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Initial Comments about side effects when using drugs

All medications, even when used correctly, are capable of causing harm, usually in a tiny percentage of patients...it's important not to freak out if you read the warning labels. 

The warning labels have to mention every possible known side effect, including those at large overdoses or those that are usually minor (such as GI irritatbility), or those that affect only a small percentage of patients. 

Think of these warning labels as comparable to a "Slippery when Wet" sign on a highway bridge:  You still go over the bridge...you just use extra caution when you do so.  

On the other hand, casual disregard for the dangers of using potent medicines can be deadly for the patient. More about this subject soon

Medications don't work if you don't give them

Guide lines for medicating Pets:

We veterinarians are supposed to make reasonably sure that:

We've offered the most suitable medication for the patient given the restraints of costs, practicality, and potential benefits versus the potential harm.

That the pet owner has a good understanding of what they're supposed to do with the medication.

That the pet owner has a rough idea of potential problems with the medication so they can be on the look out.

That the pet owner is capable of giving the meds.  An example of this are the many fractious cats I know I couldn't get a pill down twice a day   ... why would I expect the owner to be able to do it?

That there are clear instructions available with the medication to prevent misunderstandings, screw ups, and counter poor memory.

Make sure the owner knows if the medication should be refridgerated, given with meals, without meals, and so forth.

Remember this project of getting your pet better is a team effort .... feel free to contact your vet and ask questions or report that you're having problems

You, the pet owner. are supposed to take your role seriously and:

Make sure you understand the label instructions and know what to look for if the medication has serious adverse affects

Know whether or not the medication should be refridgerated, given with meals, and so forth.

Be honest with your vet about whether you are likely to be able to give the medication.  If your schedule makes it difficult or if the pet is simply difficult to handle; tell us so we can come up with plan B

Giving a Pill or Capsule :

Dogs: Have your dog sit at your side. Place one hand on the upper jaw and press the dog's lips gently against the sides of the teeth with your fingers.

With the fingers of your other hand, pull the lower jaw down and place the pill on the base of the tongue, far back in the mouth.

Close the mouth, return the head and neck to normal position, and blow on the dog's nose or massage his throat to encourage swallowing.

Any form of distraction (praising, stroking, etc) will also help to get the dog to swallow.

Some dogs are easier to medicate if you put the pill in a small amount of canned dog food, cheese, or peanut butter. Offer it to your pet and be sure that he swallows it. Some pets will appear to have eaten something only to spit it out when you are not looking.

Cats: Place a towel on a table and put your cat on the towel (this gives the cat something to cling to), or place the cat on your rug. Gently open the mouth and insert the pill at the back of the tongue. If your cat tries to scratch you, try wrapping its body and legs in a towel, leaving only its head sticking out.

If you cradle your cat in one arm, and place your thumb and forefinger on either side of its face, you can force the mouth open by applying gentle pressure at the space between the teeth. This should allow you to deposit the pill in your cat's mouth, preferably at the back of the tongue.

Next, return the head and neck to a normal position, massage your cat's throat, blow on his nose, or otherwise distract him until he swallows.

Administering Liquid Medication
Some medications are available in liquid form. Make sure that you tell your veterinarian if you have a preference.

Dogs and Cats: Gently pull the corner of the mouth away from the face to form a "pocket." Slowly give a small amount of the liquid.

Allow your pet to swallow before giving more liquid. Do not squirt all the mediation into your pet's mouth at once.

Applying Ear Drops and Ear Ointments
Before administering ear medication, the ears may need to be cleaned. Your veterinarian may recommend a cleanser, or you can use moistened swabs.

To apply the medication, push back the ear flap and gently position the applicator or tip of the tube in the base of the ear.

Discharge the number of drops or amount of ointment prescribed. Gently massage the base of the ear with your fingers to help the medication work its way into the ear canal.

Applying Eye Drops and Ointments
Before administering eye medication, be sure that the eye lids are clear of discharge. Ask your veterinarian if a special eye wash is needed, or you can use warm water on a cotton ball to gently cleanse around the eyes. Next, use your thumb and forefinger to open the eyelids. With your other hand, place the 1 to 2 drops or a tiny amount of ointment on the eye or the pink tissue around the eye. Your pet will blink and the medication will cover the entire eye. When applying medication to the eye, try to avoid your pet's direct line of vision when approaching, and avoid touching the eye with the container of medication.
·Be sure to give all medication as directed by your veterinarian.
·Be sure that you understand whether you are to give the medication until it is entirely used up or for a specified number of days.
·Be sure that you understand how the medication should be stored and special instructions for giving the medication.
·If you have any problems administering the medication, contact your veterinarian.
·If the condition worsens or does not improve as expected, contact your veterinarian.

MSDS (Medical Data Sheets) are  FDA provided information about all FDA approved medications, pesticides and chemicals:

If you have concerns or curiosities about any medication or pesticide or chemical that your veterinarian recommends ... your veterinarian, by FDA regulation is supposed to be able to provide you ... if you request... with a MSDS ... Material Safety Data Sheet ...

