Have a dog and a cat? Don’t make this mistake!

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Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Cats and dogs have many physiological differences

Cats and dogs often live in the same household like brother and sister. One is usually big and the other one small, one barks and the other meows. Many times we use the same veterinarian for both, and in certain instances, the same medication may be prescribed for both. This makes some of us sometimes incorrectly assume that cats are just little versions of dogs. Although there are some superficial similarities, cats and dogs are very different physiologically and from a medical treatment point of view. Read More »

What you need to know about your pet’s medication dosage

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Medication dosages can vary in surprising ways between humans and animals

Humans and dogs have been friends for at least fifteen thousand years. It may be possible that living so close to each other for so long has caused similarities in certain traits and even in certain diseases. Obesity, hypothyroidism, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and even certain cancers have been seen in both dogs and humans at a higher rate than those seen in the wolf that runs wild and has no human contact. Although some of these similar conditions may also have similar solutions in pets and humans, it is important to note that the doses of medication used in humans and in dogs could vary greatly. This week Melissa Selinger, our pharmacist student from Nova Southeastern University, will give an example of the difference in dosing for one of the most popular medications used in both human and veterinary medicine. Read More »

The importance of the expiration date

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Pay attention to drug expiration dates

Many pet owners would choose to skip their vacation or the purchase of a new television set if it was a choice between those things and the health of their pet. Everything seems so costly these days: dinner out, movies, clothes, even water which should really be free is on the shelves everywhere for sale in plastic bottles. Those of us with pets quickly come to realize that pet ownership is very costly under ordinary circumstances, and an unexpected illness could easily lay ruin to the most carefully planned out budget. Shopping around to decrease some of the costs associated with healthcare is generally not a bad idea, but sometimes I get calls from pet owners who want to cut costs in ways that are potentially harmful, such as trying to avoid bringing the pet to the veterinarian when the pet is not well. Another example of a bad idea is to use medication that is past its expiration date. While having a sick pet and not bringing him or her to the veterinarian for proper examination is obviously a very bad idea, many might not so easily recognize other dangers such as using expired medication. Read More »

Learn from the past to prevent a modern pet poison tragedy

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Filed under Pharmacy Blog

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, immediately contact your veterinarian or poison control center for guidance

It seems like almost every day or week of the year is devoted to recognizing a person, event or special cause. Since this week it’s National Poison Prevention Week, I began writing this blog on the topic of pet poisonings. Halfway through, I realized that although the information is certainly useful, it would be more interesting to connect it to a famous person who might have firsthand knowledge on the topic. Socrates, one of the world’s most famous philosophers, was not a chemist but since he did himself die from poisoning I will credit him with being an expert whether or not he deserves this distinction. First let’s find out what kind of poison was responsible for killing Socrates, and what information such a genius philosopher might shed on the topic of pet poisoning if he were alive today. Read More »

Is the secret to happiness hidden within our pets?

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happy-boy-and-dog

Some consider happiness to be the ultimate goal in life. The feeling of happiness has been studied and evaluated to find out why some people seem happy while others do not. Researchers set out to evaluate whether happiness is determined by genes, by life circumstances, or if it’s simply a choice that one makes. While many of these tests seem to fall short of actually answering why a person becomes happy, the conclusion that many of these tests did reach is that happy people do live longer–up to a decade longer than unhappy people. The immune system functions better, the central nervous system is healthier, there are lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and the heart beats at a lower rate in people who describe themselves as being happy. Read More »

How to prevent pet medication errors

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Become a well-educated pet owner

Since 1951, the most popular accreditation organization for health care facilities has been The Joint Commission. This organization in a lot of ways sets many standards in the health care field, and helps ensure that patients are getting the highest possible quality of care in certain medical facilities. Places like hospitals, home care agencies, psychiatric facilities, and ambulatory care centers all strive to get and keep the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. Needless to say, The Joint Commission knows quite a lot about making healthcare safer for the human patient.

