FAQ

 

 

Is there a difference between the brand name version and the generic version of a medication?

For the most part, no. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) sets the standards for the quality, purity, strength and consistency of all prescription and OTC medications in the U.S. – the goal is to make sure that the product you purchase meets these standards. If you look closely at the drug labels, you’ll see “USP” printed after the drug name in the ingredients list – and sometimes it’s printed clearly on the front label of the bottle/box. Based on USP standards, for example, generic ibuprofen is the same drug as the brand name-versions of ibuprofen (of the same strength) as far as the quality, purity, and consistency are concerned.

However, we have heard some anecdotal and unconfirmed reports of pets that had been receiving a brand name medication, but did not do as well when given a generic version of the same medication. Although all USP versions of a drug meet the purity standards for that drug, all of the ingredients and the processes involved in making the trade name versions are often protected by patent or other intellectual property laws, and there may be differences in the minor ingredients that could produce slightly different results between the versions, while still providing the main drug that meets USP standards. Think of it as following a recipe – even if you have the same ingredients and follow the instructions, the end result might vary a little bit. This is not a common problem with medications, and is often resolved by switching back to the effective version of the medication.

What is a 'compounded prescription'?

If your doctor recommends a prescription that is not commercially available, or a form, taste or dose of a product that is not made that particular way, then The Pet Apothecary can compound, or custom make the prescription to the specifications your doctor requests. As stated above, compounding is done to provide a method to make a treatment available in a way that will be tolerated by the patient, in this case, your pet.

Am I able to pick up prescriptions?

Yes: we are open Monday through Thursday from 10am to 5:30pm and Friday from 9am to 4pm. We are also available by appointment before hours, after hours and on Sunday.

What is the best way to apply the transdermal gels?

Remove the cap from the syringe. Cover a finger with a glove, or plastic bag. Then gently push the barrel of the syringe so the the dose (typically 0.1ml or 0.05ml as indicated on the prescription label) is extruded. Put the small bead of gel on your covered finger and apply the medication to the pinnea of the ear (tip of the ear with less hair on it). At the same time your applying the dose to the ear, take a dab of water(again on a covered finger) and apply the water to the opposite ear so that any excess gel previously applied is removed. Click here to learn more about applying a transdermal gel.

How do I give my pet liquid medication from the bottle that was provided?

The medication you were sent came in a bottle in one of two ways. 1) When you remove the cap, there is a plug underneath 2) Attached to the bottle is a blue replacement cap.

In the first case where there is a plug underneath the cap, insert the syringe, and turn the bottle upside down. Withdraw the liquid into the syringe to the correct dose (usually marked with a line put onto the syringe). Turn the bottle right side up, and withdraw the syringe. The medication can be administered to the pet.

In the second case, unscrew the cap of the bottle and replace the cap with the blue cap. The syringe fits into the new blue cap: and when inserted, tip the bottle/syringe upside down. Fill the syringe to the correct dose (usually marked with a line put onto the syringe). Turn the bottle right side up, and withdraw the syringe. The medication can be administered to the pet.

Why do I need a prescription?

When you are given a prescription for a medication for your pet, it means that your veterinarian has made a decision that the medication is recommended or necessary to treat your pet’s health problem. Many prescription drugs are only effective for specific problems, and may actually be harmful to your pet if used without that critical veterinary examination and diagnosis. Having these drugs available as prescription-only medications ensures that they are used appropriately.

Let’s take heartworm preventives as an example. Heartworm preventives are labeled as “prescription-only” because it’s critical that your veterinarian makes sure the medication is the right one based on your pet’s health status. The preventives target the microfilaria, which are the larvae of heartworms that circulate in the blood and eventually become adult heartworms. If your dog (or cat) has heartworms, giving the preventive medication will not effectively treat the disease because the preventives don’t readily kill adult heartworms, and it could potentially cause a life-threatening reaction if your pet has a large number of microfilaria circulating in its bloodstream.

There are drugs, called “over the counter” (OTC) drugs, that don’t require prescriptions. Drugs can be bought OTC when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines that the directions for the drug’s use aren’t overly complicated and are adequate for the public to follow. In some cases, such as the common headache medications for people, the OTC version is just a weaker strength than the prescription form. However, in many cases, a medication is only available with a prescription for the reasons we mention above.

My veterinarian gave me a prescription for a pain reliever for my pet. Why can't I just buy one of the over-the-counter pain relievers at my local drug store?

Don’t do it! Although these products are approved for use in people, many of them are not safe for pets. For example, acetaminophen (Tylenol® is the most common example) can cause severe illness, and even death, in pets. Talk to your veterinarian before you give ANY medication to your pet.

Why should I consider getting my pet's medications from my veterinarian?

There are several reasons you should consider getting your pet’s medications from your veterinarian:
If your veterinarian has the medication in stock, you immediately have it and you don’t have to wait to get it from a pharmacy;

Your veterinarian or a veterinary technician can answer your questions, provide you with instructions for use, and maybe even demonstrate how to give your pet the medication; If you order from a pharmacy and the medication isn’t properly shipped (for example, it is allowed to get too hot or too cold) or isn’t properly packaged, it could be ineffective or damaged and unusable; whereas if you get it from your veterinarian, you know it has been properly handled until it reaches you and they can inform you how to make sure you handle the medication properly.

If I choose to get my pet's prescriptions filled elsewhere, can my veterinarian refuse to give me a prescription?

Your veterinarian might strongly recommend that you get the medication directly from them, but some states actually require veterinarians to write prescriptions for clients to have filled elsewhere if requested by the client. Some states do not require this of veterinarians.

There are certainly situations where it is in your pet’s best interest to get the medication directly from your veterinarian, and we encourage you to discuss your options with your veterinarian. The AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics recommends that veterinarians comply with their client’s wishes and provide written prescriptions if the client prefers having the prescription filled elsewhere.

Can my veterinarian charge me a fee for writing a prescription for my pet?

There is no federal law preventing your veterinarian from charging you a fee for their services and time invested in writing a prescription. Some veterinarians charge a nominal fee for writing prescriptions, but others don’t. Individual states might have specific guidance for veterinarians on prescription fees.

Compounding Customized Medications to Solve Dosage & Administration Problems.