Accidental Pet Death Shows Importance of Giving Appropriate Pet MedicationPublished October 19, 2012
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While several drugs available to treat humans are routinely prescribed for cats by veterinarians, when it comes to pain control medications many of the products we commonly use are highly toxic to felines, and may even be fatal. Never give felines (or any companion animal) prescription or over-the-counter pain medication without first consulting a veterinarian, or the results can be devastating.
In cats, acetaminophen (the generic name for Tylenol and other similar drugs) is one of the most dangerous in the category of pain-killing, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Pets Web MD affirms that even a children’s dose can cause liver failure and one 500mg extra-strength tablet can kill a seven-pound cat. The danger of giving drugs to cats without veterinary advice was recently illustrated in England.
According to an item in The Telegraph, 45 year-old Claire Pritchard thought her cat Midnight may have been struck by a car when she noticed the kitty was having difficulty walking. Concerned that her kitty was suffering, Pritchard “innocently” gave Midnight a quarter of a 500mg tablet of paracetamol (acetaminophen) to alleviate the pain. The next morning, when she observed no improvement, she gave the two-year-old moggie a second dose. But when Midnight became listless and gravely ill, a family member summoned the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). The cat was whisked off to a vet, but heroic efforts to save Midnight with a saline drip and an energy boost failed, and the feline died of organ failure.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said Pritchard claimed she gave Midnight paracetamol because as a child she had watched her mother do it. That said, she acknowledged that her mother could have been giving the cat feline-appropriate medicine.
"At the time she didn't know she had done wrong, but she didn't take the cat to the vets in the first place, despite having other cats registered with The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA),” said the RSPCA spokesman.
As a result of her negligence, Pritchard was prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006. She pled guilty to causing an animal unnecessary suffering and not providing the cat with prompt medical attention. Bournemouth Magistrates gave Pritchard a two-year conditional discharge, and an order to pay court costs of 280 pounds ($466.00). No ban was issued preventing her from keeping animals.
What is extremely baffling to this writer is Prichard’s hesitance to bring Midnight to the vet when she noticed she couldn’t walk. Since PDSA is a leading charity that provides free veterinary care to treat sick and injured pets belonging to people in need (to which Pritchard is a member), it seems unlikely that an inability to pay for her cat’s care is the issue.
With the fragile economy existing today in our country many people are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table. Many pet guardians are finding themselves forced to make difficult and painful decisions about their fur-family member’s care. Why can’t our country extend the same compassionate veterinary service that Great Britain offers its eligible citizens? What is your opinion? Share your thoughts in a comment.