With many animal lovers treating their four legged companions as if they were their own children, it is no surprise that the market for pet medications is booming. There are probably just as many pet meds available for animals as there are prescription drugs for humans. Because animals suffer from many of the same diseases and illnesses that people do, the prescription drugs used to treat them are often the same. The difference in these cases is sometimes only a matter of the dosage that is prescribed according to size.
A great example of humans and animals taking the same medication is due to the prevalence of Lyme disease, a tick born illness endemic to eastern North America and parts of Europe. Both dogs and people suffer terribly from Lyme disease, and antibiotics, such as doxycycline, are used to treat this illness. If you and your dog are both positive for Lyme disease, which is not uncommon, your medications will likely be the same as those prescribed by your veterinarian.
Besides physical ailments that require the same drugs for humans as for pets, mental health conditions are sometimes treated in the same ways as well. Animals that struggle with depression and anxiety might be prescribed fluoxetine (Prozac®) or alprazolam (Xanax®), which are the same drugs that are often prescribed to humans with depression and anxiety.
Many pet meds consist of over-the-counter human medications, such as acetaminophen or antihistamines. Instead of prescribing drugs specifically made for animals, many veterinarians advise pet owners to give their pet low doses of human medications. Although some of these over-the-counter drugs are perfectly safe for animals, it is important only to give them to your pets under the advice of a veterinarian. Some drugs can be fatal to animals, as acetaminophen is to cats.
Although many pet meds are the same as the drugs that people benefit from, others are specified only for a certain species and are dangerous or ineffective for humans. This includes flea and tick medications and heartworm preventives. Medications that are designed to control fleas and ticks on pets are very dangerous for humans to come into contact with, especially pregnant woman. Those that prevent heart worm contain pesticides that are irrelevant to humans, because the heartworm cannot live in the human heart.
Although pet meds and prescription drugs are often interchangeable between humans and animals, it is very important only to use drugs that are specifically prescribed for the individual animal or person. If a pet or a person accidentally ingests a medication meant for someone else, be sure to seek medical or veterinary advice right away.