The ins and outs of pills & potions

inns and outs of pills


Every year at NWS we make thousands of prescribing decisions for a wide variety of conditions. As well as the obvious benefit of medication in making your pet’s condition better, there is an important aspect of prescribing which we, just like your doctor, take very seriously. Most medications have associated side effects which is why it is important to follow the instructions on the box, but we appreciate this raises questions. Here, we attempt to answer some of the common questions we receive every year.

My dog is lame – can he have some of my other dog’s painkiller?

You should consult your primary care vet initially. The painkiller may not be appropriate for the dog and this must be decided by a vet.

Can I give my cat paracetamol?

Never give cats paracetamol. Paracetamol kills cats because they lack the liver pathways necessary to metabolise the drug.

Can I give human drugs to my dog?

Drugs for administration to animals are tried and tested by veterinary drugs companies as part of the licensing process to check for side effects and assess safety. When a vet prescribes a drug, where a licensed product is available this should be used as a first line. For example a common painkiller prescribed in dogs is meloxicam compared to say ibuprofen, which does not have a license for use in dogs. For certain conditions there are no veterinary licensed products and therefore vets can justify the use of a human medicine. Before using a human medicine in your pet we make you aware of our prescribing decision. You should not give drugs to your dog or cat which have been prescribed for your own use.

I missed a dose. What should I do?

The answer to this question is specific to each drug. If your primary care vet prescribed the drug you should speak to them, if NWS prescribed the drug please call us.

He’s having a bad day. Can I give him a little bit more?

Again, this answer is drug-specific and you should consult a vet before altering a drug dose.

Will my vet know what NWS has prescribed?

After your consultation at NWS your consultant will write a letter to your vet explaining our findings and detail any medication prescribed. We send these letters either via post, fax, email or a combination within 2 days of your consultation to ensure there is no lapse in communication.

She was sick after her tablet. I don’t think she’s had her meds

Some medications cause sickness as a side effect – your vet will warn you that if this happens you should stop the medication and contact them. If you are worried that your pet will miss a dose from sickness you should contact your vet.

Why didn’t my dog get antibiotics after surgery?

NWS is at the forefront of careful antibiotic use and we take the subject of antibiotic resistance very seriously. We do not routinely send animals home with a course of antibiotics after surgery and have specific guidelines for treating infections which may occur following surgery.

With food or on an empty stomach?

The label on the medication should detail whether the drug is to be administered with food or on an empty stomach.

My dog developed diarrhoea after his anti-inflammatory pain drug. What do I do?

Diarrhoea is a common side effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. You should discontinue the medication and consult your vet.

Can all my pets’ medications be given together?

Some medications can be given all together but others need to be given separately or they interfere with each other’s actions. Always consult the drug label.

Can I take medication prescribed for my pet?

Definately not and this could even be dangerous