Veterinary practitioners are calling for better education for pet owners after a survey revealed a high number of pets are ingesting human medicine.

In a study from Direct Line pet insurance, findings showed:
  • 78% of vets had treated animals that had ingested human medication in the last year
  • 28% of vets questioned had dealt with cases where owners have deliberately given human medicine to their pet
  • 76% of respondents reported they had seen cases involving dogs; however cats, rabbits and guinea pigs were also noted
The most common human medicines ingested included paracetamol and ibuprofen, but diabetic and heart medication, contraceptive pills and antidepressants ranked high among survey-takers.

The survey also found pet owners are often misinformed when it comes to treating their pets, with some vets describing incidents of owners believing paracetamol would help conditions such as arthritis and limping.

Practitioners at Direct Line are urging their fellow vets and VNs to educate well-meaning pet owners and highlight the often fatal risks associated with human medication.

Madeline Pike, veterinary nurse at Direct Line pet insurance, said: “It is concerning to see so many cases of pets ingesting human medication [as it] is extremely dangerous to pets…

“We should take every reasonable opportunity to raise awareness on the issue”

  • For more on the survey, and an RSPCA response to the findings, see Veterinary Times Vol 44, No,.
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