Always ask a vet before giving painkillers to pets, expert says

November 8, 2013
Always ask a vet before giving painkillers to pets, expert says
Dogs and cats can suffer deadly side effects from common over-the-counter drugs.

(HealthDay)—When people feel pain, they often reach for common medicines such as aspirin or Motrin. These types of drugs, known as NSAIDs, also are used to treat arthritis pain in dogs and to manage pain after surgery in dogs and cats.

But NSAID use in pets carries risks as well as benefits. And all dogs and cats should have a thorough physical exam by a —including a review of the pet's medical history—before being given NSAIDs , according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Pet owners also need to be informed about possible side effects, including those that could signal danger. Some of the most common side effects of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in animals reported to the FDA are vomiting, loss of appetite, reduced levels of activity and diarrhea.

While your pet is taking NSAIDs, watch for these side effects as well as looking for blood in the feces, tar-like stools, yellowing of the whites of the eyes and yellowing of the gums, FDA veterinarian Dr. Melanie McLean said in an FDA news release.

If you see any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately, McLean said.

Other reported included ulcers in the stomach and intestines, , liver failure and death.

McLean said it's not unusual for people to want to give their pets painkillers straight from their own medicine cabinets.

But some over-the-counter pain relievers can be toxic or deadly in pets. Always check with your veterinarian before giving drugs meant for people to a pet, McLean said.

"Many people don't realize that a medicine that's safe for people may not be safe for dogs or cats, or that a dose that is safe for people may not be safe for their pets," she said.

She also said should never assume that a medicine that is safe for one animal is safe for another.

Explore further: In wake of Japan tragedy, pet owners cautioned against giving potassium iodide to animals

More information: The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about pet health.

Related Stories

Veterinarians say obesity causing health concerns for pets

August 23, 2011

As the number of overweight and obese Americans continues to grow – now at 68 percent of the population – the incidence of obesity in furry family members also is a growing concern. The American Veterinary Medical ...

Recommended for you

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

Ancestral background can be determined by fingerprints

September 28, 2015

A proof-of-concept study finds that it is possible to identify an individual's ancestral background based on his or her fingerprint characteristics – a discovery with significant applications for law enforcement and anthropological ...

Bat species found to have tongue pump to pull in nectar

September 28, 2015

(—A trio of researchers affiliated with the University of Ulm in Germany and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama has found that one species of bat has a method of collecting nectar that has never ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.