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Photo Credit: rselph via Compfight cc
We heard a story recently from the NZ Herald about a family’s pet cat who almost died from medication poisoning. The unfortunate occurrence was associated with flea medication prescribed for dogs being administered to their cat, Dexter. Dexter was seriously ill and near the brink of death, but was managed to be saved thanks to the hard work of a dedicated vet.  We were glad to hear that Dexter managed to pull through his ordeal (thank goodness!). However, we have encountered other pets brought before us at the veterinary hospital who have not been so lucky.This problem raises the importance of always checking whether a particular medication is safe to give to your pet. 
Although some of us may think that all pets can be given the same medication whether they be cat, dog, fish (and so forth), this is definitely not the case! Ingredients and/or chemicals in particular medication could be poisonous to a cat whereas it is harmless for dogs (for example). As for the incident that occurred in NZ, the flea medication used on Dexter was highly toxic because it consisted of a synthetic chemical, permethrin. If a cat ingests permethrin, it can cause severe muscle twitching, seizures and ultimately, death. Dogs, on the other hand, do not suffer any form of side effects from ingesting permethrin.
Apart from being careful of whether a medication for a dog is suitable for a cat (and vise versa), owners must also be careful of the quantity or dosage of medication applied to their pet.  In the case of Advantix (a type of tick medication), there are different dosages for dogs of different sizes. If you give a smaller dog medication that is meant for a much larger dog, complications and/or serious side effects can occur.
We implore all our clients to take care of their furry friends by carefully reading the instructions on any pet medication before administering it. If you are unsure whether your pet fits the profile for a specific type of medication then we strongly advise you to contact your local vet for further assistance. Doing so can save you and your family a whole lot of heartache! If you have any questions or you feel your pet is suffering from an adverse reaction to medication, do not heistate to contact us here at Concord Veterinary Hospital.