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People Medicine and Your Pet

You take Advil or Tylenol for aches and pains, so maybe it would help poor Fido or Kitty with that sore paw too… The temptation may be there, but the important message is: DON”T. Just as you would with small children, you want to keep all your medicines – prescription or over the counter – out of reach of your furry kids too.

Medications work because of their specific action on the body’s chemistry and other processes. But the human body, the dog physique and the cat anatomy do not all operate the same way. That’s why many drugs that are beneficial for us can be harmful for your pets.

It’s a very common mistake. In fact, about a quarter of the phone calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) are about pets and human medications.

There may be cases where OTC (over the counter) or Rx (prescription) drugs can help your beloved pets too. The most important thing to remember is to check with your Vet each time to make sure. Ask for clear instructions on how to proceed if your Vet gives you the all clear. When in doubt, just say no!

Even if the medication can work for your pet, the dosage will be significantly different and may vary according to the disorder or condition involved. That means you will have to check with your Vet each time to make sure the instructions you get are valid.

Dangerous For Your Pet
Sometimes, your pet may decide that those sugar coated tablets look like candy – and sometimes our animal companions just aren’t that discerning about what they eat. It’s very important to keep all medications out of reach and locked away from your curious, enterprising, acrobatic cat or dog.

• NSAIDs – this class of commonly used pain killing drugs, called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) includes ibuprofen and naproxen meds like Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Naprosyn can be extremely harmful to your pet. Smaller animals, including dogs, cats, ferrets and rodents may develop serious stomach and intestinal ulcers and even kidney failure from a single pill.
• Tramadol (Ultram®) is a pain reliever that may be okay for your pet but in the incorrect dose, it can cause sedation or agitation, wobbliness, disorientation, vomiting, tremors and even seizures.
• Adderall® – used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, it actually acts as a stimulant for your pet, causing an increased heart rate, hike in body temperature, seizures and more.
• Zolpidem (Ambien®) and other sleep-aids help you to relax and fall asleep but tend to have the opposite effect on your pet, causing agitation and increased heart rate.
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is very dangerous to cats in particular but you should be equally vigilant with dogs. Tylenol can cause serious liver and red blood cell damage.
• Duloxetine (Cymbalta®), Clonazepam (Klonopin®) Prozac and other antidepressants or anti-anxiety agents are very dangerous for your pet and can cause agitation, tremors and seizures. Venlafaxine (Effexor®) is of special mention because, for some unknown reason, cats love to eat the capsules.
• Crestor and Lipitor and other cholesterol medications can cause mild vomiting or diarrhea.

The Most Important Advice:

• Do not leave medications on the counter or table where pets can get at them, even if they’re securely closed – a curious dog can chew through a plastic pill bottle in no time.
• Don’t be tempted to keep medications beside the bed, even if it helps you remember to take them. It’s a convenient location for your pet to access it too.
• When you are using the medication yourself, be sure to take out what you need and close up the bottle again as quickly as possible.
• Keep your vet’s number and the Pet Poison Helpline info handy:
◦ Pet Poison Helpline is available throughout Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.
◦ Website:
◦ Phone: 1-800-213-6680 FREE ($39.00 per incident includes initial consultation and follow-up calls)
◦ Hotline hours: 24-hours a day, 7 days a week


To your pets best health!

Dr. Gary Arzem, Newmarket’s Go-To Veterinarian

About Dr. Arzem and The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Gary Arzem received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario in 1989. He is the founder and head veterinarian at The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Having practiced veterinary medicine for more than 25 years, his skills and special interests include surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and radiography), dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology and public health as it relates to pets and their owners. He is a founding member of The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region in Newmarket. Dr. Arzem is recognized as an educational leader in the community and is involved with The Ontario Veterinary College, York Region District School Board, Simcoe County Board of Education, and Seneca College’s Co-Operative Education Programs. Dr. Arzem also participates in several continuing education conferences, including The North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and he is actively involved in fundraising for a number of charitable organizations, such as The Pet Trust Fund, The Farley Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Cancer Society. He has also appeared on City T.V.’s Animal House Calls and Rogers Your Pet Your Vet television shows and has written several articles for Newmarket’s Snapd Newspapers.

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