Scare as pets given human medicines

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DogVets are reporting a rise in the number of pets needing treatment after their under-pressure owners have tried to help them with medicines intended for humans, an insurer says.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance said more than three-fifths of the surgeries it surveyed had seen an increase in the number of pets requiring treatment following adverse reactions to prescription and over-the-counter human medication.

The vets interviewed believed financial pressures could be driving owners to buy cheap medicines to give to their cats and dogs.

One surgery which took part in the study said it was receiving two or three calls a day from worried owners whose animals had been given human medication such as painkillers, which can cause liver or kidney problems.

In other cases, hyperactive pets had been given anti-depressants to calm them down, which can cause vomiting, lethargy and seizures.

Helen Williams, head of Sainsbury's Pet Insurance, said: "The findings from our research are extremely worrying.

"Administering human medication to a cat or a dog could seriously damage its health and although owners doing this may feel like they have its best interests at heart, they could actually be causing it more pain and suffering."

The research was conducted among 50 veterinary surgeries across the UK in October.

© 2011 Press Association

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