19 Jan NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS (NSAIDS)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used medications in both humans and animals for the management of inflammation, pain and fever. Many of these medications can be easily accessed without a prescription and calls to the Animal Poisons Helpline regarding pets that ingest such medication are unfortunately a common occurrence.
Pets can easily be exposed to toxic doses of these medications by either directly chewing into packets (tablets, liquids, or topical gels) or by being inadvertently overdosed by owners. The Helpline is often contacted about pets that have ingested topical gel products containing NSAIDs, which can result in significant poisoning. The most common NSAIDs that the Animal Poisons Helpline is contacted about are ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen (available over the counter without a prescription) as well as meloxicam and celecoxib (only available with a prescription).
The risk of poisoning is highly dependent on the actual drug, the dose ingested, the species (cats being more sensitive than dogs), the weight of the animal, and any pre-existing conditions that may be present. Overdose may result in gastrointestinal effects, kidney injury, and even neurological signs such as coma and seizures following large doses. Pets can be very sensitive to many ‘human’ NSAIDs and should only ever be given medication under strict veterinary advice.
Please ensure all medications are always stored well out of reach of your pets. If your pet has ingested something they should not have, you can call the Animal Poisons Helpline 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice.