Your pet’s medication and the “therapeutic window”

0
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Some medications have a narrow therapeutic window

Back when I was in school, one of my teachers wanted to explain something called “therapeutic window” to the class. My teacher explained that you could draw a graph and put one line above and call it “toxic dose above” and another line under the first line called “ineffective dose below.” The distance between those two lines is the level that any drug needs to be in to be safe and effective and is called the “therapeutic window.” This distance is different, depending upon the specific medication, essentially making some drugs safer than others in terms of dosing errors such as giving an inadvertent extra dose, or an accidental overdose by the pet. Read More »

Human Medications Can Be Toxic to Pets

0
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Pets metabolize medications differently than do humans

After I graduated pharmacy school in the 90’s I spent over ten years working in a hospital for humans. For many years I prepared medication for patients on the obstetrics floor, in labor and delivery, in pediatrics, in neonatal intensive care units, and for many other critical care patients that required extremely precise doses due to their fragility and the seriousness of their illnesses. All medications administered to any patient must be prepared with extreme care since errors anywhere in dosing and wrong drug administration can create a life-threatening medical emergency. In some patients however, any error or oversight no matter how small can have tragic consequences. That being said, many of the common medications that are dispensed regularly to some of the most fragile human patients can be deadly to pets, even in very small doses. Because of the way our pets metabolize medication, the huge variability in weight ranges, and the high level of individual sensitivities, medicating this group of patients requires an increased level of individualized attention and care. Read More »

Your Pet’s Immune System – Keep It Functioning

0
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Why do some pets seem healthy while others always seem to have health problems?

Many people who have several pets in the same household at times realize that some pets always seem healthy while others are constantly battling some sort of health problem. Illnesses also appear more frequently in those pets and last longer when they do appear. These illnesses could be anything from a mild cough, infections, skin disorders, to cancer or simply anything that makes our pet feel and act out of sorts or lacking in energy. This often makes the pet owner wonder why there is such a difference from one pet to the next.

Why does one pet seem healthy while another keeps getting sick? Read More »

Cisapride Use in Cats

8
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Cisapride is useful in treating may gastrointestinal problems in cats

In July 1993 a drug called cisapride was approved in human medicine for treating gastroesophageal reflux in humans. In January of 2000, cisapride was removed from the United States market by the FDA after reports of cardiac side effects such as rapid and irregular heart rate. In veterinary medicine there were never any such cardiovascular effects seen. The drug was extremely helpful in treating many gastrointestinal disorders so it continued to be used, primarily in cats. Read More »

Don’t Just Grab the Medicine Bottle… Read the Label First!

1
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Before you give your pet any medication, always read what the label says.

Before you give your pet any medication, always read what the label says. Start by making sure the medicine bottle has the proper pet name on it; it is possible that someone might have made a mistake and given you medication intended for another pet. It’s also possible that you grabbed the wrong bottle from the area where you store your medication. Checking the name is the absolute first thing that should be done every time before giving anything to the pet. Read More »

Kinetosis: The Best Solution is Being Prepared!

0
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

It's best to prevent motion sickness before it happens

The first time I went night fishing off the coast of Long Island the skies were clear and there wasn’t much wind, the ocean was as flat as can be, and the ride out on the charter boat was refreshing. The experience was as good as it can be and, as far as I was convinced,  I had already become an expert fisherman. About 3 months later I was ready to go again and this time I was bringing my baby brother along to show him how to become a world class fisherman like I had obviously become.

From the moment we boarded the vessel I could tell that things were different than they were the previous time. The professionals on the boat including the captain seemed a bit tense and distracted. The wind was blowing quite a bit, and there was a light mist in the air making everything wet and uncomfortable. As we started heading out to sea from the Southern Coast of Long Island we encountered around 4 or 5 smaller boats racing back in. One of the people on the boats that were hurrying back looked straight at me with an expression of seriousness and concern and said “What are you guys doing? You shouldn’t go out there this evening.” Then the next boat had several possibly intoxicated people who were laughing and yelling things at us like “good luck out there, you are definitely going to need it tonight.” These guys giving us advice looked like hardcore fishermen and if they were concerned for our safety, I began to become really worried. I immediately went to find our captain to ask him if we were going to possibly turn back, he smirked and said “no, why would we?” Read More »

Your Dog Missed A Dose Of Heartworm Medicine…Now What?

