With the advances of veterinary medicine and research new and more powerful drugs have become the favorite of many veterinary practitioners to combat illness and eliminate pain that dogs have as a result of injury, age related conditions and surgery. The problem that travels with these new wonder drugs is the possibility of serious side effects.
When your dog displays signs of illness or discomfort the first course of action is to make a quick visit to the veterinarian. Depending on the symptoms that you describe and the vet observes, he may decide to do some tests to determine the cause. Some of the tests may include blood panels, stool and urine samples and X-rays to complement the examination.
It may take a few days for the laboratory results to be reported to the veterinarian. Once he has the lab reports he may prescribe antibiotics for infection, or a range of other prescriptive meds, even anti-inflamatory pain medication to help your dog. This is when your dog parent antenna should go up. Your vet is well intentioned, but your dog is your best friend and you will want have all the facts before consenting to the use of any medication
When your vet prescribes any medication you should ask what the potential side effects of that medication might be. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can provide substantial levels of relief to your dog after an operation or has joint problems, carry the associated risk of certain side effects.
Some of the less serious side effects from this type of medication include depression, vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy and diarrhea. More serious side effects include liver problems and kidney damage.
Dr Michele Sharkey, DVM of the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation at the Center for Veterinary Medicine says that "If the pet owner can recognize a possible reaction, stop the medication, and get veterinary help, it could mean the difference between a good outcome and a disaster."
Immediately ceasing to give your dog the prescribed drug and contacting your vet should be an almost simultaneous course of action. Early detection of the side effect, stopping the use of the medication and veterinary intervention are critical to your dog's recovery and health.
While this is clearly solid advice, many holistic and alternative medicine veterinarians suggest that the use of certain drugs and medications are inherently dangerous for dogs. They would suggest less toxic remedies as a first course, eliminating the need for some medications.
For example, many vets prescribe meds for allergic skin conditions that carry the potential risk of unpleasant side effects. What if your dog could eliminate the need for those meds? The risk of side effects to your dog would be eliminated and this is perhaps the best way to stop your dog's side effect from medication.
Explain to your veterinarian your preference for alternate, natural treatments whenever possible. Obviously, not every condition permits this type of approach as many serious illnesses and injuries require immediate medical intervention to save your dog's life. But for many, less serious problems, a less toxic, safer and more natural remedy may be just what the doctor ordered to heal your dog's condition and contribute to his long term health as well.
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