How can i tell if a product or medication is safe for use with pets?

Today, many drug manufacturers include the six-digit NADA or ANADA number and the statement: “FDA Approved” on the drug label. Below are answers to the most common questions we receive from pet owners about veterinary prescriptions and pharmacies. There are also medications, called over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, that don't require a prescription. Drugs can be purchased without a prescription when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines that the instructions for use of the drug are not too complicated and that they are suitable for the public to follow.

In some cases, such as common headache medications in people, the over-the-counter version is simply a weaker concentration than that of the prescription medication. You should not use any over-the-counter medication for your pet unless your vet has recommended it, as many over-the-counter medications may not be appropriate or safe for veterinary patients. If you have questions or complaints about a pharmacy's practices or the quality of its products, you can report the pharmacy to your state's pharmacy board and also to the FDA. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, top the list of the 10 drugs most consumed by people that pets consume most frequently.

Some of these reports involve pets ingesting their own medications or medications for other pets in the household. Mosquito repellent Pet owners should never use any product on their animals that isn't specifically created for them. We strongly recommend that owners never administer any medication to their pets without first consulting with their regular vet. In addition, it seems more likely that the product will be used correctly (for example, a cat will not be treated with a product labeled for dogs only) if the vet advises the pet owner on proper use.

In addition, the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) sets standards for the quality, purity, concentration, and consistency of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs in the United States. If you discover that you have one of the counterfeit products, contact your local solid waste agency for information on proper disposal in your community. If you suspect that your pet may have an upset stomach or that they are not feeling well, do not administer any of these medications (or similar) without consulting your veterinarian. If your pet accidentally ingests your medication or a medication for people, call your vet or an animal poison control center.

However, we've heard some anecdotal and unconfirmed reports of pets that had been receiving a brand-name drug, but didn't get as good results when given a generic version of the same medication. For more information on VCPR, including a technical definition, see the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics.

Chandra Vangompel
Chandra Vangompel

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