When we are sick or injured, many of us reach first for an over-the-counter medication or treatment. When our pets are sick, there is great temptation to do the same. However, this can lead to a delay in appropriate treatment, worsening of the condition, or potential toxicity.
Dogs and cats do have many of the same conditions and diseases as people. Some of the same medications may even be used. Others, however, can cause kidney or liver failure or death in pets. These include some common anti-inflammatory and pain medications like ibuprofen, Tylenol and Naproxen. Always consult a veterinarian before giving anything. Even medications tolerated by animals may potentially interact with others. In such cases, the veterinarian may not be able to use a particular drug due to potential toxic interactions.
In other cases, using an over-the-counter treatment can give a false sense of security while allowing the disease process to progress. If the condition is treated early, it may resolve in a relatively short period of time. If, however, the condition worsens before medical care is sought, it will usually take longer to treat it.
In short, consider carefully before giving any medication to an animal prior to a veterinary visit. It is usually cheaper in the long run to treat a medical condition appropriately.
Submitted by Heather Redmon, DVM
Madera Veterinary Hospital