Keep household medicines away from prying paws, vets warn

Vet staff caring for dog

Vets have urged owners to keep cold and flu medication away from their pets this winter after a puppy needed emergency treatment after swallowing ibuprofen.

Six-month-old Lilly the Labrador cross was saved with the help of vet charity PDSA and pet emergency service Vets Now after eating tablets that she had found on a bedside table.

“My partner and I had left the house for less than an hour and we came home to find an empty pack of painkillers with teeth marks in the foil packet, which had been taken from the bedside table,” Lilly’s owner, Jonathan, explained. “We think she’d eaten three of the tablets, but couldn’t be sure as we found a few loose tablets scattered around the house.

Poorly dog

“She started to rapidly deteriorate and we became seriously concerned. She started swaying side to side, almost like she was drunk, became really lethargic and then started being sick.”

Fortunately, Lilly had not eaten enough ibuprofen to cause organ damage but the vet team needed to work quickly to prevent further problems. Lilly was given medication to protect her stomach and stop any further absorption of the toxin.

“Household medicines such as ibuprofen can cause severe organ damage or death in pets,” said PDSA senior vet Sarah Brown. “Lilly was very lucky her owners sought vet treatment which helped to avoid any long-term damage. With quick treatment and lots of TLC, she was able to go home to recover fully.”

Brown added: “It’s not unusual for us to see animals who have swallowed human medicines. Dogs, and especially young puppies like Lilly, are naturally curious and like to explore with their mouths. Tablets can look quite attractive to them so pet owners are advised to keep all medications in a cupboard well out of reach. If Lilly hadn’t received such prompt, thorough treatment, the story could have been very different.”

If your pet swallows any medications that they shouldn’t, it’s vital to seek veterinary advice immediately as waiting for symptoms could be fatal.

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