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We live in an age of almost instantaneous information. 24-hour news stations, talk radio, and the Internet have revolutionized the way we think and educate ourselves. It is easier than ever to research a topic and make decisions about almost any subject, even the medical care of our families and our pets. But how do we decide what is the best advice on caring for our four legged family members?

For most pet owners their veterinarian is their primary source for advice. In fact, veterinarians consistently rank in the Top 5 of America's most trusted professions. Despite these warm feelings of trust, the urge and desire to save money on our pet's care is a big factor in who pet owners will turn to for advice. One example would be the increase in chat rooms, blogs, and other media sources that highlight pet "experts" other than veterinarians. Anyone can post information on the Web. There is no requirement that the person actually be an expert. And while much valuable information can be found, there is also much that is inaccurate or just plain incorrect or dangerous.

When it comes to understanding how all aspects of a pet's environment, genetics, physical health, and even mental and emotional health are related, your family veterinarian, with his or her years of intensive post-graduate training in medicine and surgery, is still the best choice to provide you with the answers you need. Veterinarians have either a D.V.M. or a V.M.D. degree. This Doctor of Veterinary Medicine designation is your assurance of proper training and the completion of a university accredited curriculum. Just like your doctor, some veterinarians become specialists, focusing on internal medicine, dermatology, or even family practice.

Knowing this, a good place to start to find accurate and up-to-date information on animal health care, is your veterinarian's web site. Most veterinary sites have links to pre-approved veterinary medical sites, such as www.veterinarypartner.com or sites associated with the nearest veterinary teaching hospital. The best part about visiting your family veterinarian's web site is the comfort of knowing it comes from your pet's doctor - who knows your pet and your family best.

Other trustworthy sites might include the website for the Companion Animal Parasite Council (www.petsandparasites.com), the kennel club website (www.akc.org) and even some manufacturers (www.merial.com).  The huge pipeline of information that is the Internet is an incredible resource at your fingertips. But frankly it should come with a warning label - "Caution, the information you receive or the products you buy may or may not be correct. For the health care of your special pet friend you, your veterinarian and your pet are the best team to ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life.

Why You Should Not Order Your Pet's Meds from an Internet Source, Including Those Advertised on T.V.

  • Major manufacturers of veterinary pharmaceuticals do not supply medications to internet pharmacies.
  • There is no regulatory agency overseeing internet pharmacies.
  • Therefore, manufacturers will not guarantee a medication or cover any medication failure or adverse reaction if the product came from an internet source.
  • Internet pharmacies may get their supply from illicit sources within the US. Some come from overseas where the product may, or may not be equivalent.
  • The FDA did a study where it took pharmaceutical drugs shipped into the US and sent them to a laboratory for analysis. Only 10 % met FDA standards.
  • 80% of Canadian pharmacies are not actually located in Canada.
  • Counterfeit medications are a large issue in other countries and the problem is seeping into the US.
  • The EPA had a warning about counterfeit, name brand flea medicine sold on the internet.
  • When medication is counterfeited, they also counterfeit the packaging.
  • Ordering medicines from an internet source is a potentially dangerous and expensive way to obtain medications.
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