In a society of searching for the best bargain, the internet has made it possible for pet owners to find non-regulated sources of important vaccines and preventatives for cheaper prices. The problem with that is there is no way to know how the product was handled until it reached you for administration.

Vaccines are required to be stored between 35.6oF and 44.6oF and are shipped directly to veterinarians from the manufacturer. They are packed in ice and overnighted, where they are opened upon arrival and stored in a temperature-monitored refrigerator. This is the appropriate protocol for vaccines.

Unfortunately, our cost-conscious society has pet owners going to their local feed store to purchase them because they’re cheaper. Feed store vaccines are kept in a refrigerator, but are the temperatures monitored regularly? How long were they on a shipping trailer; where interior temperatures can reach well over 150oF? Just think, if the vaccines reach above 44.6oF, they’re no longer effective. There are so many unknown variables; making vaccine purchases from feed stores risky at best.

The same situation holds true for ordering vaccines online. Most pet owners will choose standard shipping and in 7 – 10 days will receive their vaccines, the ice pack is melted, and the vaccine is no longer effective.

When it comes to buying your monthly flea and tick, or heartworm preventatives, it’s just as important to ensure your source is legitimate. Federal law bans the sale of prescription drugs without a prescription for pets and humans. If you come across a website that will sell heart-worm prevention without a prescription, then steer clear. A common practice is to resale expired medications by re-packaging them in someone’s basement. It’s very important to know that there are several counterfeit versions of preventatives online and the packaging is so convincing you would never know.

In the end, you may have saved money for the moment, but now you’re faced with the expense of treatment for an illness due to vaccine or preventative failure. Your pet’s health is in your hands, do the right thing, and always have vaccines administered by a veterinarian and ensure online shopping is through a legitimate, reputable site.

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