Wellness Tips

Vet shares tips to help pet owners burdened by medication costs – WPXI

PITTSBURGH — With inflation continuing to impact families on a daily basis, many can find it challenging to afford all of the necessities required to take care of their pets.

“You’re paying for their food, medication, toys. I don’t want to compare it to having a kid, but it’s kind of like that,” said Daril Bradley, of Pittsburgh. “I am looking to save money, but I want to keep my pet healthy and happy.”

Pet medications can become particularly burdensome, as some drugs can cost hundreds of dollars.

Steve Irwin experienced sticker shock recently, after purchasing a one-year supply of Nexgard and Heartgard. He spoke with Channel 11 at the North Park dog park, saying the cost came to $377 even after a rebate.

He said that while it’s “disheartening,” it’s worth the money to keep his pup healthy.

Opting to use a rebate is a smart choice when available. Channel 11 reached out to Animal Friends for other ways to save.

Dr. Donald Consla, Lead Wellness and General Practice Veterinarian, said certain medications, including Heartgard, can be purchased in the generic form.

With some drugs, however, the name brand is simply proven to work better, he said. It’s a good idea to talk over options with your vet.

“Sometimes, that’s where it gets tough: do you go with the one that’s proven to be most effective, or do you gamble a little bit and try to find a generic?”

While some folks look to online retailers to save a buck or two, Dr. Consla said that those purchases can also be a gamble.

When it comes to a lot of online pharmacies, he said “we just don’t know how they store and handle their drugs. They might be doing a great job, but we don’t know. I’ve seen counterfeit products like Seresto collars.”

Buying medications through your vet’s office is the safest bet, he said, however, consumers can also consider calling their own pharmacy.

Many human medications are the same that are prescribed to pets. Dr. Consla said your personal pharmacy may take GoodRx coupons that you can apply to your pet’s meds.

He added, “They’re dispensing a lot more medication, so they can buy in bigger bulk and sometimes that can lessen the overall cost.”

Dr. Consla says that a great way to prevent your pets from needing costly medications is by keeping them in good shape. Stay on top of preventative care and up-to-date on vaccines.

He also encourages pet owners to consider purchasing pet insurance, and the sooner, the better. Sometimes medications are covered by insurers for treatments.

Consla told Channel 11 that consumers can also explore pet care credit cards like “CareCredit.” But, be sure to check on when interest rates kick in.

Pet owners should also consider asking their vets, their local shelters or other nearby non-profits if they offer programs or support for pet owners who are feeling financially strained.

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