Just as their human counterparts, pets become ill at times and require medication.
If your veterinarian does prescribe a medication for your pet, here are three things to keep in mind:
1. Avoid drug interactions.
Make sure your veterinarian knows what your pet is taking. That includes not only prescription medication, but over-the-counter meds, supplements like vitamines and homeopathics, warns the American Veterinary Medical Association. Combined, these substances may interfere with one another’s effectiveness, cause a toxic reaction in your pet, or even organ damage. Give your veterinarian a list of these substances, including doses and how often.
2. Watch for side effects.
Even if your pet is taking only one medication, be watchful of any side effects it may be causing. Ask your veterinarian at the time the medication is prescribed what possible side effects to look for. Reduce the possibility of side effects by keeping the dose at an effective level, but, at the same time, as low as possible, administering the drug for no longer than necessary, and as prescribed, whether it be on a full or empty stomach, advises AVMA. Always follow the directions on the label, and never self-diagnose for your pet. If you do see any unusual reaction from you pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.
3. Monitor long-term medications.
If your pet is prescribed a medication for a long period of time or even for the rest of his life, keep an eye on any unusual symptoms he may be experiencing. Even if you don’t see any change in your pet, your veteinarian may want to conduct periodic testing, which can be required for some medications by local, state or federal law to make sure the medication isn’t causing any toxic buildup or other damaging side effects, adds AMVA.