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Prescription Drugs for Your Dog

Questions To Ask Your Vet Regarding Prescription Drugs

Modern drugs are surely a benefit to the practice of veterinary medicine. They have helped save the lives of many critically ill dogs and restored countless others to normal health. Yet improperly used, they cannot only fail in their intended function, but can actually create a more serious threat to your dog. An antibiotic given at haphazard and infrequent intervals can create a resistant strain of bacteria. A corticosteroid abruptly discontinued after long use can precipitate a dangerous adrenal gland hormone imbalance. A drug intended to be given four times a day may produce a dangerously high blood level if given, only twice a day, but at double the dose.

When your veterinarian dispenses or prescribes medication for your aging dog, he or she should also give you the following information in addition to the dose and frequency. Do not hesitate to ask your vet the following questions:

1. What is the medication expected to do?
2. How soon can improvement be expected?
3. How long should you wait if there is no change in condition?
4. How long should the medication be continued?
5. Is the medicine to be stopped abruptly or is the dose to be reduced and how?
6. Does the medicine need special storage? Away from light? Refrigeration? Must it be kept airtight?
7. What possible side effects might be expected?

The dispensing label or prescription should carry specific directions for use, which should be followed explicitly. Is the medication to be given before or after or with food, or perhaps on an
empty stomach which should remain empty for a specified time? Some medicines are inactivated by food, due to mechanical or chemical interference with their absorption from the stomach or small intestine.

If there is more than one type of medication, can they be given together, or is there a particular sequence of administration or time interval between them? Certain drugs interfere with each other when given together while others will intensify the reaction. The directions say "three times daily." Does that mean morning, noon, and night or breakfast, lunch, and supper or every eight hours? The effective levels in the blood of some medications fall more rapidly than others and require administration at regular and specific time intervals.

The prescribed tablet is quit large and not too easy to administer twice a day. Will it be just as good to give a tablet four times a day? For some drugs the answer is yes. For others
definitely not, because by doing so, you will render the drug ineffective. And you most certainly will want to know when to start giving the drug; when you get home, later that day, the next morning, or only if certain symptoms appear? Ask your vet all pertinent questions before leaving the examination room! This is especially important if the prescription is to be filled outside of the veterinary hospital.

For more information on Care of the Older Dog and for your FREE Dog Health Report, click here!

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