10 questions to ask your veterinarian
When your pet becomes sick, you’re likely to do everything in your power to nurse it back to health. That includes trips to the veterinarian and buying the necessary medications to make your pet feel better. If you own a dog or a cat, you may even have pet insurance for your furry family member. (For more, here are the basics of pet insurance.)
There may be occasions when your veterinarian prescribes medication for your pet to prevent or treat an illness. In those cases, it’s important that you fully understand how the medication functions and if it requires extra care on your part. The Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration recommends asking the following 10 questions:
1. Why was my pet prescribed this medication and how long do I need to give it? Your veterinarian should inform you if the medication has any side effects, how it should function and how many days your pet should take it.
2. How do I administer the medication to my pet? Should it be given with food? Just as with some human medications, some pet medicines are better taken on a full stomach. Giving a pet food with medication may prevent an upset stomach. However, some medications are best given on an empty stomach.
3. How often should the medication be given and how much should I give each time? If it is a liquid, should I shake it first? Giving the right dose at the right time of the day will help your pet get better more quickly.
4. How should I store the medication? Some medications should be stored in a cool, dry place. Others may require refrigeration.
5. What should I do if my pet vomits or spits out the medication? If your pet vomits or suffers other unexpected side effects, you should immediately notify your veterinarian. You may be told to stop giving the drug or switch your pet to another drug.
6. If I forget to give the medication, should I give it as soon as I remember or wait until the next scheduled dose? What if I accidentally give too much? Giving your pet too much of certain medications can cause serious side effects. Ask your veterinarian if giving too much is a cause for concern and if a trip to back to the vet would be necessary.
7. Should I finish giving all of the medication, even if my pet seems to be back to normal? Some medications, such as antibiotics, should be given for a certain length of time, even if your pet is feeling better.
8. Could this medication interact with other medications my pet is taking? Always tell your veterinarian what other medications your pet is taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, and herbs or other dietary supplements. You may want to write these down and take the list with you to the vet’s office.
9. What reactions should I watch for, and what should I do if I see any side effects? Your veterinarian can tell you if a reaction is normal or if it signals a serious problem. You may be asked to call your vet immediately if certain side effects occur.
10. When should I bring my pet back for a recheck? Will you be calling me to check on my pet’s progress, or should I call you? Your vet may want to examine your pet or perform laboratory tests to make sure the medication is working as it should.