Communication is the key to good healthcare whether you are working with a family physician, pediatrician, or veterinarian.
Pets, unlike people, cannot tell you where it hurts. Veterinarians and their clients must work together, in some cases as detectives, to uncover the root of a health problem.
Recent concerns regarding the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to reduce pain and inflammation reminds us that good communication between client and veterinarian is essential.
While some clients extol the virtues of these medications as miracle drugs and lifesavers other clients may have pets that are more sensitive. They may have an adverse reaction to the very same medication that added years to another pet's life.
Questions to Ask
Important questions to discuss when considering whether or not NSAIDs are the right therapy include:
- Are there tests that should be given before my pet starts this medication?
- How long will my pet need to be on this medication?
- How frequently should my pet be seen by the veterinarian?
- Are there any non-pharmaceutical recommendations such as weight control and exercise to consider?
Tell Your Veterinarian
Clients have important information that must be shared with their veterinarian prior to starting any medications. These include:
- all other medications the pet is presently taking (including non-prescription products);
- any allergic reactions;
- side effects from other medications;
- vomiting and/or diarrhea;
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- a bleeding disorder;
- if your dog is pregnant, nursing or you plan to breed your dog.
Potentially Serious Side Effects
Call your veterinarian immediately if you notice:
- decrease or increase in appetite;
- change in bowel movements (diarrhea, black, tarry or bloody stools);
- change in behavior (increased or decreased activity level; seizures or aggression);
- yellowing of gums, skin, or whites of the eyes;
- change in frequency of drinking and or urination;
- redness, scabs, or scratching of the skin.
In rare situations serious side effects can result in death.
The veterinarian, client and patient all working together is the best way to ensure a long and healthy life for your companion.