Even if you do not live in a state where the vet
must give you a prescription if you ask for one, the
American Veterinary Medical Association
states "As a veterinarian, when you determine that a medication is
needed for a patient, you can discuss with your client the benefits of
having the drug dispensed directly from your clinic. If your client
still wants the prescription filled elsewhere, you should comply with
their wish and provide a written prescription."
Using Local Pharmacies
Subcutaneous Fluids Tips for more information on the various types of
fluid that are sold for use in cats. In practice, most people use lactated
ringers solution (LRS).
The cheapest source for fluids is usually to find a local
pharmacy in your area offering low prices. This has several advantages:
It saves on shipping costs, which are often expensive
since fluids are heavy.
You will often be able to obtain the fluids more
Your vet may be more comfortable about you using a
local pharmacy and therefore more inclined to give you the prescription
Most pharmacies do not stock fluids but until 2014
chains such as Walgreen's, Costco, Target
CVS could all often obtain fluids for you
quickly and cheaply,
under US$30 a case (a case usually refers to
twelve bags of 1000 ml fluid, though occasionally it will be for
fourteen bags of 1000 ml fluid).The Costco
record is US$7 for a case (and that was in NYC). Using a discount card
issued by the
pharmacy chain itself or one of the discount cards discussed
below can also
result in worthwhile savings: the record for a purchase with a discount card
(a locally issued card in this case) was US$5.99 for
a case at a Target branch in Texas.
Before you get your hopes up, I have to tell you that sadly, in light of the continuing nationwide
obtaining fluids locally is not as easy as it used to be, and the
cheapest price I've heard of in 2016 is US$32 for a case. Prices bounce
all over the place these days, but the current (July 2016) going rate
for most people appears to be around US$70-80 a case. Clearly not as
good as US$7, but it is still cheaper than what a lot of vets charge.
Before you place your order, ask the pharmacist to call their supplier or check the
online system to make sure the supplier has your chosen fluids in stock.
Otherwise you could be disappointed a few days later when they call to
tell you they can't fill your order after all.
Also ask for the price before you order so you don't
get any nasty shocks.
Do not wait until you are about to run out
of fluids before
trying to source them. Since fluids are usually good for at least a year,
if your cat seems stable I would try to obtain a case or two as soon as
you can so as not to have the potential headache of trying and failing to
find any at short notice later in the year.
If you are
purchasing your fluids locally, it is often very worthwhile to use a
discount card. Different cards are accepted by different pharmacies, so
I would try obtaining all these cards
and then see which one gets you the biggest discount at your local
Tanya's CKD Support Group
have not received any spam as a result
of using the cards, though many choose to use an inaccurate e-mail
address to be on the safe side (this won't work for the GoodRx card,
which e-mails you the card). See below for tips on obtaining fluids from
Here are the cards which members have used
This card has been used successfully by many members
of my support group. In February 2014, one person was able to obtain a
case of 12 bags of fluid from her local Walgreens for US$16 using the
previous version of this card. I have been told that Wal-Mart no longer
accept this card for pet medications.
This card has been used successfully by many members
of my support group but it is not free. It costs US$35 a year for family
membership, which includes cats, or US$20 a year for an individual (i.e.
I haven't heard from anyone who has used this card to date.
National Drug Code (NDC) Numbers
If you are purchasing fluids locally, It can help a
lot if you have NDC (National Drug Code)
numbers, which enable pharmacists to search their stock and supplier
NDCs consist of 11 numbers
in total: the manufacturer code
(five numbers), followed by the drug code
(four numbers), followed by the size code (two
numbers). If a number is missing, you usually
just add an extra 0 at the beginning of the section with the missing
These are the NDC codes for the most
Many members of
Tanya's CKD Support Group use
their local Walgreen's pharmacy for their fluids.
It can be a bit fiddly (you
need to follow the
steps below exactly)
and you may still need to be
persistent (very few Walgreen's employees seem to know what fluids are),
and even if you are persistent, Walgreens may not be able to obtain fluids for you
because of the nationwide shortage. However, if you get lucky,
you should receive your fluids quickly and at a very good price.
Unfortunately, following a change of supplier in 2014, Walgreens no
DEHP-free fluids, so you will have to decide if this is a
dealbreaker for you.
It also now seems to sell bags of 500ml fluids rather than 1000ml, but
you can just order 24 instead of 12 to obtain the equivalent of a case
of fluids. Some people who do not give sub-Qs to their cat that often
actually prefer the smaller bags.
This is how to obtain your fluids from Walgreen's at a good
Be sure to use the link given, it will
save you time and ensure you are in the correct place.
into the Price Your Drugs box on the left (you will need to allow
cookies), then click search. You should see Lactated Ringers Injection,
500.0 ml package. Click on the link, then choose Package, 24. The price
shown as at July 2016 is US$72.04 for 24 bags of 500ml of fluids (which
is the equivalent of 12 1000ml bags).
If you want Normosol, type normosol into the box
instead of lactated. The price as at July 2016 was US$73.33 for 12 1000ml
Print the page displaying the prices and take it to
your local Walgreen's, along with your cat's prescription. Try to speak
to a pharmacist rather than a clerk if possible - apparently the
pharmacist has access to the full catalogue whereas the clerks don't.
The pharmacist will probably also need the NDC
(National Drug Code) for your fluids, see
Try to use a discount card.
These cards are free yet in some cases may give you a
lower price for your fluids.
Many people print out all of these cards, then ask
Walgreens to check which one gives them the biggest discount and use
Alternatively, apply for your cat to join the Walgreen's discount scheme, the
Prescription Savings Club. This costs US$35 a year for family
membership, which includes cats
(if you already have a family membership, you can add your cat to it for
free), or US$20 a year for an individual (i.e.
Ask the pharmacist to order the fluids for you at or
near the price on the page you have printed. Some
will actually sell them for less, especially if you have a
discount card. In
May 2016, for example, one person was able to obtain a case of 12 1000ml
bags for US$32 using the GoodRX card. However, other people are being
asked to pay the full amount, which is probably because of the current
fluids shortage and the fact that Hospira (a fluid manufacturer) greatly
increased their prices.
Wait for the fluids to arrive (it should only take a
day or so) and go and collect them.
particularly important to take the print-out with you to prove Walgreen's
can obtain these supplies - many Walgreen's employees do not seem to be aware that it is possible. It is also essential to explain that
you wish to order the fluids - most branches do not hold them in stock,
but can order them quickly.
Sources for Fluids Listed by State
The list is
ordered by state, so please click on the letter relating to your state. If
there is no information, it is because I have not been advised of any
suppliers as yet.
notice many people were able to obtain better prices using a variety of
discount cards. You can read more about these
read here about how to go about obtaining discounts at Walgreens.