Buying pet medications online

(FOX19/WBTV) - When Paige Butler's dog, Weezie, got an ear infection, Paige went online to get medicine.

"It's cheaper," said Paige. "We do our research. We don't just go buy anything, but its just cheaper."

Dr. Kim Hombs is a veterinarian in North Carolina. She says many pet owners ask her about filling pet prescriptions online.

"Used to be we did okay it, but then there were more and more reports of issues," said Hombs. "It was products labeled that didn't have what they said they had, weren't shipped properly, too hot or too cold or whatever."

Health problems were caused by medicines that just didn't work. Dr. Hombs doesn't recommend online pet pill shopping anymore.

Even the FDA thinks it's issue enough to post a video warning on it's website.

"Even though millions and millions of people order online every year, the pharmacy they're ordering from may not be a pharmacy, it may not be in this country, it may be off shore or in someone's garage," said Gigi Davidson with North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Davidson says many of these pharmacies don't follow the rules set up to ensure your pet's safety.

"The American Veterinary Medicine Association gets hundreds of complaints a year from vets that have clients who received prescriptions from Internet pharmacies that they never authorized," said Davidson.

Still, people do buy online. So how do you find out if a particular website is reputable?

The VIPPS certification is the first thing to look for. It shows the company at least meets federal and state guidelines. You can also check it's history with the FDA and your state board of pharmacy.

Another thing to check for is the dosing to be in pounds, not kilograms.

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