3
Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
Most monthly heartworm medications offer coverage for heartworm prevention beyond the typical 30 days.

A common question clients often ask is what they should do if they missed a dose of heartworm medicine: Should they have their pet tested first before giving another pill?  The answer to this question is no.  Fortunately, most monthly heartworm medications do offer coverage for heartworm prevention beyond the typical 30 days. The product Sentinel,  for example, is  often effective for 45 days, while Heartgard or Iverhart may be effective for up to 2 months; therefore, animal guardians can simply often resume giving the preventative at the appropriate time the next month.

Read More »

Transdermal Medications for Pets

1
Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog

Transdermal medications are absorbed through the skin

With increasing numbers of oral medications prescribed to our pets, animal guardians are often faced with the difficult task of getting their pets to take all of the prescribed medications. This is especially problematic with smaller dogs and fractious cats. In these cases, animal guardians often end up wearing much of the medications, or spilling them in attempting to get their pets to take them. Even more frustrating is when discreet pets will often not take their medications in treats, cream cheese, peanut butter, and even pill pockets. Because of these circumstances, veterinary pharmacists have developed the use of transdermal medications as an alternative to oral medications in our pets.

Transdermal pet medications are typically applied to the ears or flanks of the animals, and contain a special vehicle which allows for absorption through the skin and into the capillaries and subsequently into the blood stream. These types of medications have been a godsend to many animal guardians. I have especially found this way of administration useful for pain medications in dogs and cats, as well as the thyroid drug Tapazole in cats, which can often be difficult to administer to these older cats.

The jury is still out on whether other topical medications are absorbed as well through the skin as through the oral route, so I still typically reserve my use of transdermal medications to topical opioid pain medications in dogs and cats, as well as Tapazole in hyperthyroid cats.

MDR1 – A Generally Safe Drug Could Turn Deadly

4
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

6111722_100_1766

Last weekend I attended my cousin’s outdoor wedding in the horse capital of the world, Ocala Florida, and was thrilled to see that they included their Collie in the wedding party. “Barkie” is certainly part of the family, so why not include him in the festivities? As I sat there enjoying the beautiful ceremony to one side and the setting sun to the other, a thought suddenly entered my mind… I wonder if Mark knows about MDR1. My cousin Mark is also a pharmacist and he works in a chain retail outlet dispensing medication for humans.

The following morning I was invited to a Sunday Brunch with the wedding party and during my congratulatory discussions I managed to ask my cousin about “Barkie” and the current heartworm preventatives he is on. I was aware that Mark does not deal enough in veterinary pharmacy and may not have been familiar with this potentially impaired gene that affects many dogs in the herding breeds including collies like “Barkie,” sheepdogs, shepherds and mix breeds containing a herding group. Thankfully, “Barkie’s” veterinarian was familiar with MDR1, had discussed this with Mark’s girlfriend at the time (now his wife) and knew to prescribe a heartworm prevention that is safe for him. Read More »

Homeopathy- Restoring Balance to Your Pet’s “Vital Force”

2
Filed under Pharmacy Blog

One advantage of homeopathic remedies is that they generally do not create side-effects

“The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles.”
~ Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843)

Before I went to pharmacy school I was a big believer in nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies and over the counter treatments. I should have known early on that I was to become a pharmacist because I had my own cocktail for almost everything from building muscles, overcoming the headache that comes after a night of excesses in college, and treating muscle and back pains. Before going to the gym I always drank about 12 ounces of a fruity liquid containing high levels of carbohydrates and vitamins along with a mild stimulant, and after the workout it was a protein shake with a couple of pinches of creatine. Before I went to bed I would take a homeopathic remedy for aches and pains called “arnica.”

Read More »