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Pharmacy & Medications

We offer a wide range of medications in our full in-house pharmacy. If we do not have the specific medication needed for your pet, we can provide you with a prescription for a local human pharmacy, or we would be happy to special order the medication for you.

We also work with a local compounding pharmacy to provide flavored medications in various forms, including flavored chews, flavored liquids, or in some cases, transdermal gels that are applied to the skin inside the ear flap. The compounding pharmacy will ship directly to your home, saving you both time and money.

In accordance with guidelines from the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Nelson will be happy to fill prescription medications in-house, will call-in prescriptions to reputable local pharmacies, or will provide written prescriptions to clients wishing to purchase medications on-line. In all cases, there must be a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (current exam within the past 12 months and current understanding of the problem being treated) and the medication must be deemed the appropriate therapy by the attending veterinarian. For some medications, follow-up evaluations or monitoring lab work are necessary to ensure that the medication is appropriate and to minimize health risks to the patient.

It is our policy to take every possible measure to ensure that our patients receive the very best pharmaceutical products available. For your convenience, we offer the option of having your pet’s medication mailed to your home. Please talk with our staff about shipping costs.

We realize that several internet businesses sell prescription products at prices which may be lower than our prices. You may purchase from these internet businesses, but we caution you to be an informed consumer prior to making your purchase.

For both prescription refills and written prescription requests, please allow 24 hours if possible to allow our veterinary team to review your pet’s medical record and complete this process accurately.

Product Guarantees

Major pharmaceutical manufacturers maintain a strict policy of sales exclusively through licensed veterinarians. Unless the internet pharmacy is owned by a veterinarian, all internet sales of these products are through non-approved channels. Pharmaceutical manufacturers will only honor product guarantees when medications are prescribed by and purchased from the pet’s veterinarian. This includes reimbursement programs like Heartgard offers if your pet is diagnosed with heartworms. Please ask us about the guarantees on Heartgard, Advantage, Frontline, Revolution, and all of our prescription diets.

FDA-Approved Medications

Any prescription medication purchased from our hospital has been inspected and approved by the FDA, and is manufactured and packaged according to US government regulations. Our prescriptions (including medication, concentration, and administration instructions) are reviewed by a veterinarian to minimize errors. In addition, since we keep close track of medications dispensed to your pet, we can inform you immediately of any product recalls or health concerns involving your pet’s medications.

Problems with Internet Pharmacies

Here at Maple Ridge Veterinary Clinic, our clients always have the option of having a prescription filled at an internet pharmacy. However, in response to concerns about internet pharmacies’ safety and credibility, we will no longer work directly with any internet pharmacies. If you choose to pursue purchasing prescription medications through an internet pharmacy, we will provide you with a written prescription that you can mail to the internet pharmacy of your choice.

Because of the increasing number of internet pharmacies, we cannot determine if a specific internet pharmacy is a safe, ethical, and legal provider of medications.

Some medications sold on-line:
• are fake (counterfeit or “copycat” medications)
• are too strong or too weak
• have dangerous ingredients
• have expired
• aren’t FDA approved (haven’t been checked for safety and effectiveness)
• aren’t made using safe standards
• aren’t safe to use with other medications your pet uses
• aren’t labeled, stored, or shipped correctly
• aren’t sold by websites that will protect your personal information
• aren’t sold by US state-licensed pharmacies or any pharmacies at all

Some internet pet pharmacies have been in trouble because of “Alternate Veterinarian” programs. These programs have a veterinarian working for the pharmacy who writes a prescription for your pet. These programs are illegal, because by law, your pet must have an examination in order for medication to be prescribed. As your attending veterinarian, we have a much better understanding of your pet’s medical history, other medications he or she is on, and current state of health to prescribe medications safely and appropriately.

Another problem with on-line pharmacies is that they may not be selling medications that are approved in the US. A US drug company recently sued three internet pet pharmacies for selling foreign drugs. These products may have different strengths and labeling than US products. Look closely at medication ordered from an internet pharmacy. “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian” should be printed on the box or label. Do not use a product if it does not have this warning, or if the original seal is not present. Instead, file a complaint with the Illinois Board of Pharmacy.

Tips on Using Internet Veterinary Pharmacies

Although some web sites operate legally, there are some that do not—even ones that look sophisticated and legitimate. One way to check on an internet pharmacy’s reputation is to look for the VIPPS seal of approval. VIPPS stands for Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. It is a service of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The VIPPS website (www.nabp.net) lists qualifying on-line pharmacies.

Report complaints about an internet pet pharmacy to the Illinois Board of Pharmacy (phone 217-785-0800). In case of problems, always print any forms and order confirmations from the website. Always keep copies of information mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to the pharmacy, and document any phone calls concerning your order. Check prescription drug names, concentration, and instructions for administrations against the information given to you by your veterinarian, in case there are errors.

For more information on internet veterinary pharmacies, go to:


Go to www.fda.gov/buyonline/ and click on “Notify FDA about problem websites” if you have a complaint.
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