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
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 »
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 products Interceptor and Sentinel, for example, are 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.
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.
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 »
“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.”
When I was a teenager, I had an American Staffordshire Terrier that had nerves of steel every day of the year except for one day, the 4th of July. On that day he turned into a scared little puppy looking for a corner to hide in. Many dogs like my Pete have noise phobias and the loud banging produced this time of year by fireworks can be extremely stressful. Here are a few suggestions that have helped other dog owners with noise phobias.
As I step outside my air-conditioned building into the parking lot mid-day for lunch I am reminded how hot and potentially dangerous it can get this time of year. This kind of heat is especially dangerous for our pets. Most pets are extremely vulnerable to high temperatures which can lead to dehydration, heatstroke, and possibly even death.
One of the difficulties encountered in feline medicine is the selection of a safe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for reduction of pain, inflammation and fever. Several years ago, the drug Metacam was approved for these purposes in cats, and many veterinarians quickly jumped on the bandwagon, prescribing this drug frequently when clinically indicated.
One of the more common disease conditions Metacam found popular use in was the management of chronic feline urologic syndrome in cats, which is a disease for which we are certainly lacking many effective medications. However, because of the unique sensitivity of the feline drug metabolic pathways, it was soon found that when used more than once or twice, many cats that were prescribed Metacam started developing kidney inflammation manifested by increasing BUN and creatinine levels on routine blood screens. Some cats even went into kidney failure. It was because of this that the drug became approved for use as only a single injection in cats, and that further chronic use was too risky to continue treatment in certain cats. We therefore now only use this drug as a one-time injection to reduce pain, inflammation and/or fever in cats.
When animal guardians are given a new prescription for their animal, it is important to be aware of certain facts regarding the prescription drug, just as in human medicine. Of course, each veterinary prescription should come with a complete label that includes the date of the prescription, name, amount and strength of the medication, as well as how often and how long a medication should be continued. I usually like an expiration date also to appear on the label as well.
In addition, it is also important for veterinarians to communicate whether there are any side effects of the medication, as well as what to do if doses are missed or if a pet should vomit the medication. Many medications are more safely given with food, and if a medication such as a steroid or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication is used, it is often preferable to have blood work done before use, as well as periodically should these medications be continued long term. With more expensive medications, it is also helpful for an animal guardian to know if there are any generic equivalent medications that may be more economically feasible for the pet.