Late last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to women who use the drug Evamist®, made by Ther-Rx Corporation to treat the symptoms of menopause. Exposure to this medication can have negative affects on both children and pets.
Evamist is sprayed on a woman’s arms to reduce hot flashes. Two cases of toxicity have resulted in female dogs and ingestion of the spray was the result of licking or being held in their owner’s arms. Signs of toxicity are not immediate. If contact between the sprayed skin and a pet cannot be avoided, women should cover their skin with clothing.
The Evamist problem is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to medication toxicity and pets. VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance) reports nearly 20,000 claims for poisoning of pets during the 4 years between 2005 and 2009. The number one cause of pet poisoning, you guessed it, is accidental exposure to human or pet medications. The average policyholder claim was $791 dollars per poisoning episode.
Medications poisoning can occur a variety of ways. Pet owners may simply want their sick or painful pet to feel better and administer their own medications. This commonly occurs with owner-administered non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Acetaminophen is another potentially deadly pain reliever. Cats are very sensitive to its effects and can develop anemia, but dogs develop liver problems. Pills are easily dropped unnoticed, but if your pet jumps on every dropped object like it is a tasty morsel, down goes the pill. I’ve seen pets ingest their owner’s antidepressant medications this way and end up in the AMC ICU.
Because pets are superbly clever, they always find new ways to cause trouble. Some inquisitive dog got into trouble by prowling in the bathroom trash. He found a cotton swab used to apply a skin cancer drug. According to Animal Poison Control, the residual drug on the cotton swab was enough to cause severe toxicity, even death. Cats are also sensitive to this drug.
Animal Poison Control is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week service, available to pet owners and veterinarians. The $65 fee provides medical advice to veterinarians and peace of mind to the pet owner. Once the fee has been paid for an episode of poisoning, additional calls related to the poisoning incident can be made without additional charges. The Animal Poison Control number is (888) 426-4435.
The Animal Medical Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency, routine and specialty care: (212) 838-8100.
The Animal Medical Center
For 100 years, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.