Question of the week: How different is human medicine to animal medicine?

The variations between treatment approaches in the areas of human and animal medicine have as many similarities as they do differences. It can be tempting to apply what works for us as humans in dealing with our animals, but is not always advisable.

One of the best examples of this is the seemingly benign aspirin. This common over-the-counter medicine is a staple in bathroom medicine cabinets everywhere. While a great option for our own aches and pains, this drug can be harmful to our pets. Aspirin and ibuprofen can result in stomach ulcers and gastric bleeding. In cats it can cause tissue swelling and excessive salivation and in some cases, death.

In some instances our doctors will advise clients to use human over-the-counter medications to treat their pets. Occasionally, human medications can be quite effective for things such as allergies or nutritional support. That said, it is always better to do so under the supervision of your veterinarian. Avoid the temptation to use your own medications on your pet. It may seem like a good way to save time and money but an unexpected trip to the the emergency room may create an even bigger dent in your schedule and your pocket book!