Self-medication

March 23, 2016

Cat_29Recent figures suggest that nearly 10% of owners may have given human medical products to their pets within the last year. The potentially toxic products were administered for complaints ranging from cut paws and insect bites to nettle stings and coughing episodes.

The drugs administered include anti-histamines, paracetamol, antiseptic creams, ibuprofen and asprin.

The potential consequences of administering drugs that are designed for humans can be very serious and pet owners risk significant harm to their pets including liver failure and kidney damage alongside other potential health complaints.

As Vets, we occasionally use human licenced products to treat certain conditions in animals however this must only be done with training and knowledge. While some products can be used safely, our pets are often smaller than we are and the risks of overdose when someone without veterinary training administers a medicine is huge. While a useful resource, Google can be a dangerous source of mis-information regarding which products are safe and which are dangerous.

Animals do not need to be ill for some owners to self-medicate. At Donaldson’s Vets, we have seen animals that have been given body-building protein shakes under the misguided apprehension that it would help them to get into shape and improve their stamina. I have also seen a cat whose owner had given it human weight loss medication.

Certain human medicines that are freely available can be very extremely dangerous for animals. An example would be Paracetamol in cats which is highly toxic and must never be given.

Always consult your Vet for advice if your pet is ill and avoid the temptation to self-medicate (even if a friend or the internet tells you that it is safe to do so).

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