Every month at Bothell Pet Hospital, we choose an in-house topic to educate our staff. This month’s topic is drugs and pharmacology; below are some of the most common drug FAQs that every pet owner should know.
1. Common Human Medications
Many medications and anesthetic agents we use are also used in human medicine. For example, if your pet requires anesthesia, it may be premedicated with hydromorphone (a potent narcotic), induced with IV propofol, and maintained on isoflurane gas through an endotracheal tube. All of these are commonly used in any human hospital. Likewise a large number of antibiotics, cardiac medications, gastrointestinal drugs, and analgesics are also found in human pharmacies.
Did you know that just one acetaminophen (Tylenol) tablet can kill a cat? Or giving ibuprofen to a dog can cause serious gastrointestinal side effects? Many human drugs, including both prescription and over-the-counter, must NOT be used in our pets. Please ask us before administering anything to your pet, as the result could be life-threatening.
3. Steroids and NSAIDS
We commonly prescribe steroids (i.e. prednisone) for various medical conditions. You should never administer these at the same time as an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Metacam, Rimadyl, and Deramaxx, as doing so can lead to stomach ulceration.
4. Finish giving the medication
If your pet has been prescribed an antibiotic, be sure to give the medication for the entire designated length of time. Stopping the medication too soon can lead to incomplete resolution of the infection, as well as resistant bacteria.
5. Antibiotics are not always appropriate
Not every infection can or should be treated with antibiotics. For example, many upper respiratory infections in dogs and cats are viral, and need to run their course. As medical professionals, we attempt to limit antibiotic use so as to decrease the incidence of resistant bacteria.
Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are not pharmaceuticals, rather they are “nutraceuticals.” As such, they are not regulated by the FDA, and there is no real quality control. Just because a label claims to have a certain milligrams of product, we can not be sure. Therefore we recommend using a product that has its ingredients tested, and are happy to make recommendations.
All drugs are processed by various body organs. Sometimes long term use of a drug can have negative effects on an organ, such as long-term use of the anti-seizure phenobarbital, which can affect the liver. Blood testing may be recommended by your veterinarian to ensure that liver and/or kidney function is appropriate for metabolizing a particular medication, and to monitor your pet’s organs if they are on a long-term drug.
Want to Learn More?
Never hesitate to ask the veterinarians at Bothell Pet Hospital during your next visit!