There are many good reasons not to try to treat your animals without consulting with your veterinarian. Remember that your vet has gone to school for many years to learn how to best care for animals, learning anatomy and medications. You vet also keeps up to date on the most recent diseases and treatments. If it were as easy to treat animals as to reach into your medicine cabinet, we wouldn't have jobs. I just read a story from a woman who will never try to treat her animals on her own again.
Celina Thomson of Fresno, California writes to tell us about a terrifying incident she had with her cat Jasper. The petite black cat was looking lethargic and she thought he felt warm. So she decided to give him some medicine to break a fever and reached for the Tylenol® out of her medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, what she was giving him was Acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen is a medication commonly used to alleviate fever and pain. Common brands include Tylenol®, Percoset®, aspirin free Excedrin®, Feverall®, Liquiprin®, Panadol®, Tempra®, Pamprin®, Midol® and various sinus, cold and flu medications. It is often found in combination in cold and flui products - many of which are labeled as “aspirin-free”. Cats are much more sensitive to acetaminophen than dogs and are therefore more susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity. One regular strength acetaminophen tablet is toxic and potentially lethal to a cat. Jasper was quickly showing the signs or toxicity.
Celina noticed Jasper's face was becoming swollen and she whisked him off to the ER clinic. The vet induced vomiting and then gave him charcoal to absorb the toxins that remained in his stomach. The vet felt he would survive, but only because Celina had gotten him to the vet so quickly. And he Jasper would have to stay from at least two days while he recovered.
Fortunately, Celina had pet insurance and was reimbursed for most of the expense. The emergency care was very expensive. She learned her lesson too and hopes that others will learn from her mistake.