In veterinary care, we also have similar organizations such as the NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) and their Vet-VIPPS program, which also has an accreditation process. Similar to the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval, online veterinary pharmacies strive to get the Vet-VIPPS seal in order to demonstrate their commitment to their patients’ health. Other organizations such as LegitScript also give their seal of approval to facilities who have agreed to strictly adhere to certain laws and regulations. In healthcare, the patient or client who is not a medical professional is very much dependent on the trust they have in the whole system and its medical practitioners. Agencies such as The Joint Commission and Vet-VIPPS fulfill a vital role in helping the patient bridge the gap of knowledge and sort through a lot of undecipherable and confusing facts to make a selection based on proven standards rather than on the toss of a coin. Read More »

Are these in your home? Prevent a pet poisoning

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Take your pet to the vet if you suspect ingestion of something toxic

Last Wednesday, while on my lunch break, I noticed that I had missed several calls from my friend Colin. He had left messages about the urgency of his situation and that I needed to get in touch with him immediately. When I called him back he started asking me if we carried something called vitamin K here at 1800PetMeds. Apparently Colin was concerned that his cat may have ingested some rat poison and wanted to treat the cat without proper veterinary guidance after doing some “internet research.” Since vitamin K is the clotting ingredient that gets disrupted when an animal has ingested an anticoagulant, he felt that simply giving this medication would be the answer. Since we don’t carry vitamin K and treating a cat poisoning at home is never recommended, I strongly suggested that he immediately take his cat to the veterinarian. When Colin noticed that his cat had stopped eating and drinking, became weak, had pale gums, and was having difficulty breathing he realized that ne needed to take the cat in for a checkup. It was lucky that he went in when he did, because the cat not only needed to get a vitamin K injection but he also needed intravenous fluids and a blood transfusion. Had he not taken the cat to receive the proper treatment, this poisoning would have most likely been fatal. Read More »

How misuse of antibiotics puts your pet at risk

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It's important to give antibiotics exactly as prescribed

My dog Duke is getting old. My children look at his face and see his graying hair and half jokingly remind me that he has changed quite a bit over the past couple of years. If it’s simply a cosmetic matter it wouldn’t be of much concern, but Duke has also been getting more illnesses than usual. A few months ago he developed a staph infection on his hind leg and last week he developed a respiratory tract infection. Both of these infections required antibiotics to clear them up. Although pets can get infections at any age, when they get older the immune system begins to weaken a little and their ability to fight bacteria is diminished.

The very word “infection” sounds scary, especially in relation to your pet’s health. But just what is an infection? An infection is caused by the presence and multiplication of an organism that causes disease. These disease-causing organisms are everywhere, and under most circumstances when these organisms invade our pets, the pet’s immune system is sufficiently strong to wipe them out. There are other times, however, when they are present in sufficient quantity or the pet’s immune system is not working optimally, that these organisms begin to cause illness. Basically, the body gets overwhelmed and these organisms begin producing toxins that cause symptoms in our pets. Read More »

Could you be giving your pet the wrong dose?

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Filed under Pharmacy Blog, Uncategorized

Proper dosing of pet medications is important

It was my first job as a pharmacist in Central Florida, and my technician at the time was also newly registered when he was handed a prescription for amoxicillin liquid for a child. He looked carefully at the prescription and somehow misinterpreted “tsp.” as tablespoonful instead of teaspoonful. If this medication had gone out like that, the child would have received three times the dose that the doctor intended for him to have. Doctors are now encouraged not to abbreviate common words, but nothing replaces experience and understanding of how certain medications are given in the prevention of errors. Read More »

What’s keeping your dog awake at night?

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Filed under Pharmacy Blog

It's important to identify the cause of your dog's insomnia

A close friend recently recommended I watch videos about something called sleep whisper hypnosis to help me fall asleep. Apparently there is a phenomenon called Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) that is supposed to produce a pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, and back in response to hearing or seeing certain things. Watching a video of mundane things such as of someone getting a haircut or scalp massage, or hearing someone whispering a story are such examples. I did try watching a few of these videos and although I can’t claim to have felt any tingling sensations, the gentle whispering really did help me fall asleep more quickly. Now that we have “horse whisperers” and “people whisperers,” I just need to find a “dog whisperer” to help my elderly dog Duke, who has slight arthritis, fall asleep. Read More »