Human-Pet Medication Interactions

Continuing the theme we began yesterday of being a good and safe guest with medications and suitcases I want to share a couple of stories that occurred in our own home.

The first was funny. My wife called the hospital and asked for me. She had an odd question: “Given the choice of bran cereal or peanuts, which do you think Pearl and Peyton would eat?”

It didn’t take me long to figure out where she was going…I’d left my suitcase open! The night before I had been packing for a trip. As colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US I take my bran cereal everywhere I go. I happened to also be on a roasted peanut kick at that time, so those were in my suitcase, too.

In my haste to leave for work that morning I had failed to close the suitcase and the dogs had a feast of peanuts.

Not surprisingly, they didn’t touch the bran cereal. Some days I can hardly stand the stuff, either.

On another occasion we had a close call that was not humorous. My father is a heart patient and takes a variety of medications to control his symptoms. One day our dog, Peyton, possibly remembering that suitcases sometimes hold treasures like peanuts, began rummaging through Mr. Randolph’s bags. He found a foil-wrapped medication and began to tear open the package. Fortunately, it must have smelled bad as he didn’t go so far as to taste or ingest any.

One can quickly see how an eleven-pound dog eating medication for a two-hundred-pound man could turn an oversight into a deadly situation.

I’ve treated dozens of overdose and accidental-dosing patients in my almost thirty years of practice. Fortunately, few are fatal, thanks to modern texts and poison-control-centers who can advise the best way to treat such emergencies.

So, we repeat yesterday’s admonition: Please ask your guests keep their suitcases closed and medicines secured. If visitors are on medication, find out their dosing schedule and keep pets confined to another part of the house during those times.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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