Health & Spirit

Protecting your pet from fake meds

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

From "Lady and the Tramp" (1955) to "A Lucky Dog: Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot" (2003) and "A Dog's Purpose" (2016), it's clear we love our pooches on and off the page and screen, and that we want to give them the best life we can. But you can get derailed, warns the Food and Drug Administration, if you buy your canine's medications online.

In 2013, American consumers spent $7.6 billion on prescription and over-the-counter pet meds, and there are ever more nonveterinary outlets for purchase of these medications, opening the floodgates to internet scammers offering unapproved, expired and counterfeit meds at a discount.

Two of the medications that the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine is most concerned about are heartworm preventives and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Both, says the CVM, can be very dangerous if your vet doesn't get involved.

So how can you be sure you're getting pet medications that are safe and effective?

1. Always involve your vet. Get a written prescription, purchase the medications from the veterinary office itself or use an internet outsourced prescription management service that your veterinarian approves. Never buy a medication from an internet site that does not require a prescription.

2. Buy only from sites that end with ".pharmacy" (like ".com") address. There's a new Pharmacy Verified Websites Program with strict enrollment standards worldwide; only reliable pharmacies can get that url.


3. Never allow an online site to have supposed veterinarians "diagnose and prescribe" by having YOU fill out a form describing your pet's health issue!


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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