Owner Is The Key To A Healthy Pet

posted: by: Acosta Veterinary Hospital Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 


As a veterinarian, I rely on the pet owner to comply with home care instructions as well as to the proper administration of medications sent home. Too often, however, a small percentage of what is communicated to the pet owner, while in the exam room, is actually remembered and followed through at home. I often send written instructions along with brochures that the pet owner can refer to, if questions arise at home. My staff and I attempt to explain everything while the pet owner is still in the office, especially when it comes to the administration of medications. It is important for pet owners to have a full understanding of what medications are being sent home. Do not be afraid to ask questions in the office. I also encourage clients to call us if questions arise once they are home. If medications or instructions are not carried out properly, a pet may not improve or they could get worse. One of the most frustrating situations I deal with is non-compliance of owners with the administration of medications at home. Too often, owners will call or come in for an exam with a similar or an exact problem with their pet and ask if a medication they have a remaining supply of ? and was sent home months ago ? would help. I always give at least a puzzled look in response when I know that the particular medication specifically stated on the label to administer ?until all have been given.? This common problem occurs when a pet owner stops giving the medication midway through the prescribed regimen, because their pet seems better. This can cause major problems, especially with the use of antibiotics. Stopping antibiotics before their prescribed regimen dictates can lead to a resurgence of the bacteria in the original location, or worse yet, somewhere else. Also, stopping an antibiotic may cause resistance to the antibiotic if one attempts to restart the same antibiotic shortly thereafter or in the future. Both oral and topical medications should always be sent home with a clearly printed and legible prescription label that gives exact dosing regimens. All medications should be given as directed until all has been administered unless specifically stated on the prescription label to do otherwise. By federal law prescription labels must contain certain information, including directions for proper use. Prescription labels also contain how often a drug should be administered. A proper label will state a drug should be given or applied every 12 hours instead of saying twice a day. There is a big difference in those two instructions. The timing associated with when a medication should be administered has to do with optimum drug concentrations in your pet?s system to be most effective. To further complicate matters, some medications have a tapering dose over a certain time period. This is commonly seen with steroids, and it is important to stay on schedule. A good way to stay on track is to mark the medication schedule on a calendar. This usually keeps everyone in the household aware of the dosing schedule. Remember, when a pet is on medication, it is a good idea to put one household member solely in charge to simplify matters and to eliminate mistakes in administration. Another common mistake is for pet owners to double up on a prescribed dose, because they forgot one dose, or they feel like the recommended dose was not effective. This is never a good idea. If you have for any reason forgotten to give your pet its medication at a certain time, just give the medication as directed in the prescribed amount at the next time it is due. If you feel a medication is not being effective and you have given it an adequate time frame, please contact your veterinarian before altering the administration of the medication in any way. When giving your pet medication it is also important to note whether the medication should be given on an empty stomach or with a full meal. Just as with human medications, this can affect the absorption and effectiveness of a medication. Also pay attention if certain foods should be avoided such as dairy products, if food is allowed. These types of details are critical to making sure medication has the optimum delivery and effectiveness. Please note that even some flea and heart-worm preventatives fall under this category, so be sure to read labels carefully. A helpful tip for giving pets oral medication, if allowed with food, is to use some type of treat to hide the medication to ease in acceptance with a pet. It is always best to offer a small tidbit of the treat to your pet first without the medication, to first note if the treat is even accepted by the pet. If you have success with a treat alone, then next place the medication in the treat and offer it to the pet. Always make sure the medication is actually swallowed. I cannot tell you how many times clients have told us that they later found a hidden stash of pills that were obviously spit out by the pet. A great aid to giving either your cat or dog oral medications is the Greenies Pill Pocket. These are tasty treats with a built in pouch designed for hiding the pill that you have to give to your pet. These have been successful for our in hospital treatments as well as for our clients at home. For anyone who has ever had to give a cat a pill, you should look into this helpful aid. When your pet requires either oral or topical medication, it is of utmost importance to follow the prescription label directions exactly. Remember, your pet is at your mercy to receive its medication properly. If you have any questions about the medication once you are home, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian?s office to clarify any issues. If you get home and your pet will not cooperate in the process of receiving its medications, call your veterinarian. Your veterinarian wants your pet to get better, so do your part as the responsible pet owner and follow the instructions exactly as listed

Dr. Tracy Acosta 228-385-7611