Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Protect Your Pet from Human Medication

The Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), part of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), compiles statistics on toxins consumed by pets each year. According to the organization, over-the-counter (OTC) medication topped prescription medication for the first time ever in 2015. This includes natural and herbal supplements as well as ibuprofen, Tylenol, and other well-known pain relievers.

Protect Your PetAt the close of that year, the APCC had received 28,500 reports of pets accidentally ingesting OTC medication meant for humans. Approximately 16 percent of its calls involved pets who had gotten into their owner’s prescription drugs. It also keeps statistics on cases of pets ingesting other types of household toxins.

How to Protect Your Pet from a Toxic Drug Reaction
Animals should never take medication meant for people and vice versa. Before you give your pet any medication, please clear it with one of the veterinarians at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo. This includes treatments you can buy for your pet without a prescription. Once you have the medication at home, be sure to follow these tips to keep your pet safe:

Keep your medication in its original container and store it well out of the reach of your pet. Leaving it on the counter or placing it in a plastic bag is just asking for trouble. Your pet doesn’t know it’s something that could hurt him and won’t hesitate to sniff, lick, and chew your pills. If you do prefer to use a plastic pill organizer, make sure it’s on a high shelf or in locked cabinet your pet can’t access.

Be sure to keep OTC and prescription medication for yourself and other human family members separate from veterinary medication. Some pills can look nearly identical and it’s easy to give your pet the wrong medication or take something not meant for you, especially when you’re in a hurry.

If you keep medications in a purse or backpack, be certain to store it in a safe place while you’re at home. Both dogs and cats have a strong sense of smell and their curiosity can get the better of them. In fact, we recommend storing purses and backpacks away from pets even if you don’t normally carry medication. Your pet could easily get into something else she shouldn’t have, such as gum or make-up.

Symptoms Your Pet May Experience
The specific symptoms your pet experiences depend on the type of medication he chews or swallows. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, lack of appetite, tremors, seizures, and lack of coordination. The Pet Poison Helpline reported in 2016 that companion animals consumed these types of human medication most often:

  • Acetaminophen, including Tylenol
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications 
  • Attention deficit disorder drugs
  • Beta-blockers
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure pills
  • Cholesterol lowering agents
  • Ibuprofen
  • Sleep aids
  • Thyroid hormones

If you witness or suspect that your pet consumed human medication, please contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo immediately during our regular office hours at 651-770-3250. You may contact any one of the following after hours:

  • After Hours Veterinary Care, St. Paul, 651-487-1941
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN, Oakdale, 651-501-3766
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN, St. Paul, 651-293-1800

Although we hope you never experience an emergency, knowing who to contact on short notice can save your pet.

Are You Ready for Take Your Cat to the Vet Day on August 22?

If you have ever brought a cat to the vet, you know they’re not huge fans of the experience. This may be one reason why they come in for preventive care far less often than dogs do. In fact, Veterinary Practice News reports that feline veterinary visits for any reason average just 1.6 per year. Cats are also masters at hiding pain and illness, which means you might not realize your cat needs treatment until a disease has already reached the advanced stages.

Take Your Cat to the Vet DayThe Purpose of Take Your Cat to the Vet Day
Take Your Cat to the Vet Day takes place on August 22 each year to encourage cat owners to schedule regular preventive care. Routine check-ups allow your veterinarian at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo to diagnose disease sooner as well as ensure your cat is parasite-free, at a healthy weight, and generally happy and healthy. Preventive care is always preferable to treating illness or injury after it occurs.

We recommend that cats between one and seven years old visit us annually for a comprehensive exam. Kittens require several appointments during their first year while older pets should have at least bi-annual monitoring for common health conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Our veterinarian will look your cat over from head to tail for any signs of problems that may have developed since his last appointment. We will inform you of anything we discover and discuss the treatment options immediately.

We will also make sure your cat is up-to-date on her immunizations. If not, we will give them to her at this appointment. It’s a good time to discuss any behavior concerns you have about your cat as well. A marked changed in behavior can indicate a serious health issue and not necessarily a cat just being naughty. We are happy to provide behavioral guidance to help you have an even better relationship with your cat.

How to Get Your Cat to the Vet Peacefully
Most cats dislike rides in the car and associate the sight of the cat carrier with this experience. Bringing the carrier out minutes before the appointment could cause your cat to run and hide. We recommend placing it in a location your cat can see and smell it a day or two before it’s time to come and see us. Your cat can rub up against it to his heart’s content and walk in and out of it as well.

If you have a particularly anxious feline, you may want to consider spraying pheromone in the carrier shortly before it’s time to go. Toys, blankets, and her favorite treat may also entice her to enter the carrier willingly. Try going for a short car ride the day before your appointment and praise your cat for any cooperation that she gives you.

We understand your cat might hide or act aggressively despite your best efforts. However, our staff will treat her with respect and speak calmly as soon as you arrive at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo. That, along with knowing you’re right there with her, should help make the appointment go well. If we haven’t seen your cat in a while, please call 651-770-3250 to schedule a preventive care exam or click here to complete an appointment request. We look forward to seeing you and your cat, even if it’s not on August 22!

Canine Influenza Recently Confirmed in Minnesota

With five recently confirmed cases of canine influenza in Minnesota, we would like to inform our clients of how it spreads and other vital information they need to know about it. Canine influenza is most common among dogs in close physical proximity to each other. This can happen at boarding kennels, dog parks, animal shelters, dog daycare centers, and other locations where large groups of dogs congregate. The first outbreak among companion dogs occurred in the summer of 2015.

Canine InfluenzaThe Spread and Symptoms of Canine Influenza
The most common way that an infected dog spreads influenza is through his or her sneeze droplets. A dog can also pick it up by encountering a contaminated surface such as a food bowl. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious that a dog has acquired the influenza virus. Depending on the strain of the virus, an infected dog who doesn’t show any outward signs of being ill can spread the influenza virus for seven to 21 days.

A dog infected with the influenza virus may develop either mild or severe symptoms. A cough that persists for up to three weeks is the most common indication with the milder type. A low-grade fever and nasal discharge are common symptoms as well. Dogs who acquire the severe strain of influenza can run a fever up to 106 degrees, develop pneumonia, and struggle with an increased respiratory rate. One to five percent of dogs with the severe pneumatic strain will die from the virus.

Bivalent Vaccine for Dogs in High-Risk Populations
Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo encourages people whose dogs frequent dog parks, daycare centers, or boarding kennels to consider the Bivalent vaccine against canine influenza. You may also want to consider the vaccine if you have recently adopted a dog from an animal shelter. If you’re uncertain if your dog is high-risk or you’re concerned he or she may have picked up the influenza virus, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo.

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128


Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)