When it comes to the health of your pets, medications play an important role in preventing disease, increasing longevity, and making for a healthier, happier pet. Whether it’s antibiotics, pain meds, or flea and tick prevention, there are various things to keep in mind when choosing the right medication for your furry family member.
“Avoid most human pain medications (such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen), as well as most combination cold/flu medications and Pepto-Bismol,” said Dr. Micah Bishop, a Veterinary Resident at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “If an over-the-counter medication is prescribed, ask your vet for the active ingredients you are looking for in a medication.”
You should also be wary when purchasing any drug through a website. “Some of these companies are not monitored by government regulatory agencies and their products may not contain what is claimed,” said Bishop.
Just like during your doctor visits, veterinarians need to know the drugs or supplements that your pet is currently taking in order to appropriately recommend another medication. Some drugs can react differently with a drug or supplement that is already in your pet’s system, so this information is important in order for your vet to choose the safest option for your pet. “You should ask how often the drug should be given, whether it needs to be given with food or an empty stomach, and for how long,” Bishop said. “Make sure that you are willing and available to give drugs that need to be administered two or three times a day. If not, let the vet know and they may be able to find an alternative.” Giving medications as they are prescribed is vital to their effectiveness for the treatment of your pet’s condition.
Not all pets are the same, and various breeds can react differently to medications. “Some breeds, like Collies, are sensitive to de-wormer medications such as ivermectins at high doses, due to a specific gene,” Bishop said. It is important to ask your vet ahead of time if the medication has any negative side effects specific to certain breeds. Should your animal have a negative reaction to a medication prescribed, you need to let your vet know immediately. “Although most drugs used in veterinary medicine are quite safe or cause only mild side effects, some drugs can have severe or life threatening side effects if not recognized,” Bishop said.
Whether you’re treating Spot for pain, fleas or worms, his health remains your top priority. It is always important to thoroughly research any new medications prescribed as well as keep a list of all current medications and supplements. Doing this, in addition to closely following any directions or suggestions that your veterinarian provides, will ensure that Spot’s spots are tick free, and he can return to his noble title as king of the couch.