Senior nursing assistant Calvin Samuels with hospital assistant Oscar Mdudu. Supplied
Senior nursing assistant Calvin Samuels with hospital assistant Oscar Mdudu. Supplied

Pets owners oblivious to dangers of giving pets human medication

By Siyabonga Kalipa Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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Cape Town - There seems to have been an increase in pets being given human medication by their owners.

Animal Welfare Society of South Africa spokesperson Allan Perrins said they are treating pets on a regular basis that have been given Paracetamol, Aspirins and other painkillers by their owners, who appear oblivious to the dangers of trying to treat them with medication 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,” he said.

He said three over the counter drugs, ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin, are the most commonly used with owners attempting to extrapolate and estimate dosing from humans to pets with potentially deadly consequences for their pets.

Perrins said they 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,” he said.

He said the bottom line is that medication should never be administered to pets without first consulting with a veterinarian.

Perrins said they had explored a few reasons why pet owners opted to try and treat their pets themselves, and the common denominator was money.

“Whatever the explanation, there is absolutely no excuse for depriving one's pets of veterinary care and letting them pay the ultimate price,” he added.

Mdzananda Animal Clinic general manager Heidi May said they had not seen an increase where they are situated.

She said their clients are more likely to come in as they are not familiar with what the medication could do for animals.

“It may be that in the more private practice environment where people are more likely to Google this kind of thing, they may resort to using human meds more frequently on their pets themselves,” said May.

She added that incorrect dosing could result in over or under-dosing, and the effect on humans is not necessarily the same on animals, so can, in fact, have bad side effects on animals.

Weekend Argus

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