Category Archives: Pharmacy Blog

Cats fighting? How to re-establish peace

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Cats are territorial

The neighborhood pet back when I was still living with my parents was a bicolor cat with beautiful black markings along the top of his back and around his tail. His long white hair always seemed well-brushed and he had a petite, fragile appearance that made him look adorable. His wonderful temperament and sweet look earned him the name “Mignon” from the patisserie owner, Mr. Martine. Mignon (which means “cute” in French) would run from neighbor to neighbor throughout the day to greet people and to collect as many snacks as he could. Who would think that Mignon could be anything but sweet and gentle? 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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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 »

Urinary incontinence—there is a solution

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Proin is often prescribed for dogs with urinary incontinence

Incontinence, or the loss of the ability to control the bladder, is not only quite common in humans but is also very common in dogs. This condition is the cause of much stress to pet owners with the task of caring for a pet suffering from it. Inappropriate urination is one of the top reasons why many pet owners resort to the unthinkable solution of surrendering a beloved dog rather than attempting to deal with the problem. In some cases, families can become disrupted to the point of tension which often results in strained relations. Once identified, dog incontinence must be dealt with, and dealt with quickly. To begin, it’s important to understand what causes bladders to leak and not work as they are designed to. Read More »

Pet allergies—nothing to sneeze at

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Pets can suffer from allergies, too

Allergies affect people of all ages and can produce a variety of symptoms ranging from mild inconveniences such as red itchy eyes on one end of the scale all the way up to full blown anaphylactic reactions that can affect breathing and be life-threatening on the other end. Most of us pet owners know too well that some people are sometimes prevented from visiting us because they are allergic to our pets. My brother recently developed a cat allergy and he stopped coming over to visit until he found a temporary solution in the form of an antihistamine. After trying a variety of different medications he found one called loratadine, which is an antihistamine that works temporarily to suppress allergy symptoms.

The most common antihistamine that is used for allergies, however, is called diphenhydramine (Benadryl). This drug is extremely effective at suppressing the allergy symptoms, but it does have sedating properties. Most people who take diphenhydramine quickly find that their sneezing is replaced by yawning, neither of which is good to have while playing board games with the family. Loratadine (Claritin) on the other hand does a wonderful job at suppressing allergies but does not cause much drowsiness. Other antihistamines for humans include drugs such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), Chlorpheniramine, Desloratidine (Clarinex), and some others. Some of these have longer action, and some cause less drowsiness. Since product selection between these antihistamines could involve many factors including the potential of drug-drug interactions, it is extremely important to consult with a doctor or pharmacist before initiating therapy. Read More »

Dealing with your pet’s constant itchiness

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There can be many causes for your dog's persistent itchiness

One of the most puzzling and frustrating conditions that we as pet owners may face is a dog that keeps scratching. This scratching often keeps both pet and owner awake at night staring into the darkness in frustration. Besides the inconvenience and discomfort, continuous scratching in one area can damage your pet’s skin and lead to a possible infection. The most immediate thought that often enters the mind, among the many possible causes, is that your dog could have something crawling on the skin. This leads to possibly over-medicating the pet with topical or oral flea medications and the subsequent loss of confidence in the product’s ability to protect against infestation when your pet continues to scratch.

The reality is that itchy skin can simply be caused by the skin becoming too dry.  Although the itchiness could be the result of fleas or other parasites, it can also be caused by a variety of other factors that may have nothing to do with fleas. Read More »

Your pet’s skin and coat provide clues to overall health

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Fatty acid supplements can help your dog's skin and coat

It seems like a big concern for many people today is keeping the skin looking and feeling young.  Aging gracefully has been for the most part replaced with the concept that aging is a disease that can be prevented. Everywhere we look we see words such as anti-oxidants, free radicals, lasers, surgeries, essential fatty acids, and other drugs or methods designed at keeping us feeling and looking younger for longer than ever before. When we’re young we wish to be older, when old we wish to be young, when wealthy we see the beauty in the simplicity of not having much, and when we’re struggling with finances we believe that money can solve all our problems. Probably the best way to avoid the trap of always looking for that something “else” to make everything better, is to begin appreciating what we do have and to live in the present.  There is something beautiful about a person who appreciates who they are, what they have, does not regret the past, and is not afraid of the future. Read More »

Managing your pet’s dry eyes

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Dry eyes are more common in dogs than cats

My cat is extremely selfish, yet he is very much loved. As far as I’m concerned, because Midnight isn’t always trying to be something he’s not, that makes him wholly good and wholly loveable. He always follows his nature and that’s honesty at a very pure level. I was reading a book recently that was based around Eastern teachings that suggested the way to enlightenment is to completely give up desires. Halfway through the book I began questioning the concept or its feasibility, since wanting to give up desires is a desire in itself. I kept reading to see if the author had a suggestion and the theme of meditation came up. He suggested that I stare at a spot on the wall for as long as it takes to “clear the mind.” Two hours later my mind was still whirling, and my only thought was that my eyes had become so dry from staring at one spot for so long without blinking. I’m not giving up just yet on the whole ‘desire to decrease desires’ concept, but I do still have many questions; for example: does Midnight have dry eyes? Does he have to keep staring at things to reach enlightenment? I don’t have all the answers, but I know that Midnight always seems content and he’s always loved. 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 »