There are numerous factors that will influence the outcome of poisoning, and the speed of which veterinary treatment is sought can be an important factor. Most cases of exposure are with dogs and fortunately the outcomes are usually good and the effects are mild. Cats, even though they’re less likely to be exposed, usually don’t fare as well, and this may be because their metabolism is different to dogs’, and because of their smaller size.
Animals don’t always take human medicine by accident
Pets don’t always end up being poisoned by human medication because they’ve licked a tasty pill they’ve found under the lounge; Owners sometimes give their pets human medication, and while it’s a common error made by well-intentioned owners, it can cause serious harm. Following is a list of drugs commonly ingested by pets:
NSAIDs (e.g. Nurofen, Voltaren, Naprosyn)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, are safe for people, but as few as one or two pills can cause serious harm to an animal. Dogs, cats, and birds, can develop serious stomach and intestinal ulcers, and suffer kidney failure.
Acetaminophen (e.g Panadol)
When it comes to pain treatment, acetaminophen (paracetamol) is very popular, and while it is quite safe for people and children, it is very dangerous for dogs and cats. It can cause damage to red blood cells and lead to liver failure.
Birth control (e.g. Yasmin, Diane 35, Levlen, Microval, “the Pill”)
Small quantities of these drugs typically do not cause trouble when ingested by pets, however large doses can cause bone marrow suppression, panting, muscle tremors, nervousness, and a rapid heart rate.
Cholesterol lowering medication (e.g. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)
Often referred to as “statins,” these commonly used medications typically only cause mild vomiting or diarrhoea if taken by animals. Long-term use, rather than single ingestions, is what usually causes problems with these drugs.