Most people are aware of the need to keep medications out of children’s reach, but they don’t necessarily realize that similar rules apply when it comes to keeping pets safe. Pets can also get into medications that are not intended for them, which could cause harm. One case in point was recently reported.
After an outing at the park with his two dogs, a man picked up his monthly prescription refills from the pharmacy and placed the bag on the passenger's seat in the car. Before returning home, he headed to the grocery store to pick up some forgotten items. While he was in the grocery store, one or both of the dogs got into the pharmacy bag containing his medications. The dog(s) took a prescription bottle containing 90 tablets of lisinopril 5 mg into the back seat and chewed the bottom of the bottle open. The man returned to the car, did not notice a prescription bottle was missing from the bag, and drove home. When he brought the pharmacy bag into the house and put his medications away, he did not notice the lisinopril was missing. When he returned to the car several hours later, he noticed that the lisinopril tablets were strewn all over the back seat and floor. He was only able to find 70 of the 90 tablets.
Both dogs were taken to an emergency veterinarian, who examined the dogs and called the Animal Poison Control Center run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Fortunately, the toxic dose of lisinopril for either 50-pound dog was well above the missing amount of lisinopril (100 mg), and the dogs suffered no adverse effects. However, luck certainly played a role in this fortunate outcome. Had the dog(s) chosen a different medication from the pharmacy bag full of refilled medications, the outcome could have been tragic.
To keep your four-legged family member safe, follow the recommendations in our Top 10 Tips:
We hope errors never happen, but if they do, please report any veterinary-related medication errors to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You can also report errors to ISMP and we will forward them to the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.