on the expiration date of the product.

sharingsunshine said...

As editor of this blog, I have to post that I do not agree with using meds for worming, fleas or heartworm programs when there are natural alternatives available, but the comments and ideas shared are much appreciated. I realize that many are not aware of the safe, non-toxic options.

For fleas
For worms

Bandit's Buddies has a great natural heartworm program and a prevention program also. Read some of the wonderful success stories.

I personally know Robin, of Bandit's Buddies, and have read emails from many of her overjoyed clients, so I know what a great job she does and how much she loves working with pets, not only as a business, but with the hundreds of volunteer hours she donates to her local no-kill shelter.

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