Vail Pet Talk: Medicating your pets has never been easier
January 3, 2013
My little dog Franki is on Prozac and I now have to give her a pill twice a day, every day. I prescribe medication all day long to my patients so talk about getting instant empathy.
Years ago I was invited to a round-table discussion sponsored by a major pet pharmaceutical company. They wanted to know what us veterinarians thought our clients wanted. Ten years ago it was, “once a day and chewable.” Oh how times have changed for pet owners; there are so many more options now to medicate your pets than there were years ago.
For antibiotic therapy one of my favorites is a single injection that lasts for 14 days called convenia. It is a great option for skin, urinary and soft tissue infections susceptible to cephalosporin antibiotics and I find it especially convenient for cats. Antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for pets. Most have a chewable or liquid form and, in my opinion, ones that only need to be given once a day are preferable. Why? Because every lecture I have ever attended says surveys say pet owners are poor medicine givers! I’m a believer in my fellow pet owning people but I cannot tell you how many times people come in for a recheck exam and still have half a bottle of pills left … two months after their 10-day prescription was given!
Another form of medicine delivery is called transdermal delivery (TD) and it goes through the skin. The first ones we used were fentanyl patches for pain, but now, TD pens are available for many, many drugs. Here is a partial list of those available via TD delivery: steroids like prednisone or triamcinolone, antihistamines, GI drugs like Pepcid, methimazole for hyperthyroid cats, tramadol for narcotic pain relief, blood pressure medication, heart medication, anti-inflammatories, a few antibiotics and even Prozac or Elavil for anxiety disorders, and many more. I find TD delivery most effective for cats; we use it inside the ear tips and my cat owning clients love it. It is a little more expensive but very convenient. The reason for the explosive growth in TD delivery is years ago we questioned how available the drugs really were but the technology has improved so much and tests show us TD drugs do the job very well!
Dogs are much easier to give pills and it ends up being much cheaper. Who doesn’t like cheaper and easier? For Franki I am using a product called Pill Wrap that comes in a jar and is like tootsie roll consistency. I just form a little around the pill and she gobbles it up before I can even say “you’re one crazy dog, Franki.” We also carry pill pockets from Greenies, which are equally effective. Like I mentioned above, many pet pharmaceutical companies now make its medications in chewable treat tablets. Compounding pharmacies also make chewable treats or flavored liquids that pets like. My favorite is chicken with bacon for dogs or triple tuna for cats – yum, yum.
So now you have no excuse not to properly medicate your pets. All kidding aside, compliance for giving pet medications is usually very low and for good reason. It’s about as fun to do as forcing cough syrup down your toddlers gullet!
Stephen Sheldon, DVM, practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital and can be reached at 970-524-3647 or via the hospital website, http://www.gypsumah.com.