Veterinarians warn of black market pet meds

A Central Florida veterinarian is warning pet owners about buying flea, tic and heart worm prevention drugs on the black market.  

"The safety issues and risks posed are very real," said Dr. Sarika Patel of Shaffer Animal Hospital who added it could have fatal consequences.  

Tyler Lee Vance now behind bars charged with burglary, damaging property and dealing in stolen goods.  Oviedo Police say he broke into two  of their local vet clinics wiping out their medicine supply cabinets.  Dr. Sarika Patel says she arrived at her clinic only to discover their side door shattered and her supply room door locked.  

"Once it was unlocked and we looked in there, realized that we were missing pretty much everything on the shelf of value," said Dr. Patel. 

Oviedo Police shared pictures of part of the stolen stash totaling $34,000 in pet meds they found in Vance's Winter Park home.  Each box, a six month supply costs upward of $120.  Detectives say Vance was advertising those same meds on Facebook for a fraction of the cost.  Dr. Patel says anyone who bought these drugs on the black market should be concerned.  

"You have no idea where that product came from, no idea where it's been, you have no idea if it's tainted. If it's sitting in Florida heat in 95 degrees in  the trunk in some guy's car and he's selling it to you, there is no guarantee that it's going work. And there's no guarantee it's safe and hasn't been altered in some sort of way," said Dr. Patel. 

Dr. Patel says each of those medications is sold in different sizes for different sized dogs.

"There are medication overdoses that can happen that can be very dangerous," said Dr. Patel.  

She also says if a dog has heart worms, and starts taking heart worm prevention, that could send them into anaphylactic shock.  

"It can cause some very serious damage or even death, so you do want to make sure you have that negative test," said Dr. Patel.  

The doctor says bottom line, only buy these types of drugs from your dogs veterinarian or from a reputable veterinary retailer through a prescription.