Until the internet became so universal, this was a major headache; storing and organizing the hundreds of information sheets on hundreds of drugs and pesticides along with the hundreds of updates.  Luckily, very few people asked for these Data Sheets.  And for good reason .... it's like reading the tax code ... you're likely to go blind or die of boredom if you ever read one
Conversely, these Data Sheets might scare you to death since they list every possible bad thing that has ever been reported about the drug.

At any rate, the internet has made looking up information about a drug relatively easy.  I've found the easiest way is to simply write into Google or Yahoo or other search engine the words ....
"MSDS for         "   and simply type in the generic or brand name of the drug in question.

On This Page

This page is a work in progress. It's my intention to discuss some of the more important points and things of interest in the Veterinary Pharmacy.

I'll try to get to these subjects soon:

Enzymatic medications

Alternative treatments


Comments about off label use of Medications

Comments about internet veterinary pharmacies

The History of Antibiotics

Pet Insurance Includes Meds Too

Website Directory

Home    The Human-Animal Bond     The History of Veterinary Medicine    About our No Kill Shelter     The FoxNest Veterinary Hospital     

"What To Expect When You Go To The Vet"
if your pet should have a problem with ...

Abscesses, wounds, and injuries

Arthritis, Lameness, Fractures, and Ligament Injuries
To include Femoral Head Removal, Hip Dysplasia, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries, Panosteitis, Radiographic Demonstrations, Disc Disease, and Bone Surgery

Bladder, Urinary Tract, & Kidney Problems

Blood Diseases, Anemias etc
Strokes, Vascular Diseases, Anemias, DVT, DIC, Blood Parasites, Rat Poison, & Bleeding disorders

Cancer, Masses, Lumps and Bumps

Cardiology  Heart disease in Cats, Cardiac Hypertrophy, Valvular disease, Cardiac Insufficiency, Congestive Heart Failure, Heartworm Disease, and a little history about the milestones in treating heart disease

Cats: general information page and directory of diseases and problems specific to cats including vaccine recommendations, leukemia, feline viral infections, feline upper respiratory disease and cats that just aren't feeling well.

Dentistry and problems of the mouth and throat

Dermatology: Skin problems including allergies, rashes, bacterial infections, and itching. Hair Loss, Yeast Infections, Hormonal Problems


Ear Infections and Other Ear Problems

Eye Problems  and Ophthalmic Diseases

Exotics:  Pocket Pets, Rabbits, Hamsters etc

Fleas, Ticks, and other parasite problems

Heart disease; Cardiac diseases, vascular diseases, stroke, & heartworms

Hormone Diseases: Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Cushing's Disease or Hypercortisolism, Addison's disease or Hypocortisolism, Pancreatitis, obesity as a disease

Infectious Diseases  Colds, Distemper, Parvo, Leptospirosis, Bruceellosis, Panleukopenia, Feline AIDS, Leukemia, Hepatitis, Kennel Cough, Ringworm, Rabies, FIP, Canine Herpes, Toxic Shock Syndrome, & More

Intestinal problems: diarrhea, constipation, torsion, indigestion, and gas. Also pancreatitis, vomiting, esophagitis, colitis, parvo and other types of dysentery

Kidney Disease

Liver Diseases     

Metabolic Diseases: Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Cushing's Disease or Hypercortisolism, Addison's disease or Hypocortisolism, Pancreatitis, obesity as a disease

Neural Problems and Diseases: Epilepsy, Rabies, Distemper, FIP, Paralysis, Tetanus, Seizures, Disc Disease, Toxoplasmosis & others

Obesity; new information and about the weight loss diet that's working on cats and dogs


Parasite Problems Fleas, Ticks, Heartworms, Intestinal Worms, Mosquitos, Lice, Mites, and other welfare recipients

Poisons  Snakes, Insects, household chemicals, plants, and foods that might poison your pet

Respiratory Diseases

Senior Pet Page: Geriatric Medicine

Skeletal-Muscular Problems Arthritis, Fractures, ACL, Ligament Injuries, Disc Disease, Pannus, and many other problems of the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments

Skin Problems: allergies, rashes, bacterial infections, and itching. Hair Loss, Yeast Infections, Hormonal Problems

Surgery: Spays, Castrations, Testicle Recipes, Soft Tissue Surgery, Hard Tissue Surgery (Bones), C- Sections, Declawing, Tumor Removal and Cancer Surgery

Wounds, punctures, injuries, and abscesses

Urinary Tract Diseases and Problems

Other Topics on This Site

The Human-Animal Bond

History of Veterinary Medicine; lots of interesting stuff    

Zoonotics: Diseases, worms, and parasites people get from pets.

Lab Tests and what they tell us

Medications/Pharmacy Page

Nutrition & Diets
Includes information about Prescription diets used to treat disease, and a discussion about the pet food industry

Reproduction, breeding, & rearing information
Includes information about feline and canine heat or estrus, breeding, C-Sections, pyometra or Infected Uterus, dystocia, no milk, mastitis, & brucellosis
Also newborn care, undescended testicles, and alternative to spaying and castration

Vaccine and other preventive health recommendations

WildLife Page:  Taking care of baby bunnies, squirrels, and birds.  A very funny story about beavers, and other misc information

Our Dog Page:  a directory of problems of concern in dogs including parvovirus, distemper, canine herpes, and other diseases

Veterinary Pet Insurance