When your veterinarian prescribes a medication for your pet, it is important to understand what the pet medication is for, how it should be administered to your pet and what side effects you should be on the alert for while your pet is taking the medication. Find here the Top 10 Diseases Your Pet Can Catch! Here are some commonly prescribed pet medications with which you should be familiar.
Antibiotic drugs are prescribed for the resolution of bacterial infections. They may also be prescribed to prevent a secondary infection from developing while a pet is being treated for another condition. Antibiotics may be administered orally in pill, capsule or liquid form. They may also be administered topically as a transdermal application, as an otic or ophthalmologic ointment or as a topical application. Some commonly prescribed antibiotics include:
Oral liquid suspensions need to be shaken well before each administration, and most of them require refrigeration once they have been reconstituted. All antibiotics must been given for the entire prescribed duration, even if your pet’s symptoms have improved sooner. Some common side effects of antibiotic use include diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes and a decrease in appetite.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. Nearly all NSAIDs are prescribed for use in dogs and are potentially fatal when administered to cats. NSAIDs may be prescribed for short-term use, such as for postoperative pain relief or for the treatment of an injury, as well as for long-term use, such as for the management of arthritis symptoms. Some commonly prescribed NSAIDs include:
Some common side effects that can occur with NSAID use include vomiting, diarrhea, a decrease in appetite and depression. When administering NSAIDs on a long-term basis, periodic blood screenings are imperative to monitor your pet’s kidney and liver function.
Corticosteroid drugs have many uses, but are primarily prescribed to reduce inflammatory conditions, such as for treating allergies, feline asthma, intervertebral disk disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Corticosteroid drugs may be administered orally, and they may also be contained in ophthalmologic ointments, topical applications, transdermal gels and inhalers. Some commonly prescribed corticosteroid drugs include:
Long-term use of corticosteroid drugs are necessary in some instances, such as when managing a dog with Addison’s disease. In most cases, however, minimal use of these drugs is preferred. Your veterinarian may prescribe a regimen that requires a gradual tapering off of the drug over time until your pet has been weaned from it entirely or until you reach the lowest dose needed to maintain your pet’s comfort and keep the recurring symptoms away. The most common side effects of corticosteroid drugs include marked increases in water intake, urinary output, appetite and panting.
Antiparasitic drugs are prescribed to prevent or kill internal and external parasites. Internal parasites include heartworms and such intestinal parasites as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, tapeworms and giardia. External parasites include fleas, ticks, ear mites and mange mites. Antiparasitic drugs may be prescribed as oral or topical medications. Most flea, tick and heartworm preventatives are administered once monthly. Some heartworm preventatives also contain antiparasitic drugs to prevent some intestinal parasites. When administering antiparasitic drugs to kill intestinal parasites or ear mites, be sure to follow the instructions precisely in order to kill all of the present life cycles that are dwelling in your pet.
Other Commonly Prescribed Drugs
There are numerous other drugs that are commonly prescribed to treat specific long-term medical conditions. A few of these drugs include:
- Levothyroxine, used to treat hypothyroidism
- Methimazole, used to treat hyperthyroidism
- Insulin, used in the management of diabetes. Find here special diet tips for diabetic dogs
- Furosemide, a diuretic that is used to treat fluid retention
- Pimobendan, used to manage congestive heart disease
- Norvasc, used to treat high blood pressure
- Phenobarbital, used to prevent seizure activity in pets with epilepsy
Questions to Ask
Whenever your veterinarian prescribes a new drug, supplement, pet medical supplies or preventative products, you should always ask the following questions:
- What is this pet medication for?
- When can I expect to notice an improvement in my pet’s symptoms?
- For how long should this medication be given?
- How do I administer this medication?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- Does this medication need to be stored in the refrigerator?
- Should this medication be given with food?
- What side effects should I be watching for in my pet while using this medication?
Always follow the instructions exactly as prescribed by your veterinarian. If your pet is taking more than one medication, ask if the pet medications can be administered together or if they should be separated by a specific time frame. If you are being sent home with pet medical supplies, such as insulin needles or a fluid administration set, do not leave the clinic until you are absolutely clear on how to use them.
Speak Up for Your Pet
Your dog or cat cannot speak for itself. You must advocate for your pet to ensure your furry friend’s safety when medications are prescribed. Be sure to alert your veterinarian of any adverse drug reactions that your pet has experienced in the past. You should also inform your veterinarian of all medications, including over the counter drugs and nutritional supplements, that your pet is currently taking.
Some side effects are mild and may subside after a couple of days, but others may be serious. If you observe any changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance while taking the medication, always err on the side of caution by reporting these side effects to your veterinarian immediately.
Drug Safety Practices
Never share prescribed pet medications between your pets. Each prescription is specifically dosed for your pet’s weight, and it is chosen with your pet’s species type and overall health status in mind. Keep all household medications for pets and for humans out of your pet’s reach. In case of an accidental overdose, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary hospital at once. Store all household medications for pets in a separate location from human medications to prevent all household members, human and animal, from accidentally taking the wrong medication. Learn here how to give medications to your pet!