Pets and Your Medicine Cabinet
By: Liza Ledet, DVM
While there are many similarities in the organ systems between dogs humans, there are significant differences in how they process certain drugs and medications. They are NOT small humans and some everyday drugs that we do not think twice about taking can be deadly to your pets even at what might seem like a small dose.
Last week, my receptionist came to me with a question about a client who was on the phone needing advice. The day before I had seen the puppy for vaccinations. I mentioned to the owner the puppy may be sore where the vaccines were given and he may even be lethargic for 24 hours or so. *We instructed the owner to call with any concerns and that she could try a cool compress over the injection sites if necessary. The owner did in fact feel the puppy was very sore, and instead of calling our hospital to find out what to do, she gave the 5 pound puppy a 200mg Ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen is not a pain reliever of choice for dogs because there are safer veterinary designed options, however, it does have a recommended dose. The 200mg tablet was over 20 times the recommended dose for a dog that size. The puppy was vomiting uncontrollably. We told the owner to bring him in immediately for treatment. Ibuprofen toxicity is dose related- at lower toxic doses it causes vomiting, diarrhea, possibly stomach ulcers, then it can damage the kidneys, and at highest amounts cause neurologic signs like seizures and coma.
We aggressively treated the puppy with fluids, charcoal to absorb any remaining drug, and stomach protectants like Pepcid to prevent any gastric ulcers. He did have a mild increase in his kidney values and we kept him in the hospital on fluids for two days. He stopped vomiting and quickly responded to his fluid therapy. He was sent home eating and feeling great with his kidney values back to normal.
You should always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any medications what were not prescribed for that specific pet. If you find your pet ill after hours, there are 24 hour emergency clinics in all metro areas and only a phone call away no matter where you live. Do not take it upon yourself to give your pet your medications as it may cause more harm than good. If your pet has been ill with persistent symptoms, it is best to bring your pet to your veterinarian. Sometimes they are sicker than how they appear and immediate treatment may save your pet discomfort and save money.
Pounds matter…almost all veterinary medications are dosed based upon the patient’s weight. We must be very cautious especially in our tiniest pets. Cats are even more sensitive to certain drugs, especially medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen and even one pill can be lethal because their bodies cannot process and handle them.
Over-the-counter medications to NEVER give to cats- Aspirin, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Pepto Bismol, and Kaopectate.
You may be able to ease your pet’s symptoms at home with a few common household medications:
This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any animal or medical condition. Always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to your pet. If your pet is having any persistent symptoms, you should bring your pet to your veterinarian’s office.
Liza Ledet, DVM
Mandeville Animal Hospital
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