Q: When my dog Missy had a fever I gave her ibuprofen thinking it would help her feel better. Instead, she ended up in the ER with vomiting and blood in her stool. She’s OK now, but could you please let others know about this hazard?
A: Ibuprofen is in a class called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. They rank among the most widely used drugs in both humans and dogs because of their ability to reduce pain and swelling. Among pets, however, they also hover near the top of the list of medications most responsible for accidental poisonings.
Human NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Canine NSAIDs include carprofen (Rimadyl), etodolac (Etogesic), meloxicam (Metacam) and deracoxib (Deramaxx).
It is critical to know that very few of the human-approved NSAIDs are considered safe for use in pets –– cats or dogs. And some are downright deadly. Normal human doses of naproxen and ibuprofen, for example, have been known to cause extreme gastrointestinal upset, compromise the liver and kidneys, and even prove fatal if pets are left untreated.
Pets can be exposed to these common drugs when their owners leave pill bottles within reach of nosy creatures or when they seek to treat their pets’ pain or fever as you did.
The sweet candy coating of these drugs makes them especially attractive to dogs. And the allure of a pain-free pet makes them attractive to well-meaning humans. This combination conspires to make this class of drugs a deadly source of pet poisoning.
Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.