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Posted on 08-30-2017

Years ago my clients would simply cringe when I would prescribe an oral medication for their pet.  It wasn’t the cost of the medication.   It wasn’t the inconvenience of giving the medication, but the upcoming struggles with their pet that they were dreading.  It seems most pets simply did not appreciate our attempts to help them by shoving a nasty tasting pill down their throat!  I am happy to say that for many products we now have alternatives to get those much needed medications down our pets and they are happier and living longer because of it.

Many products are now in a tasty flavored tablet.  Everything from monthly heartworm prevention to antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are now available in a form that most pets will not only take willing but sometimes even beg for.  Other medications can be made into an oral suspension with flavoring added to mask any bitter taste of the medication.  With that being said, it is more important than ever to keep those medications out of the reach of children and pets.  We are seeing more and more toxicities from overdose of medications as the pet gained access to it when not intended.  Also keep in mind that human medications are often not only recommended for pets due to the drug but also the human flavoring, xylitol, can be toxic to both dogs and cats. 

Some medications have been made into a topical product that can be applied to the skin.  Many flea products are now available and some of those even contain a heartworm prevention that is used topically.  A dewormer is also available in a topical product.  This is great for that pet that tends to vomit up oral medications.  There is also a medication used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats that works quite well when made into a topical product that absorbs into the skin such as the hairless area on the inside of an ear flap.  Most cats would much prefer that to having to be pilled by their owner twice a day.  The only drawback to these products is that they may not be adequately absorbed well enough to control the medical condition and monitoring is recommended just like it would be with the oral product.

For the most part flea and tick collars simply do not work.  The chemical simply stays on the collar and I have even seen fleas very much alive right under the collar.  There are some exceptions to this old technology and products are being infused into the collar that slowly absorbs into the fat layer of the skin and will protect the pet from fleas and ticks just as it the product was administered directly onto the skin.  These new collars are even waterproof, have no odor and are nontoxic to humans and pets.  This is a way better alternative than the old flea bath and dips which we used to apply to our pets!

Ear medications have also made huge improvements.  Many older products had to be administered into the ear canal twice a day for long periods.  Products are now available that stay effective within the ear canal for up to two weeks, allowing the ear to heal and become less inflamed before the next dose even needs to be administered.  The products not only kill the bacteria or the yeast, but also deliver much needed anti-inflammatories to the area.

While not all medications can be made into a flavored pill or topical product, it is worth discussing with your veterinarian if you are having difficulty administering your pet’s medications.  Some medications can also be compounded by a specialty pharmacy if not already in a ready available form.

With all the advances in medical technology, our compliance rate with administration of pet medications has certainly improved.  Our clients, their pets, and our technicians are grateful!

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