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Keep Omicron stock-up medicine away from your pets

As Omicron looms, we’re advised to stock up our medicine cabinet with effective pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, cough medicine and lozenges. But it is important to remember these medicines are dangerous for our pets.

So as part of your preparation, think about how you securely store these medicines from your pets. Be sure not to leave them lying around and know the type of symptoms the ingestion of these medicines can cause.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are highly toxic for our pets and are rapidly absorbed following ingestion. Once absorbed these medications affect a number of systems within the body which can result in any one of the following symptoms:

  • diarrhoea

  • vomiting

  • lack of appetite

  • lethargy

  • restlessness

  • staggering

  • dark coloured urine

  • blood in faeces.

If you suspect your pet has ingested paracetamol but is not showing any of the symptoms, it is always better to be safe than sorry. The toxic effects can accumulate in your pet’s system days after ingestion and lead to kidney and/or liver damage and anaemia. It is important to seek veterinary advice as quickly as possible and do not induce vomiting unless directed by your vet.

Cough medicine and lozenges may contain painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen, along with the artificial sweetener xylitol. When ingested by dogs, xylitol causes a strong release of insulin which causes a rapid and extreme decrease in blood sugar levels. This drop in blood sugar levels can occur as quickly as 10 minutes after ingestion. Xylitol ingestion can cause vomiting, weakness, tremors, seizures and death. It is critical to seek veterinary advice immediately and keep your pet calm, treating for shock if necessary.

The toxic effects of human medicines on animals should never be underestimated and seeking prompt veterinary care is critical for a happy ending. So be sure to keep all those cold and flu medicines out of reach of your pet this Covid season.

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