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David Adams
PhD, MPH, MSc
Department of Health Sciences, AASU

 

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Best-Selling Human Medications—and What Happens When Pets Eat Them

by David Adams

January 01, 2014

#1 – Lipitor® (atorvastatin):
Humans use Lipitor® to lower cholesterol levels. In 2010 alone, Americans spent more than $7 billion on this drug. Lipitor®, however, causes only mild toxicity in dogs. The most common signs are vomiting and diarrhea.

#2 – (esomeprazole):
Americans spent $6.3 billion on Nexium®, a drug designed to lower gastric acid secretion. Although it has some veterinary indications, accidental ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet nibbles the Nexium®, then watch him closely. Fortunately, symptoms of Nexium® ingestion often subside without medical treatment.

#3 – Plavix® (clopidogrel):
Americans spend about $6 billion annually on Plavix®, a drug that reduces the risk of stroke in humans. Fortunately, it has a wide safety margin in pets. Typical signs of Plavix® toxicity are mild vomiting or diarrhea.

#4 – Advair Diskus® (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol)
Americans spend nearly $5 billion on Advair Diskus®, an inhaled asthma medication. Because Advair Diskus® inhalers contain many metered doses, dogs that chew them can ingest chew them, can receive massive amounts of the drug all at once. Toxicity signs and symptoms include heart arrhythmias, rapid pulse, agitation, vomiting and collapse. Severe electrolyte abnormalities are also likely and can prove life- threatening without immediate treatment.

#5 – Abilify® (aripiprazole):
Americans spend more than $4 billion on Abilify® each year. Used to treat psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and clinical depression, it is extremely toxic to pets. Common signs and symptoms of Abilify® ingestion include lethargy, vomiting, hyperthermia, fluctuations in pulse and blood pressure, and seizures. If your pet ingests Abilify®, seek immediate veterinary attention.

KEEP OUT OF REACH OF ROVER:
Store human medications in a different location than pet medications. Pet poison centers often get calls from owners who inadvertently gave stored their medication to their pet. Moreover, dogs can mistake pill holders for chew-toys or rattles. If a pill holder contains a week’s worth of medications, a dog could ingest massive doses of medications--significantly increasing the risk of poisoning.
Avoid packing medications in zip-lock baggies when you travel. Zip-locks are neither pet-proof nor childproof. Dogs can ingest a bag—and its contents—easily. Purses and their contents also can prove tempting for curious canines. Think about it: How many people carry medication, sugar-free gum and candy in our handbags and backpacks?

TOP TEN CALLS TO THE PET POISON HELPLINE:
#1 -- Foods
#2 -- Insecticides
#3 -- Rat poisons
#4 – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen
#5 -- Household cleaners, detergents, and polishes
#6 -- Antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor.
#7 -- Fertilizers
#8 – Acetaminophen-based drugs such as Tylenol
#9 – Amphetamine-based drugs used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder such as Adderall and Concerta
#10 -- Veterinary pain relievers such as Rimadyl, Dermaxx and Previcox

CALLS TO THE PET POISON HELPLINE: TOP TEN BREEDS
1-- Mixed breeds
2 -- Labrador retrievers
3 -- Golden retrievers
4 -- Chihuahuas
5 -- Yorkshire terriers
6 -- Dachshunds
7 -- Shih Tzus
8 -- Boxers
9 -- Beagles
10 -- German shepherds

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