Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Medication Nightmares: or why you shouldn't give medication to your pet without talking to a vet first, by Dr. Dana Lewis

Always ask your veterinarian before administering any medications, supplements, herbal remedies, etc. to your pet. Here are some common household meds you might think are safe but they are NOT.

Aspirin: While dogs can be given aspirin with caution, this can cause major GI ulceration if given inappropriately, and also disrupt clotting leading to your pet hemorrhaging. It is a huge NO-NO in cats. They cannot metabolize it fast enough. Signs of aspirin toxicosis may include fever, rapid breathing, vomiting, melena (black digested blood in stool), abdominal pain, seizures, and coma.

Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate: Again, proceed with caution in dogs, and a huge NO in cats as this product contains bismuth subsalicylate which is an equivalent to ASPIRIN!

Ibuprofen (Advil): I don’t recommend it in dogs due to great risk for GI ulcers and kidney failure. And never in cats.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol): The active ingredient in Tylenol® and other commonly used over- the-counter medications, such as Percocet®, aspirin-free Excedrin®, and various sinus, cold, and flu medications, is acetaminophen. Lots of human doctors no longer recommend this for people. We don’t use it in our house. I would never give it to a pet: Can cause liver failure in dogs, in cats it will KILL them. Yes, kill them. One tablet. Bad news, Causes damage to red blood cells and liver failure.

Topical steroid creams: If ingested, and pet is on an NSAID it increases the risk of GI ulcers. Also, even if pet is not on an NSAID, chronic consumption or absorption through the skin can cause iatrogenic Cushing’s disease. (iatrogenic means caused by you, and Cushing’s disease is when you have too much cortisol in your body and you become more prone to infection, poor wound healing, liver damage, thin coat and thin skin, loss of muscle mass, and a bunch of other problems.) Also, some topical steroids are in combo with calcipotriene which can cause elevated blood calcium that can result in kidney failure, heart failure, and possibly death. 

Garlic: not only does it not work on fleas, as a member of the onion family it is toxic to red blood cells and destroys them.

Imodium (loperamide): Some collies and other breeds cannot metabolize this drug properly (the same dogs who cannot metabolize ivermectin). It causes neurotoxicity (dog becomes depressed/confused/comatose).

Benadryl and other antihistamines: Can cause hyperexcitability, increased heart rate, fever, and seizures.

Expectorants and antihistamines (many have pseudoephedrine): Pseudoephedrine causes tremors, elevated heart rate and/or blood pressure. It doesn’t take much to kill a pet.

Desitin and some other diaper creams: Contain zinc and ingestion can lead to zinc toxicosis which causes destruction of red blood cells.

Holistic stuff to prevent heartworms: not only do they not prevent heartworm disease they aren’t safe. Stick with what the veterinarians recommend.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Kills healthy skin cells and can cause aspiration pneumonia if in the process of administering it orally it gets into the lungs.

So please do not let your pet become a statistic as a result of the medicine cabinet.

Blog written by:
Dr. Dana Lewis

Dr. Dana assists families with Pet Hospice and Euthanasia in the Raleigh North Carolina area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle, as well as Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties.)

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