Over the counter Ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin are common household names of a pain reliever used often for people. When pets have pain, their owners want to alleviate that pain and may reach for something that is safe for people, but can be toxic to pets.

Every year, pets are poisoned by their owners attempting a simple treatment or when bottles are knocked over and pills are accidentally swallowed. Each species is different; not all medications that are safe for people are also safe for dogs and cats. Safe dosing in one species should never be assumed safe for another species.

Ibuprofen is a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). These drugs inhibit the production of prostaglandins, which can cause inflammation. Unfortunately, while blocking inflammation, ibuprofen also blocks other prostaglandins involved in blood flow to the stomach and kidneys.

Dogs and cats are much more sensitive to these effects than people are, which can lead to stomach ulcers, bleeding in the intestinal tract and irreversible kidney damage. At very high doses, ibuprofen can cause neurologic symptoms like tremors and seizures.

As with any ingestion of a toxin, the faster the treatment is started, the more effective it will be. Treatment involves intravenous fluids and medications to protect the gastrointestinal tract. Often multiple days of hospitalization is needed.

If your pet is ever exposed to a toxin, consider it an emergency. Contact Valley Verde Veterinarians for an appointment at 520-393-7387.

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