Did you know that many medications for pets now come in a tasty treat form? The benefit to pet owners is clear: administration is easier, possibly even becoming a reward for the pet. No more chasing Fluffy down, prising her mouth open and poking a nasty pill down her throat, only to have her spit it out before you finally succeed. Pills which taste like treats, however, can lead to the overdosing blues…
Arthritis and pain medicines are one group of medicines frequently dispensed for dogs as chewable tablets or flavored liquids. These medications have greatly improved our dogs’ freedom from the pain of arthritis, surgery and trauma when given at the correct dose and frequency to the intended patient.
As a case in point, we recently sent home an NSAID (pain) medication to be used for an 11 yr old Beagle experiencing back pain. A few days later his owner called to report one of her other dogs stole the medication off the kitchen counter and ate 10-12 tablets. Although the label clearly stated “These pills are tasty. Please keep them out of reach of ALL pets to avoid over dosage”, the pills were more desirable than the owner realized. She suspected her largest dog, an Irish Setter, of being the culprit, but her household of potential suspects included several dogs and cats. After scheduling an appointment to examine and start treating him for an overdose. We consulted Pet Poison Helpline for therapy guidance, ran blood work to check his kidney and liver status, placed an IV catheter to deliver fluids to flush his kidneys and administered charcoal to bind the drug’s toxic levels.
The good news is that the Irish Setter fully recovered and we sent home more arthritis medication for the Beagle, who is also doing well! The owner learned how motivated dogs and cats can be to obtain treats, even in the form of medicine, and now keeps ALL of her pets medications behind a cabinet door.
For more information about pet medication toxicity and links to poison control hotlines, check out PetPlanUSA.