Category Archives: Pharmacy Blog

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

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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 »

Pet safety is no April Fool’s Day joke

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runaway-dog

The first day of April is known by many as a day for practical jokes. April Fool’s Day gives some a green light or excuse to say something or do something that isn’t based in truth. These jokes more often than not result in laughter, and the person who has been the victim of the prank often says something like “I didn’t even pay attention to the date” or “I should have known!” This whole day of pranks makes me wonder something about my own pets: do pets understand the concept of a practical joke? Do animals have the capacity to mislead each other or do something that isn’t based in truth? Jokes can be fun and the source of laughter and joy if planned properly; if not, they can create an atmosphere of danger. When my neighbor told his wife a few years ago that their dog ran away (as an April Fool’s day joke), she rushed home and in so doing got a speeding ticket. It would have been a lot worse had she gotten into an accident on the way home. After giving it some thought, I’m not sure how I feel about April Fool’s Day as a holiday or as a day for celebration. Call me a party pooper but I would probably prefer not to become a victim of someone’s practical joke, and I have no interest in playing a practical joke on another person. 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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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 »

Does your pet need a fatty acid supplement?

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Fatty acids help keep your pet's coat shiny and healthy

The word amazing is used and overused way too much these days.  A new cell phone, a new camera, a new car, anything that is new or different inspires people to walk around saying “It’s amazing!” What I find interesting is that as we look around us and try to find amazing things, we sometimes miss the fact that the most amazing thing of all is actually us. Our bodies and the bodies of other mammals are truly a work of wonder that function better than any man-made machine or gadget. Our bodies have a truly amazing way of regulating itself, fixing itself, creating things, and doing other fantastic things on its own without anyone’s input. Better than any chemistry experiment, our bodies can take one substance that is useless and convert it into something that the body can use. However, there are some substances that seem to be of benefit but for some reason, mammals do not synthesize in sufficient quantities. An example of this is omega -3 and omega -6 fatty acids. Read More »

Spinning out of control: could your dog have OCD?

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Tail chasing, running in circles, or snapping at nothing might seem funny to an observer not familiar with compulsive behavior in animals, but the reality is nothing to laugh about. I was visiting a friend this past weekend and most of the time I was there, his dog was running in circles after his tail. My friend from college was hysterical laughing at this odd behavior and he claimed that his dog does this all the time. Although normal and healthy dogs do sometimes run in circles, bark at the air, and engage in other excessive uncontrollable behaviors in response to a particular trigger, a dog suffering from obsessive/compulsive disorder may begin these behaviors without a trigger and medical literature suggests that the “patient” actually loses the ability to stop the behavior on their own. When I suggested to my friend that his dog couldn’t stop this behavior even if he wanted to, his response was “How do you know that he even wants to stop?” Point well taken, I kept my opinions to myself after that. I’m not trained in diagnosing illnesses but it does seem more difficult to diagnose mental or emotional diseases in pets than in humans since pets can’t clearly describe their feelings and intentions. The thing is that when a particular behavior starts to interfere with the normal life or the health of a pet, it is absolutely time to make an appointment with the veterinarian for a proper evaluation. Read More »

Your dog’s head shaking: a sign of trouble?

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Excessive head shaking can have a number of causes

Almost every pet owner is familiar with the shaking that occurs after liquids get on our pet’s head. That energetic shaking that splashes water everywhere makes it quite impossible to finish giving our dogs a bath without us also getting thoroughly soaked along with them. There is a secret that nobody talks about though—the secret is that, although we sometimes complain about getting wet with the dog, most owners secretly love it when this happens! Most people, including me, consider this part of the fun and excitement of owning a pet. It also provides particular amusement to family members who witness the event from far away, and usually much laughter ensues.

There are times however when head shaking is a cause for concern. When a pet continuously shakes his or her head without an apparent reason, it could be an indication of a possible ear infection, inflammation, or even the result of an uncontrolled allergy. Since allergies are among the most common causes and often even predispose the pet to infections and inflammation in the ears, we’ll start with that topic. Read More »