Home Can Be a Dangerous Place

For most of us, including our pets, home seems to be the safest place to be, but there are some dangers that lurk there for our companion animals. Following are the five top-selling human prescription medications that can have consequences for our pets.

Lipitor (atorvastatin) – reduces cholesterol levels. For pets who ingest Lipitor, can cause mild side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Nexium (esomeprazole) – an anti-ulcer, proton-pump inhibitor to decrease stomach acid production. We do use this medication in some animals when appropriate, but if inappropriately ingested, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Plavix (clopidogrel) – a medication that reduces stroke risk by inhibiting platelet clot formation. In pets, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate/salmeterol) – an asthma inhaler containing bronchodilator and steroids. If inhaler is chewed by a dog, pet can receive a significant overdose that could cause increased heart rate, rhythm abnormalities, agitation, vomiting and potentially acute collapse. Additionally, can lead to life-threatening changes in the electrolytes such as potassium without veterinary care.

Abilify (aripiprazole) – an anti-psychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and clinical depression. Ingestion by a pet can cause deep lethargy, vomiting, hyperthermia, significant changes in heart rate and blood pressure and seizures. This is an emergency and immediate veterinary care should be sought for the best outcome.

How can you protect your pets at home from these and other household dangers? 1) Keep human medications stored in a different location from pet medications. 2) Make sure that weekly pill holders are inaccessible – with their size and rattle, they can be mistaken for a toy and a pet could ingest a full week’s worth of medications. 3) Avoid putting medications in plastic storage bags prior to travel – these are not pet or child proof and can be easily chewed.

Adapted from www.dvm360.com, “5 top-selling human drugs: The dangers to pets,” 6.8.2011

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