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. 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. The cheapest
price I heard of in 2017 is US$30 for a case, but prices bounce
all over the place these days, and the current going rate
for most people appears to be around US$35-120 a case. This is still
cheaper than what many vets charge.
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.
Approaching Local Pharmacies
of the fluids shortage in the USA, it is not as easy as it was to find
fluids locally, but here is a strategy that might help. If you get
lucky, you should receive your fluids quickly and at a reasonable price.
Visit or call your local pharmacy (if you visit, take
your cat's prescription with you). Try to speak to a pharmacist rather
than a clerk if possible - apparently the pharmacist has access to the
full catalogue whereas the clerks often do not.
It is particularly important to explain that you wish to order the
fluids - most branches do not hold them in stock, but can order them
quickly, though not every employee realises this.
It greatly increases your chances of success if you
can provide the pharmacist with the NDC (National Drug Code) for your
Try to use a
Most of these cards are free yet may give you a lower price for
your fluids. Many people print out all of these
cards, then ask the pharmacist to check which one gives them the biggest
discount and use that.
If you decide to source your fluids from Walgreens,
you can consider having your cat join the Walgreen's discount scheme,
Prescription Savings Club
(though sometimes the free discount cards
give you a better price, so check before you sign up).
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. your cat). You can sign up
online or in the store. Unfortunately this is
not available if you live in Washington State.
If you live in Florida, there is a new programme
available at 17 stores. According to the
price list dated March 2018,
under this scheme you can buy one bag of LRS for US$9.70, or three for
US$21.10 (so presumably a case of 12 would cost US$84.40).
One thing to note about Walgreens is that,
following a change of supplier in 2014, it no longer supplies
fluids, so you will have to decide if this is a dealbreaker for you.
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 double check the price before you order so you
don't get any nasty shocks.
Ask the pharmacist to order the fluids for you if you
are happy with the price quoted. Wait for the fluids to arrive (it
should only take a day or so) and go and collect them.
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.
You usually print them out and then take them with you to your local
pharmacy and see which one gets you the biggest discount.
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
accepts this card for pet medications, though some people have used it
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
TREATING YOUR CAT WITHOUT VETERINARY ADVICE CAN BE
tried very hard to ensure that the information provided in this website is
accurate, but I am NOT a vet, just an ordinary person who has lived
through CKD with three cats. This website is for educational purposes
only, and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cat. Before
trying any of the treatments described herein, you MUST consult a
qualified veterinarian and obtain professional advice on the correct
regimen for your cat and his or her particular requirements; and you
should only use any treatments described here with the full knowledge and
approval of your vet. No responsibility can be accepted.
If your cat
appears to be in pain or distress, do not waste time on the internet,
contact your vet immediately.
This site was
created using Microsoft software, and therefore it is best viewed in
Internet Explorer. I know it doesn't always display too well in other
browsers, but I'm not an IT expert so I'm afraid I don't know how to
change that. I would love it to display perfectly everywhere, but my focus
is on making the information available. When I get time, I'll try to
improve how it displays in other browsers.
You may print
out one copy of each section of this site for your own information and/or
one copy to give to your vet, but this site may not otherwise be
reproduced or reprinted, on the internet or elsewhere, without the
permission of the site owner, who can be contacted via the
This site is a labour of love, from which I do not make
a penny. Please do not steal from me by taking credit for my work.
If you wish to
link to this site, please feel free to do so. Please make it clear that
this is a link and not your own work. I would appreciate being informed of