The Animal Welfare Society of SA has asked pet owners to refrain from self-medicating their animals. File Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
The Animal Welfare Society of SA has asked pet owners to refrain from self-medicating their animals. File Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Animal Welfare Society urges pet owners to refrain from giving animals human medication

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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Cape Town – The Animal Welfare Society of SA is cautioning pet owners to refrain from giving their pets any medication that humans use.

It said that pets are being treated on a regular basis after they had been administered paracetamol, aspirin and other painkillers by their owners who appear oblivious to the dangers of attempting to treat animals with medication designed for humans.

“Human medications are not always safe for pets and while some human drugs can be given to pets, others can be very toxic so by giving them human drugs and medication indiscriminately, they are inadvertently putting their pets’ lives at risk,” the society said.

It said the three most commonly used over-the-counter drugs were ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin.

It said owners attempting to extrapolate and estimate dosing from humans to pets could have potentially deadly consequences for their animals.

“We have had to resuscitate several cats and dogs who were given potentially lethal doses of aspirin and paracetamol by their owners who assumed that they were doing good.

“Some of these unfortunate pets displayed serious side effects such as kidney and liver toxicity which complicated their treatment, and prolonged their hospitalisation.

“The bottom line is that medication should never be administered to pets without first consulting a veterinarian,” the Animal Welfare Society said.

It said it explored reasons why pet owners would opt for this treatment for their animals and the common denominator was money.

“Some inconsiderate pet owners loath to invest in their pets' health, which is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with their pets' lives, whilst others feel that veterinary fees have become unaffordable,” it said.

The Animal Welfare Society added that there was no excuse for depriving pets of veterinary care and letting them pay the ultimate price.

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