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Human Medicines in Pets: Can be fatal

Ingesting human medicines or being in prolonged contact with them can be particularly dangerous for pets, even being fatal in some cases. The AniCura Vetsia Veterinary Hospital warns of the possible consequences.

Human Medicines in Pets: Can be fatal

Image provided by AniCura Vetsia Veterinary Hospital

The medicines for human usesuch as tablets, syrups, hormonal sprays, cortisol-based ointments or pain relievers, they may have important repercussions in pet health.

Many people self-medicate their pets out of ignorance or to save time and money, which may be particularly harmful.

“It is important to remind citizens of the influence they have on the health of pets. Treating your pet well also means being aware of the effects that the products (especially medicines) you use for yourself can have on your health,” he explains. José Gómez, Medical Manager of AniCura Iberia.

What are the risks of human drug ingestion?

From AniCura Vetsia Veterinary Hospital they explain that they attend to more than one case per month related to intoxication by accidental or intentional administration of drugs for human use in dogs or cats.

Thus, they indicate that the metabolism of pets is different from ours and that the tolerance or elimination times of the drugs are therefore different.

And “self-medication” is a risk of potentially lethal consequences.

“The patient may suffer side effects, poisoning or different adverse reactions because the active principle is not adequate or because the dose is not adequate,” he clarifies. María Rodríguez, Practice Manager of AniCura Vetsia.

According to Rodriguez, the consequences they can be multipledepending on the active principle and the dose.

From, and among others:

  • Liver poisoning for paracetamol
  • Gastric ulcers by ingestion of ibuprofen.
  • Neurological changes for consumption of narcotics.

He consumed 21 ibuprofen tablets

This is one of the cases AniCura vets have recently treated.

A two-year-old spayed female ingested 21 100 mg pediatric ibuprofen tablets.

And although he had no clinical signs and the physical examination was unremarkable, he was induced to vomit with apmorphine and was admitted for a day.

Pet medicines risks
Image provided by AniCura Vetsia Veterinary Hospital

What about prolonged contact with human medicines?

The Veterinary Hospital also warns that the prolonged contact with certain medications can lead to health problems for our pets.

For example, they note that a cortisol-based ointment has been identified as a cause of Cushing’s syndrome in a dog, causing symptoms such as thirst, alopecia, need to urinate, hunger and swollen abdomen.

Another case of pet toxicity is estrogen sprays, a drug commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms.

Prolonged contact with this substance can produce hyperestrogenismwhich can lead to anemia in some pets and their subsequent death.

According to Rodríguez, “everything depends on the active principle and which part is exposed: eyes, skin, mucous membranes. It may be that nothing happens, such as an antifungal cream on the skin, until it causes a corneal ulcer, such as povidone-iodine gel in contact with the eyes.

What can we do if our pet ingests any medication without realizing it?

The expert points out that it is necessary go to the emergency vet i do not make them vomit at home, as aspiration pneumonia can occur.

Along these same lines, he recommends keeping all medicines, regardless of their form of presentation (pills, syrups, ointments, etc…) in places where pets cannot access.

In addition, he emphasizes that they should never be administered by their own decision and without the supervision of a veterinarian, since, on most occasions, a veterinary medicine will be able to be administered.

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