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We have a steady stream of new pet medication flooding the market every day, aimed at improving the efficacy and safety of veterinary medicine. However, not a lot of us know everything that goes on in the hospital pharmacy. It is extremely important to understand the side effects of pet medication before you give it to your pet. Pharmacies must only use high quality, fresh pet medication
as per the directions. Moreover, not all drugs are effective or safe for all cats and dogs across the board.You need to contact the vet if you have any questions on the medication, dosage or an undesirable side effect. It is just as important to understand some of the commonly used terms:
- Expiration date – Vets frequently get asked about the expiry date. Simply put, the expiration date is an indicator of the date by which a doctor or pharmacist should stop selling the product. However, it doesn't mean that the medicine becomes useless of ineffective after that date. Drug companies must set the expiry date before the effectiveness drops so that they can factor in the time it takes for a customer to use the medicine. Basically, the expiry date is decided by factoring in the time it will usually take for the consumer to use up all of the medication.
- Side effects – Side effects refer to undesired responses to medication. For instance, if the doctor prescribes an antihistamine to reduce nasal congestion that is caused by an allergy and if the medicine induces sluggishness and sleepiness, it is considered to be a side effect. Since most of the cats and dogs do not drive or handle heavy machinery, sleepiness is not a big problem. As a matter of fact, it might even be good as it would let the animal rest.
- Strength, dosage and dose – A medicine's strength is the weight or concentration of the given substance. For instance, if the vet prescribes an antibiotic to your dog, he may be prescribed a 50 gram strength tablet. Dose, on the other hand, is the quantity of medication that should be taken at any given time. One antibiotic might have an acceptable dose of 8mg/pound and another might have a dose of 25mg/pound. Dosage refers to the quantity of medicine prescribed for a specific period. For example, if your vet asks you to give two tablets at a time to your dog after meals till the prescribed amount is over, that amount would be the dosage.
It is common for dogs and cats to develop adverse reactions to some medication. If you're looking for an ideal world where things work the way they are supposed to, you will not find it in the pharmacy. But it is a small consolation to know that you will not find that anywhere else either.