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Does the veterinarian explain the possible side effects of your pet's prescription? Medications are the 4th leading cause of HUMAN death but here's how to protect your pet.


2022 Update ~ October 30, 2006

Nel Liquorman, Investigative Reporter


From FDA: Commonly prescribed medicine filled for both human and veterinary reasons can cause overdose problems in your pets too. Abbreviations are most often the cause when a vet writes the drug orders. Medical abbreviations are not universal; nor are the variations. As a result, the abbreviations and symbols can cause transcription errors by the pharmacist at your local drug store or the girl in the vet's office.


For example, a pharmacist in a human pharmacy may not be familiar with certain veterinary abbreviations for different dosage amounts. Center for Veterinary Medicine "CVM" has found that the abbreviation "SID" (once daily), sometimes used in veterinary prescriptions, was misinterpreted as "BID" (twice daily) and "QID" (four times daily), resulted in a drug overdose.


Examples of abbreviations causing mistakes in filling a prescription: "u" (units) or the Greek letter μ (mu), the letter "o" for a number zero “0”, or "mcg" abbreviation for microgram could be mistaken as "mg" (milligram).


Drug selection errors off the shelf can occur because labels or packaging that look alike. The pharmacy may dispense a wrong drug if the drug names look similar when written on a prescription pad, or if the drug names sound alike during verbal orders. An example of one veterinarian who called in a verbal order for Zeniquin (marbofloxacin) an antibiotic for a dog and asked if it was available in generic form. The pharmacist misinterpreted the order as “Sinequan” and dispensed doxepin, the generic formulation.  Sinequan (doxepin) is used to treat depression and anxiety in humans, luckily the dog that was prescribed this medicine was OK.


So for countless years, veterinarians have dispensed drugs for my pets and not a single one has ever said "Look for these possible side effects from this medicine."  A few years ago laws were passed that required pharmacists to give out printed matter that included a list of side effects with any medication that they dispensed. They are commonly called Prescription Inserts {Ref #1} or technically, CIS, Client Information Sheets.



So why are veterinarians exempt from advising of allergic reactions or overdose risks, especially since they are both doctor and pharmacist?


If anyone does not believe that side effects come along with any drug that they give their pets, then just listen to the commercials for any human drug on the market. Side effects, technically know as adverse reactions, can be something as simple as a reddening of the skin or as serious as death!


If adverse effects can happen in a life form the size of a man, imagine what it can do in a small dog or cat. We have to stop blindly trusting even really good veterinarians who may only know what the drug company salesman told them.


Prescription Side Effects can kill your pet and you may not recognize the allergic reaction until too late!Four years ago, my beautiful cat died after getting an oral vaccine. The vet (a really good person and a good enough vet) suggested that the oral form was safer than the injectable vaccine. However, this information, according to another veterinarian, was erroneous.


A little research revealed that many of the safeguards had been taken out when they developed the oral form. The "side effects" in this case, were as serious as it could be.  I am not the only owner to suffer heartbreak over a preventable reaction to prescription drugs or commonly dispensed medication that any individual animal could be allergic to.


Never give your pet any new medication without insisting on a prescription information sheet.


There should be a list of possible or likely side effects on that sheet.  Do not let your vet ignore FDA Guidelines {Ref #2} as has happened when things get busy in the veterinary office.  And never agree to any kind of medication, even a drug you've used before, until you do the research yourself - a hard lesson that I have finally learned.


I wish I had known then about the prescription death rate in PEOPLE for Adverse Reactions {Ref #3} and that many drugs (and vaccines) are "deadlier than the disease" and are prescribed death. {Ref #4}


Actually, the research I've done since is a real eye-opener and something every pet owner and parent should take time to absorb.


So, help your vet help you, just as you take a list of all your medications, your allergies, etc. to the doctor, do the same for your pet and ask questions...


Keep a list of drugs that your animal is taking—including over-the-counter products, supplements and prescription drugs—bring it with you to the veterinary office. Discuss medications that your animal is allergic to or has caused problems in the past. Discuss any serious or chronic health conditions that your animal may have.


Questions to ask; What is the name of the drug? What is it supposed to do? If the drug comes with a device or packaged with a measuring device, ask your vet to show you how to use it properly. How much of the medication should you give each time? How many times a day? Should I give it before, during or after meals? How should I store it? What should I do if I forget to give a dose to my pet? Should I finish giving all the medication, even if my pet seems better? Are there reactions I should look for and call you about right away?


And lastly, avoid medication errors by keeping animal drugs stored away from human drugs to prevent mix-ups. Accidental exposures to some human topical drugs and other type of human drugs can be dangerous and can cause fatalities in animals. Keep your animal's medications in their original labeled containers. Don't share medications from one animal to another unless directed by your veterinarian. Don't give human medicines to your animal unless directed by your vet.


Reference and Related Article Information: {1} Prescription Inserts ~ {2} Vets Ignore Guidelines


{3} Adverse Reactions ~ {4} Prescribing Death ~ Nutraceutical Disaster EST 2002 © Copyright © 0610163195-10



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