Recently, the Canadian and American food and drug associations have put out warnings about some of the newest and most effective tick and flea preventative medications. What this tells me as a veterinarian is that our regulatory bodies are working hard to ensure the medications that we use are as safe and effective as possible. However, nothing comes from nothing. Many of the medications that we use can be considered poisons. Our job as health care providers is to weigh the benefit against the risk.
Take antibiotics like amoxicillin; by definition they are designed to kill bacteria. However, if you are allergic to amoxicillin it could be fatal to the person or pet taking it; occasionally it will cause black hair to grow on your tongue or cause diarrhea.
Another class of medications are those that affect our organ function. Heart medications and medications to treat diabetes are two examples. Without these medications those with these conditions will die; taken incorrectly these medications can be fatal.
Now let's talk about the anti-parasitic medications. The purpose of these are to keep the parasite off/out of our pets, out of our house and off of us by killing the parasite. Beyond the need to keep the parasites off, we also need to keep the diseases they carry from infecting our pets and our families. In the last few years we have seen an exponential increase in the tick population in our area. Ticks carry many diseases, most common is Lyme disease. This illness can be very bad in dogs, however it is truly devastating when a human gets it. Given the safety profile of the medication versus the relative risk, I would recommend their use to my clients.
It is our job to weigh the benefits versus the risk of any medication or treatment we recommend for all our patients. Furthermore, it is incumbent on us to educate our clients so that they can make the best informed choice for their pets and their families.
At Abbotsford Animal Hospital we strongly believe in disease prevention and health maintenance. If you have specific concerns about any medications or treatments we would encourage you to come in and speak to us or call us – we want to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.
Jory Bocknek D.V.M
Dr. Bocknek joined Abbotsford in 1994 and became a partner in 1996. Special interests include ophthalmology, ultrasound, behaviour, and physical rehabilitation.