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September 4, 2013

Pet Talk: Safely medicating Spot

When it comes to the health of your pets, medications play an important role in preventing disease, increasing longevity, and making for a healthier, happier pet. Whether it’s antibiotics, pain meds, or flea and tick prevention, there are various things to keep in mind when choosing the right medication for your furry family member. 

Pets should avoid most human pain medications (such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen), as well as most combination cold/flu medications and Pepto-Bismol, said Dr. Micah Bishop, a veterinary resident at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

“If an over-the-counter medication is prescribed, ask your vet for the active ingredients you are looking for in a medication,” Bishop said.

You should also be wary when purchasing any drug through a website.

“Some of these companies are not monitored by government regulatory agencies and their products may not contain what is claimed,” said Bishop.

Just like during your doctor visits, veterinarians need to know the drugs or supplements that your pet is currently taking in order to appropriately recommend another medication. Some drugs can react differently with a drug or supplement that is already in your pet’s system, so this information is important in order for your vet to choose the safest option for your pet.

“You should ask how often the drug should be given, whether it needs to be given with food or an empty stomach, and for how long,” Bishop said. “Make sure that you are willing and available to give drugs that need to be administered two or three times a day. If not, let the vet know and they may be able to find an alternative.”

It is always important to thoroughly research any new medications prescribed as well as keep a list of all current medications and supplements. Doing this, in addition to closely following any directions or suggestions that your veterinarian provides, will ensure that Spot’s spots are tick free, and he can return to his noble title as king of the couch.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University. 

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