Human Drugs are Poison for Pet Animals

Too often, animals are treated by their owners with human drugs. Too often, people think that an animal reacts like a human when administrating a well known drug just at a lower dose. Assumptions can be fatal. It is easy to prevent if you can create awareness for this topic. It’s also important to notice that animals are curious species just like children: all drugs should be securely locked in order to prevent intoxications. Antidotes do exist, but in many cases it will be too late or the adversities are such advanced that life threatening situations can not be stabilised anymore. As a veterinary pathologist, I saw too many times pets arriving in a necropsy room with this type of history. Just as Dr. Tina Wismer, the medical director for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and adjunct instructor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, advised veterinarians and pet owners on several of these toxicity cases, I suggest the following comprehensive list on the drugs that pet animals should not receive without any veterinarian expertise.

NSAIDs—short for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—are a broad class of pain relief medications used for both humans and animals. These drugs are used to treat headaches, arthritis, sprains, and other daily discomforts. They are among the most common medications pet owners keep in the house; examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. Some NSAIDs may be prescribed by a veterinarian and are considered safe for pets. However, the human NSAIDs are not safe for pets. Owners should never give them to their pets or leave a bottle within reach of an inquisitive pet. Symptoms of this toxicity include vomiting, sometimes with blood present, as well as less obvious signs such as lethargy and increased thirst and urination.

Acetaminophen - Acetaminophen is another common medication used to treat people’s mild pain, such as toothaches, backaches, and even cold or flu aches. Acetaminophen can be toxic to both cats and dogs, but cats are more sensitive,” Cats lack the enzymes needed to properly metabolize acetaminophen. This leads to significant liver damage, which results in the blood becoming unable to carry oxygen to the cells.

Prevention !

Medications, both human and animal, must be kept where the pet cannot reach them.

  • Be aware that medications kept in purses or bags may become accessible to pets if the bags are left within reach of the pet, such as on the floor.

  • If a pill is dropped on the floor, pick it up immediately.