Pet Talk: easier ways to medicate your pet |

Pet Talk: easier ways to medicate your pet

by Stephen Sheldon, DVM
Pet Talk
Pet medication has come a long way. There are now many options that are quicker and less painless for your pets.
Special to the Daily

Years ago, I was a participant at a veterinary round table discussion sponsored anonymously by a major veterinary pharmaceutical company. Full disclosure, I was paid $100 and a free meal. The question was: “What do you guys and gals in the field want to make it easier for pet owners to give their pets medication?” You see, compliance with medications in pets at home is a huge issue.

Back then the answer was easy. We wanted once-a-day medication and we want it to be chewable for dogs and a palatable liquid for cats. Well, the industry listened, and since then has been very innovative in making pet medications.

But speaking of pet medications, let’s back up a little. About half of the medications your veterinarian uses are human medications and have not been FDA approved for use in pets. This is called “extra label usage” and was approved for veterinarians by congress in 1994. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Veterinarians may use approved animal and human drugs for therapeutic purposes in an extra label manner so long as there is no threat to public health … even when an identical, approved animal drug exists.”

The reason for the extra label usage goes back to the FDA and animal drugs. It takes a lot of resources to get a drug FDA approved and if a manufacturer does not think there will be a descent return on investment, they won’t develop a drug for pet use, and the pet suffers. So thank Congress for something useful.

The meds

Since American pet owners are fabulously committed to their pets, we have seen a wonderful up tick in FDA approved veterinary products. Some of my favorites are products that can last up to 14 days with one application. Convenia (yes, conveniently named) is an antibiotic injection that lasts 14 days with one painless subcutaneous injection. I love it for cats. It’s a little pricey for dogs, but we still use it quite often. Also in the antibiotic class and fairly new is a once-a-day flavored liquid antibiotic for cats or small dogs called Orbax. It fills a nice niche and is very easy to give.


Ears are another place where innovation was needed. Most medications needed to be administered twice daily, which is never fun in a painful, swollen ear. A new product called Osurnia need only be applied by your veterinarian on Day one and then again a week later. After that, it lasts 14 days and you are not supposed to put anything in the ears for up to 45 days. For very stubborn ear infections caused by bacteria and yeast, there is a new medication called Posatec that has a super duper new yeast medication. The good news about Posatec is that you only need eight to 10 drops in the affected ear once daily.

Pain killers

Pain medications have also gotten very easy to use. Most anti-inflammatory meds are only needed once a day and come in a variety of chew tabs or liquids. Also very popular these days are compounding pharmacies, which take human drugs and mix them up so they are easy to give to pets. We happen to have a great compounding pharmacy right here in Eagle County that will work seamlessly with your veterinarian.

Stephen Sheldon, DVM, practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital. He is past president of the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association as well as a veterinary industry consultant. He can be reached at 970-524-3647, or by visiting

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