To prevent or treat an illness in your pet, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication. Understanding important information about the medication and how to treat your pet can help your animal’s recovery or continued good health.
"Just as you would talk to your doctor about a medicine prescribed for you or your children, you should talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s medications," says Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). "And if you have any questions after you leave the animal clinic, don’t be afraid to contact and follow-up with your veterinarian."
Here are 10 questions you should ask your vet when medication is prescribed.
Your veterinarian can tell you what the medication is expected to do for your pet and how many days to give it.
Your pet may have fewer side effects, like an upset stomach, from some drugs if they are taken with food. Other medications are best to give on an empty stomach.
Giving the right dose at the right time of the day will help your pet get better more quickly.
Some medications should be stored in a cool, dry place. Others may require refrigeration.
Your veterinarian may want to hear from you if your pet vomits. You may be told to stop giving the drug or to switch your pet to another drug.
Giving your pet too much of certain medications can cause serious side effects. You’ll want to know if giving too much is a cause for concern and a trip to the animal emergency room.
Some medications, such as antibiotics, should be given for a certain length of time, even if your pet is feeling better.
Always tell your veterinarian what other medications your pet is taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, and herbs or other dietary supplements. You may want to write these down and take the list with you to the vet’s office.
Your veterinarian can tell you if a reaction is normal or if it signals a serious problem. You may be asked to call your vet immediately if certain side effects occur.
FDA encourages veterinarians and animal owners to report serious side effects from medications to FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine at 1-800-FDA-VETS. For a copy of the reporting form and more information on how to report problems, visit the website, How to Report An Adverse Drug Experience.
Your vet may want to examine your pet or perform laboratory tests to make sure the medication is working as it should.
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