Human and Pet Medications Are Not Interchangeable

Posted on November 5, 2013

One of the biggest challenges for pet owners is figuring both when an animal should be provided with some type of pain medication and what type of drug is acceptable for them.  Rather than simply providing pets with the same pain medication than an owner would themselves take, citizens must realize that not all medications intended for humans are acceptable for pets.  In fact, they could be putting their pets at far greater risk than that posed by the original injury.

The Food and Drug Administration has come out with a consumer health update outlining the precautions that pet owners have to take to ensure safety.  The update focuses specifically on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, otherwise known as NSAIDs.  The information is particularly important for those persons whose dogs and cats are aging and suffering from the onset of arthritis and other conditions to understand.

When your pet appears to be in pain, then you’ll want to bring them to a vet so that you can be sure the right form of therapy can be obtained.  If the animal’s sluggishness or limp can in fact be attributed to mere soreness, then the veterinarian will likely prescribe some type of NSAID.  Dogs can get away with longterm consumption of these items, while cats will likely only be allowed such a therapy for a short period of time.

Just because this is perhaps the most common mode of treatment does not mean that there aren’t certain risks to take into consideration, though.  NSAIDS can do damage to an animal’s liver and kidneys, especially if their past is marked by illnesses affecting those organs.  Ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract are also a possibility.

Pet owners should inquire as to the possibility of blood tests over the initial weeks of therapy so that potential health issues related to an NSAID would be detected at once.  Owners should also be on the lookout for increased sluggishness, diminished appetite, and nausea and diarrhea.

Many pet owners may opt to provide their pets with the types of medication they would take for pain.  Unfortunately, acetaminophen and other types of drugs can contribute to serious illnesses within pets.  Even those items that would otherwise be safe could be harmful at a given dosage, as a level of drug acceptable for humans can be too much for a pet.  In fact, the threat could end up being deadly to the dog or cat given that the item was intended for humans.

We’ve often talked about the danger posed by certain drugs to people, but it’s important to know that the same attentiveness to drug facts and prescription needs to be paid to medication for animals as well.

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