Sunday, June 2, 2013

Astonishing Secrets - Emergency Pain Relief for your dog or cat

Welcome to another Astonishing Secrets post - where it is all about helping you (the loving pet owner) help your pet (the most important thing) until you can get them to see your vet.

"I hear you hurt somewhere. My advice to you is to see Dr Liz"
As I have said before (and will continue saying)... this is not to replace a vet visit, as really, if your pet needs a vet visit, then it needs a vet visit.  Reading lots of stuff on the internet is not going to change the fact that your pet is unwell, and needs to see a vet.

Now, back to what this post is all about - Emergency pain relief for your pet.  Now, this is just for dogs and cats, as every other animal are not little dogs or cats  And the same applies for dogs and cats too... dogs are not little people, and cats are not little dogs.   Remember this fact!

I have to thank Potter and Maggie, two patients that came to visit me recently ...  both pets had suffered pain, and it was either on a weekend or out of hours.  Not severe enough to be life threatening, but certainly enough to interfere with their weekend activities.  And, as loving pet owners they still didn't want to disturb me to ask.

Feeling miserable?
The advice I am going to give you, is just general advice only, and you have to use common sense on whether it is appropriate for your pet, given what you know about your pet's medical history.

Disclaimer: I will accept no responsibility for any adverse reaction or effect this advice may have on your pet, as only you know your pets medical history and what medications they are on. Please let me know, however, if you have any problems, as I genuinely want to help you and your pet. As I am in NSW, Australia, I am going to talk about medications easily available in my area.

Now, as dogs are not small people.... you have to not do what some people do - if I take 2 capsules, then 1 capsule should be OK for my dog.  This is soooo wrong!  Do not do that!

What we are going to talk about are the over the counter human medications, as this is really to help you in a time when you can't get to a vet immediately.

What you need:

1. Your pet's weight
2. A great vet - that you know you can speak to about this information comfortably

The medication I am suggesting you can use are over the counter, no prescription necessary in New
South Wales Australia.  You also have to remember, and this VERY important,  the medication is "off label use", which means that whilst it is regularly used in animals for emergency pain relief, and what I will write is well published (for dose rates), it is not registered for use in pets.

What you need for dogs:

1. A knowledge of your pet's other medications - if they are on any supplements, treats, medications from the vet or from your best friend - stop reading now, and check with your vet.

2. If your pet is on no other medications, then you can think about following my advice.

You can use either Panadol (paracetamol) or Aspirin (Salicylic Acid), AND you need to know your pet's weight.

There is a fine line between what is beneficial, and what is toxic for dogs.... so an accurate weight is important.  At Russell Vale Animal Clinic, we ALWAYS give you a weight chart, so this should be fairly easy.

For Panadol (paracetamol)- the dose FOR DOGS is 10 mg/kg given once daily each TWO days  for no more than TWO doses.  After that, you REALLY need your vet.

Check the medication strength on your tablet.  If it is 300 mg, then this should be safe for a 30 kg dog. If it is 500 mg, then this is safe for a 50 kg dog.

Panadol pediatric liquid is usually 120 mg/5 mls, so that makes it a 24 mg/ml solution.  A 10 kg dog needs 100 mg, so they would need 4 mls. (DO NOT GIVE TO CATS)

Panadol for 5 -12 yrs is 240 mg/5 mls.  Are you starting to get my point about knowing your pets weight and the strength of the medication you are on?

For Aspirin...the dose for dogs is 10 mg/kg given daily for 4 days then stop for 4 days. This is Aspro.  This could be 100 mg, 300 mg or 320 mg (or anything else depending on the brand you have).

A 10 kg dog should get the 100 mg tablet. A 30 kg dog should get 300 mg tablet. 
Always give it with food. Never give it for more than 2 days.

What you need for our cats:

Cats are not small dogs, and it is important that you NEVER give them any pain medication, as even panadol or paracetamol can kill cats.

Even our prescription pain medications can cause harm, so unfortunately, I am not going to give any
advice here for cats, other than, speak to your vet.  Aspirin can be used, but the dose is much much lower than dogs, and you need your vet to give you that advice.

Never underestimate the benefit of somewhere quiet, with minimal disruption, somewhere warm and soft, and gentle pats, to help relieve pain.

I am Dr Liz, and I am a vet that wishes all pets stay happy and healthy.  And when they aren't, I am here to help them get better.  Thank you all for allowing me to continue doing what I do... helping as many pets as I can.