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Vets report surge in number of pets being given human medication

14th December 2011 Print

Sixty five per cent of vet surgeries have seen an increase in the number of distressed pets requiring treatment after having been given over the counter and prescription medications designed for humans, according to research from Sainsbury's Pet Insurance.

The majority of vets interviewed believe financial pressures could be driving pet owners to purchase cheap over the counter human medications to give their cats and dogs. Owners doing this could be causing their pets harm and potentially causing them to suffer from long-term illnesses.

One surgery reported it was receiving two or three calls a day from worried pet owners, whose animals had reacted badly having been given medication such as paracetamol; this can cause liver or kidney problems which can sometimes be irreversible. Some hyperactive pets had been given anti-depressants to calm them; this can cause vomiting and lethargy or even violent tremors and seizures.  The research also revealed that Ibuprofen had been given to some pets; this can cause serious ulcers and kidney problems.

Helen Williams, Head of Sainsbury's Pet Insurance said: "The findings from our research are extremely worrying. Administering human medication to a cat or a dog could seriously damage its health and although owners doing this may feel like they have its best interests at heart, they could actually be causing it more pain and suffering.

"Vet fees are on the increase and the thought of paying a consultation fee for a visit to the vet in addition to any treatment required could be a daunting prospect, especially if your cat or dog seems like it could be easily treated with some over the counter, household medication. We would urge pet owners not to take any risks with their pet's health and to consider pet insurance which will cover the cost of the expert care your pet needs."

Quality pet insurance does not need to be expensive; good cover at a competitive price can be found by shopping around for the best deal, and it is essential to compare policies on a like-for-like basis - comparing on price alone could be disastrous. Sainsbury's Pet Insurance offers an extensive range of benefits at a competitive price. For further information, visit