How to prevent pet medication errors

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Filed under Pharmacy Blog

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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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 »

What you should know about pet medications

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Cats love to play on the laptop!

The following article was written by Yee Ni Sung, pharmacy student at Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy:

As our rotation draws close to an end, Doris and I had the opportunity to shadow Dr. White, one of the many amazing PetMeds pharmacists. During my allotted time with Dr. White, I received a quick course on commonly used pet medications. The majority of the time, the incoming medication orders are for dogs and cats. I considered myself lucky when I encountered medication orders for a rabbit and a horse; these prescription orders left a lingering thought in my head this past weekend. While I wandered in the local store shopping for my dog Oscar’s new toy as a reward for finishing his obedience school, I found myself thinking about medications for pets other than dogs and cats. I stared into the reptilian cases and wondered what if I had a turtle? What medication would I use and how much should I use? When I returned home, I presented Oscar with his new toy and settled at my desk to do a bit of research on my laptop. Read More »

Managing hypertension in your dog or cat

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The following was written by Doris Garcia, pharmacy student at Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy:

Most of my adult life, I’ve spent being the bad cop towards my hypertensive father.
“Dad, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to have pumpkin pie for lunch”
“Don’t you think water would be better for you than a shot of espresso?”
“Those crackers are very high in sodium; why not try these unsalted whole grain crackers instead?”
It is truly tiresome, and sometimes you must pick your battles…

Growing up in a family with very little consumption of vegetables and a long history of heart disease, I too am at high risk for developing hypertension. As a pharmacy student who faces long hours of studying, I would frequently sip on espresso and energy drinks in order to cram. In my third year of pharmacy school, signs of pre-hypertension forced me into taking my own advice, the advice my father still neglects to take. I cut out all caffeinated beverages and lowered my sodium intake. Luckily my blood pressure readings stabilized. Read More »

Pet medications and your nursing or pregnant pet

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October is American Pharmacists Month. During this time, we are supposed to remind the American public of the value of their “neighborhood” pharmacist, and how beneficial it is for your overall health to get to know your pharmacist. However, there is little mention of the long road and hard work it takes to actually become a pharmacist. Pharmacy students have to spend thousands of hours learning about the body, how drugs affect the body, how drugs interact with each other, and how to prevent having these same drugs that are supposed to do good from causing harm. Read More »

How to determine the correct syringe for your pet’s insulin

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It's important to use the correct syringe for your pet's insulin

A syringe is a syringe, right? Actually, syringes come in different units of measure, different sizes, different needle length, different needle width, different, different, different! Giving insulin to a pet, especially if you’ve never done that before, is stressful enough without having to worry about giving the wrong dose. Unfortunately the body of an animal (or a human) is not so willing to forgive an insulin overdose. Hypoglycemia can and frequently does become life-threatening. Read More »

Do pets have the capacity to truly love?

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Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Many times in an extremely close relationship between two humans there develops a feeling of “oneness.” I have even encountered several people who have developed such a strong feeling of connection that it seems to include the whole of creation. Sometimes the question arises as to whether our pets have the ability to truly love and if they have a soul similar to that of humans. Most people who have felt or heard a cat purring when touched or a dog wagging his tail when near a certain family member would argue that animals do have the ability to love unconditionally. That being said, there are many people in the scientific community who would argue that pets only seem to love others in their “pack” simply as a survival instinct. Read More »